About the Project
Robert Sengstacke Abbott (November 24, 1870–February 29, 1940) was a lawyer, newspaper editor, and publisher. He founded the "Chicago Defender" in 1905 which became the highest circulated publication by an African American owned company. His company published other well-known newspapers, journals, and magazines including "Abbott’s Monthly" and "Abbot’s Monthly Illustrated News."
In addition to his success as a businessman, Abbot was significant to both the local Chicago community and the nation. Abbot worked with President Franklin D. Roosevelt to have African American reporters in the White House and to create jobs in the US Postal Service. President Harry Truman later named him to the commission he formed to integrate the military. In 1940, Abbott established the National Negro Publishers Association (now the National Newspaper Publisher's Association) and served as the president. Abbott died in 1940 from Bright’s disease and his nephew John Henry Sengstacke took over the operations of the newspaper to continue his uncle’s work.
From October 1929 to September 1933, "Abbott’s Monthly" successfully engaged readers with a cosmopolitan feel that featured unknown contemporary authors who addressed African American news while also writing fiction pieces. The publication was founded by Robert Sengstacke Abbott, founder and owner of the already popular "Chicago Defender," the most popular African American newspaper in the country at the time. The first edition of "Abbott's Monthly" sold nearly 50,000 copies and shortly thereafter soared to 100,000. However, the magazine in it's original form ceased publication in 1933 due to the Great Depression, but continued to be publish under a new name "Abbott’s Monthly Illustrated News," until 1934. Help us transcribe this Abbott’s Monthly to explore the culture of the 1930s.