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Of Mail Order Romance & Smut

Tom sent me a link to this vintage advertisement for photos or, and seemingly from, Betty Brosmer.

betty brosomer ad

Tom expressed surprise that the company name (or at least the mailing address) was Betty Brosmer Sales.

Certainly in today’s world, there likely would be some legal action involved in using a celebrity’s name without the celebrity being involved; it’s to valuable in light of today’s “branding”, right?

I’m no legal eagle, but I’m pretty sure that back then unauthorized use of a person’s name, either in company name or marketing of any kind, would have been a legal issue too. While it is possible that Ms. Brosmer (or Mrs. Weider) simply signed away rights to her name to some photographer, it is even more likely that she and her husband, body builder turned health and fitness king Joe Weider, simply saw money to be made. It was Brosmer, after all, who was the first model to get residuals every time her photo was published, so why shouldn’t she make money off selling her photos directly to the consumer?

In truth, many of the pinup models and burlesque performers ran their own side businesses, selling photographs, autographs, etc. Lily St. Cyr sold lingerie. Lynne O’Neill, The Original Garter Girl, not only had one of these businesses, but apparently kept quite a bit of the correspondence from fans.

Like the models and performers of today, these women decided to make more money between booking photography sessions, performances, and appearances. Instead of starting a website, selling merch along with site memberships, these ladies opened a PO box and did the mail order thing.

Technology may be a wonderful thing, but does lightning speed make up for the charm of handwritten letters in exchange for a wallet sized photo? Even if the photo was paid for, I still think it’s more charming.

Posted in Advertising, Ephemera, Photographs, Sex History.

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4 Responses

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  1. Irv O. Neil says

    Hi SPS–hope you are well!

    Nice post. Betty Brosmer is one of my very favorite models. And this Modern Man cover from 2/55 is one of my all-time favorite covers:

    http://oldmags.com/issue/Modern-Man-February-1955

    The ladylike gingham dress with surprisingly daring cleavage, the white gloves, and how Betty is NOT looking at us, make this incomparably sexy to me…a masterpiece! ;)

    (I don’t work for oldmags.com, but they frequently have the covers of mags I refer to.)

    Ironically, when I myself bought a copy of this issue at a flea market, the dealer thought I was buying it for a Bettie Page image inside. Nope. I didn’t even know Miss Page was within! It was Miss Brosmer on whom my peepers pondered.

  2. Silent Porn Star says

    Hello Irv :)

    Many remember Brosmer and (dare I say it?!) even prefer her to Page. Tomato, tomatoe ;)

    Thanks for stopping by!

Continuing the Discussion

  1. Of Mail Order Romance & Smut | Sex Work | ... linked to this post on March 27, 2014

    […] While it is possible that Ms. Brosmer (or Mrs. Weider) simply signed away rights to her name to some photographer, it is even more likely that she and her husband, body builder turned health and fitness king Joe Weider, simply saw money to be made. It was Brosmer, after all, who was the first model to get residuals every time her photo was published, so why shouldn’t she make money off selling her photos directly to the consumer?In truth, many of the pinup models and burlesque performers ran their own side businesses, selling photographs, autographs, etc. Lily St. Cyr sold lingerie. Lynne O’Neill, The Original Garter Girl, not only had one of these businesses, but apparently kept quite a bit of the correspondence from fans.Like the models and performers of today, these women…  […]

  2. Of Mail Order Romance & Smut | Sex History ... linked to this post on March 27, 2014

    […] While it is possible that Ms. Brosmer (or Mrs. Weider) simply signed away rights to her name to some photographer, it is even more likely that she and her husband, body builder turned health and fitness king Joe Weider, simply saw money to be made. It was Brosmer, after all, who was the first model to get residuals every time her photo was published, so why shouldn’t she make money off selling her photos directly to the consumer?In truth, many of the pinup models and burlesque performers ran their own side businesses, selling photographs, autographs, etc. Lily St. Cyr sold lingerie. Lynne O’Neill, The Original Garter Girl, not only had one of these businesses, but apparently kept quite a bit of the correspondence from fans.Like the models and performers of today, these women…  […]



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