Vanity Fair has been the title of at least five magazines, including an 1859-1863 American publication, an 1868-1914 British publication, an unrelated 1902-1904 New York magazine, and a 1913-36 American publication edited by Condé Nast, which was revived in 1983.
Vanity Fair is notably a fictitious place ruled by Beelzebub in the book Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan. Later use of the name was influenced by the well-known 1847-48 novel of the same name by William Makepeace Thackeray.
The first magazine bearing the name Vanity Fair appeared in New York as a humorous weekly, from 1859 to 1863. The magazine was financed by Frank J. Thompson, and was edited by William Allen Stephens and Henry Louis Stephens. The magazine's stature may be indicated by its contributors, which included Thomas Bailey Aldrich, William Dean Howells, Fitz-James O'Brien and Charles Farrar Browne.
The second Vanity Fair is a British weekly magazine published from 1868 to 1914.
Subtitled "A Weekly Show of Political, Social and Literary Wares", it was founded by Thomas Gibson Bowles, who aimed to expose the contemporary vanities of Victorian society. The first issue appeared in London on November 7, 1868. It offered its readership articles on fashion, current events, the theatre, books, social events and the latest scandals, together with serial fiction, word games and other trivia.
Bowles wrote much of the magazine himself under various pseudonyms such as "Jehu Junior", but contributors included Lewis Carroll, Willie Wilde, P. G. Wodehouse, Jessie Pope and Bertram Fletcher Robinson (editor: June 1904 - October 1906).
A full-page, color lithograph of a contemporary celebrity or dignitary appeared in most issues, and it is for these caricatures that Vanity Fair is best known today. Subjects included artists, athletes, royalty, statesmen, scientists, authors, actors, soldiers, religious personalities, business people and scholars. More than two thousand of these images appeared, and they are considered the chief cultural legacy of the magazine, forming a pictorial record of the period.
The final issue of the British Vanity Fair appeared on February 5, 1914.
Vanity Fair is a weekly magazine that was published by The Commonwealth Publishing Company of 110 West 42nd Street, New York City. The Commonwealth Publishing Company was incorporated in February 1902, and went into bankruptcy in April 1904.
The current Vanity Fair is an American monthly magazine of pop culture, fashion, and politics published by Condé Nast Publications.