Sunset magazine : in search of a house for western living
Author(s)Gonzalez, Robert Alexander
In search of a house for western living
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.
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This thesis inquires into Sunset's activity as a home magazine in the 1930s and 1940s. In viewing this period, this study draws from Sunset's entire history: from its inception in 1898 as a travel brochure for Southern Pacific Railroad, through a period as a literary magazine, through the late 1940s when it was already recognized as a leading western home magazine. In the 50th Anniversary issue, the editors reflected on the magazine's accomplishments and concluded that Sunset had been a "constructive and helpful influence in the development of Western homes and Western home life." This thesis investigates the extent of Sunset's interaction within this development. Three separate enterprises that reveal the magazine's attempt to define domesticity for the 'westerner' will be outlined in this thesis. First, spanning Sunset's first fifty years, a construction of a concept called Western Living is revealed by following the development of the magazine's departments and subtitles. Second, focusing on a period that begins with the Great Depression and ends with the postwar migration to the suburbs, Sunset's involvement in a search for the appropriate 'western' home unfolds through a study of a series of articles. This endeavor deemed the Ranch Style house as the 'western' house, and with that, the magazine's Western Living construct was completed. Finally, a study of Sunset's exploration of the 'backyard' and the relationship between the house and the constrained and ubiquitous lot ends this investigation. The author of this thesis presents the first comprehensive study of Sunset's mode of operation as a home magazine. It is the intent that this inquiry will initiate a discussion regarding the role of the popular home magazine as an operative variant of architectural discourse.
Thesis (M.S.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Architecture, 1993.Includes bibliographical references (leaves 125-126).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture
Massachusetts Institute of Technology