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1937-01 Detective Digest
1951-10 Melodyland
1937-09 Now And Then
1953-01 Speed Mechanics
1939-01 Funny Picture
1954-08 Boat Sport
1939-03 Keen Detective
1955-05 Model Fun
1940-12 Comet
1962-03 Custom Craft
1942-05 Smiles
1965-02 Flying Models


































Joseph Johns Hardie was born March 21, 1897 in Pittsburgh, PA. His father, George E. Hardie, was born in 1867 in Pittsburgh of Scottish ancestry. His mother, Sara Johns Hardie, was born in 1867 in Pittsburgh of Welsh ancestry. The parents married on June 4, 1894 and had three children, Joseph (b.1897), Rebecca (b.1900), and Henry (b.1904). The family lived at 3443 Bouquet Street in Pittsburgh. The father was a roofer.

In 1911 the Hardie family left Pittsburgh and moved to Brooklyn, where the father worked as a roofer for a general contractor. The family lived at 324 Madison Street. They shared their home with two cousins, Dorothy Johns (age twenty-two) and Charles Johns (age twenty-one), both of whom worked as stenographers.

In 1914 Joseph Hardie, age seventeen, graduated from a Brooklyn high school, and then entered the workforce as a stenographer at the same clerical office with his older cousins.

In 1914 he began to attend Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn.

On St. Valentine's Day, February 14, 1916, The Daily Standard Union of Brooklyn reported the Polytechnic Institute planned to stage the Junior Prom for the Class of 1917, each of whom was listed, including Joseph J. Hardie. However, during the fall semester of his senior year, he left college and entered the work force as a clerk at a publishing house.

On November 6, 1917, during the Great War, Joseph J. Hardie was drafted and served overseas with the Ist Army, in the Corps of Engineers 23rd Trucking Company.

On February 24, 1919 Joseph Hardie younger brother, Henry Johns Hardie, died at the age of twelve in NYC.

Joseph Hardie was honorably discharged at the rank of Sergeant on July 17, 1919, after which he returned to live with his family at 303 Stuyvesant Avenue in Brooklyn.

In 1919 Joseph Hardie worked as a circulation salesman at The American Legion Monthly Magazine, where the manager of circulation was H.D.Cushing.

On January 17, 1920 the Eighteenth Amendment took effect, which made the sale of alcohol a federal crime. Demand exceeded supply to such an outrageous extent that law enforcement was quickly overwhelmed. Politicians had intended to prohibit unwholesome behavior, but inadvertently generated a national syndicate of organized crime that controlled and coordinated the wholesale import, manufacture, storage, trucking and distribution of alcoholic beverages. Criminal gangs were suddenly involved in a wildly lucrative mass production industry on a scale that was previously unimaginable.

The 1920 Census listed the Hardie family living in the Richmond Hill section of Queens, New York, at 4702 Chichester Avenue. George E. Hardie (age fifty-three) was a general contractor. His wife, Sarah J. Hardie (age fifty-three) was a housewife. Rebecca Hardie (age nineteen) was a student, while Joe Hardie (age twenty-two) was "Circulation Manager at Publishing House."

During the "roaring twenties" organized crime acquired control of the nationwide system of distribution, trucking, warehousing, and labor unions. The American News Company (ANC) was the most powerful force in publishing. It was controlled by organized crime, but it was headed by William Randolphh Hearst, Arthur Brisbane, and Moe L. Annenberg. To avoid prosecution for anti-trust laws, ANC delegated various affiliates, such as Lee Ellmaker, Paul Sampliner, Irving S. Manheimer, Warren Angel, and Theodore Epstein, to operate as independent publishers, although the lifeblood of their operating credit came from ANC.

On June 9, 1923 Joseph Hardie married Edna Muller. She was born in 1902 in New York and lived with her parents in Rockville Centre on Long Island. Her father, Henry J. Muller, was a successful insurance salesman.

In 1925 Joseph Hardie's future business partner, Raymond Kelly, worked as a stock supervisor at The Pictorial Review, which had come under financial control of Lee Ellmaker, on behalf of a ANC.

In 1926 Joseph and Edna Hardie had a son, David Hardie.

The 1930 Census listed Joseph Hardie as a publisher of magazines. Most likely these unidentified magazines were produced by Warren Angel, of Eastern Distributing Company. The Hardie family lived at 194 Cedar Avenue in Rockville Centre, on Long Island, NY.

By 1930 Raymond J. Kelly had been promoted to Production Manager at The Pictorial Review.

On April 12, 1931 The New York Times reported the new incorporation of The Archer Press. The first publication of The Archer Press was Complete Movie Novel Magazine, which had a cover illustration of Marlene Dietrich. That same year, the same image also appeared on the book cover of "Madame-X" by Alexandrine Bisson from The Archer Press. This book was distributed by Triangle Monthly Books, which was owned by Moe L. Annenberg. The table of contents in Complete Movie Novel Magazine listed B. A. MacKinnon as president and H. K. Fly as secretary and treasurer. MacKinnon & Fly Publications was a subsidiary of Macfadden Publications, with Lee Ellmaker as General Manager.

The Archer Press went on to produce several hardcover books for Triangle Monthly Books, such as "Help Wanted" by Jack Lait and "Once To Every Man" by Larry Evans. These books were later distributed through back-page ads for Mayfair Publications, a company owned by Theodore Epstein, on behalf of ANC.

"The Archer" is the name of the zodiac sign for Sagittarius, which features a centaur aiming a bow and arrow. Harvey K. Fly was born on November 27th under the sign of Sagittarius, so the name of this company is most likely a reference to his majority control of the corporation.

In 1931 Joseph and Edna Hardie had a daughter, Barbara Hardie.

In January of 1932 Lee Ellmaker, who had been general manager of Macfadden Publications, became the publisher of Pictorial Review, where Raymond J. Kelly continued to work as circulation manager.

On May 20, 1932 The New York Times reported the new incorporation of Teck Publications by Abner Germann (1896-1976), who was Office Manager at Macfadden Publications.

On December 28, 1933 Joseph Hardie's mother, Sarah Johns Hardie, died at the age of sixty-six in NYC.

On May 16, 1933 Walter Winchell wrote in his column for The Daily Mirror, owned by William Randolph Hearst, "Frederick Gardener is expecting to produce a new magazine entitled Conflict."

In the Summer of 1933 Centaur Publishing Corporation produced a new pulp magazine, Conflict. The publisher was H. K. Fly. The new company name "Centaur" also refers to the zodiac sign of Sagittarius, "The Archer." The first issue listed the editorial offices at 101 Park Avenue. The advertising was handled by H. D. Cushing of Man Story Magazines, located at 45 West 45th Street. The printing was handled by James A. Falconer of the Phelps Printing Company in the Myrick Building in Springfield, Massachusetts. There were only two issues of Conflict produced in 1933 and another two in 1934. The table of contents confirmed that the editor was Frederick Gardener. The artists included Harry Parkhurst, and Leo Morey. The authors included Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson.

In 1934 Pictorial Review was sold to William Randolph Hearst. At that time the magazine had a monthly circulation rating of over two million copies, which made it America's third-most-popular periodical.

In June of 1934 The Author & Journalist, a trade journal for writers, reported "Conflict has been discontinued and the editor, Frederick Gardener, cannot be reached. We are informed that a large number of submitted manuscripts are piled up on the editor's desk and that the landlord said he would hold them until called for by authors."

In September of 1934 Writers Review, another trade journal, reported "Conflict is back on the newsstands. Still published by the Centaur Company. Phelps Publishing Company is printing the magazine, which gives good standing."

In November or 1934 Writer's Digest reported, "Conflict, which was formerly published by the Centaur Publishing Company is reported to have been added to the string which includes Woman's World and Teck Magazines." Teck Publications was a subsidiary of Macfadden Publications that had taken over MacKinnon & Fly Publications. The General Manager of Teck was Lee Ellmaker. "Frederick Gardener is again editor. He is also editing Complete Detective Novel magazine and Wild West Stories & Complete Novel Magazine. This group also includes Amazing Stories. The address for the entire group is 461 Eighth Avenue."

The December 1934 issue of Writer's Review reported, "There seems to be a bit of confusion regarding Teck Publications, but here is the real lowdown. The company publishes Radio News, Amazing Stories, Amazing Stories Quarterly, and Wild West & Complete Novel Magazine. Teck never owned Conflict, despite several reports to that effect in various writers' magazines. Conflict was the personal property of Joe Hardie, who happened to be employed in the circulation department of the news company affiliated with Teck. Frederick Gardener edited Conflict for Joe Hardie on the side. When he went with Teck he continued to handle Hardie's book. Gardener is now editing only Wild West & Complete Novel Magazine, as Conflict has folded."

By 1936 Fred Gardener had joined Magazine Publishers, which later became Ace Magazines, at 67 West 44th Street. The publisher was A. A. Wyn, but the company was owned by Warren Angel, who had left Eastern Distributing to become co-owner of Kable News Distribution Company, of Mount Morris, Illinois.

In 1936 Raymond J. Kelly was Production Manager at Today Magazine, which was published by another affiliate of ANC.

In August of 1936 Harle Publications was formed by George L. Aichele, Joseph Hardie, and Warren Angel. The company name "Harle" was derived from the first and last syllables of Hardie and Aichele. George L. Aichele (1883-1943) was the Traffic Manager at Magazine Publishers, which was owned by Warren Angel, so his role as a corporate member was to represent the interests of ANC.

On November 20, 1936 Harle Publications produced their first magazine, Detective Digest.

On July 22, 1937 The New York Sun reported that Harle Publications had leased office space at 507 Fifth Avenue, between 42nd and 43rd Streets.

September 1937 was the first issue of Now And Then, the second magazine from Harle Publications. Now And Then was similar to popular photo magazines, such as Life, See, and Click, which featured sensational photos of topical subjects, like floods, fires, and earthquakes, as well as movie stars, and sports, but Now And Then also included spicy photos of nude women and lurid crime scenes. The first issue included a photo of the Kable Brothers printing plant in Mount Morris, Illinois, where Now And Then was printed. The third issue included a Statement of Ownership, dated September 28, 1937, which stated Raymond J. Kelly was the publisher and Business Manager, while the owners were George L. Aichele, Joseph Hardie, and Warren Angel.

According to "Magazines in the 20th Century" by Theodore Peterson, "Now And Then was a magazine in which former staff members of the Pictorial Review compared photos of the present and past."

The sixth issue of Now And Then was dated March 1938, and it listed a new location for their editorial offices, which had moved to 461 Eighth Avenue.

In 1938 Dime Crossword Magazine applied for a U. S. copyright for Harle Publications at 461 8th Avenue. The company president was identified as Joseph Johns Hardie and the business manager was Raymond J. Kelly.

In March of 1938 Joseph Hardie and Raymond Kelly began to produce Centaur Comics at 461 8th Avenue. They began with two comic titles from Cook & Mahon, Funny Pages and Funny Picture Stories. They also added two titles from Harry A. Chesler, Star Comics and Star Ranger Funnies. Over the previous year, all four of these titles had been published by Ultem Publications, owned by Isaac W. Ullman and Frank Z. Temerson.

Centaur Publications and The Archer Press had an historical business connection, since they were both founded six years earlier by MacKinnon & Fly, a subsidiary of Macfadden Publications, where Lee Ellmaker was the General Manager on behalf of ANC.

In July and August of 1938 Centaur added Keen Detective, and Amazing Mystery Comics. All Centaur Comics were edited by Lloyd Jacquet who began to build an art studio that would soon become Funnies Incorporated, at 45 West 45th Street. His stable of artists including Bill Everett (1917-1973), Bob Lubbers (1922-2017), Stan Drake, Frank Thomas (1914-19), Max Neill (1915-1984), Tarpé Mills (1918-1988), Basil Wolverton (1909-1978), Paul Gustafson (1916-1977), and Harold DeLay (1876-1947).

Joseph Hardie addressed the readers of Centaur Comics with cheerful editorials, signed "Uncle Joe." One of his unique innovations was to feature short biographical profiles on artists, which were accompanied by hand-drawn self-portraits.

A statement of ownership dated September 29, 1938 in Funny Picture Stories listed the publisher as Joseph J. Hardie, the editor as Lloyd Jacquet, and the business manager as Raymond J. Kelly. The owners were listed as Centaur Publications, Harle Publications, Raymond J. Kelly, and Samuel J. Fried, who was Warren Angel's lawyer. The notary public was Bertha M. Holcepl.

On October 14, 1938 The New York Times reported that Harle Publications had leased office space at 220 Fifth Avenue.

One year later, on October 24,1939 it was reported Harle Publications had moved to 215 Fourth Avenue.

In 1939 Joseph and Edna Hardie had a third child, Mary Hardie.

The 1940 Census listed Joseph Hardie as a publisher of magazines. The Hardie family was listed at 65 Pine Street in Rockville Centre, NY. Mrs. Hardie was socially active in the Union Congregational Church, PTA, bridge club, women's club, and was a local chairman of the American Red Cross.

The February 1940 issue of Amazing Man Comics #9 included a Statement of Ownership that listed the names of Joseph Hardie, Raymond Kelly, and Warren Angel. The notary public was again Bertha M. Holcepl. Amazing Man Comics continued for two more years, but instead of Centaur, the indicia listed the publisher as Comic Corporation of America, a newly incorporated business that was also owned by Hardie, Kelly and Angel.

By 1940 Centaur was losing ground as a comic book publisher. Star Comics and Star Ranger Comics ended in August of 1939. Funny Picture Stories ended in December of 1939. Funny Pages ended in June of 1940. Keen Detective ended in September 1940, along with Amazing Mysteries. Despite these lost titles, on February 14, 1941 The New York Times reported that Harle Publications had leased additional space at 215 Fourth Avenue, which suggests an era of expansion.

In 1940 Joseph Hardie and Raymond Kelly formed H-K Publications at 215 Fourth Avenue. They produced Cross-Words & Contest News, Band Leaders Magazine, Smiles, Yoo-Hoo, Mirth, Current Astrology, Sermons In Brief, and the pulp magazine Comet, which was edited by Orlin Tremaine. The artists were Frank R. Paul, Leo Morey, Michael Anthony Mirando (October 7, 1918 - December 6, 1995), and John Forte. The advertising was handled by Ace Fiction Group. H-K also produced two new comic books, Stars and Stripes and World Famous Heroes Magazine, the back pages of which included ads for Comet and other H-K Publications.

In 1944 The New York Times referred to Harle Publications and Comic Corporation of America as the same company, and the NYC Telephone Directory listed them at the same address with the same telephone number.

On November 29, 1946 The Long Island News reported the daughter of Warren Angel, Peggy Angel (age twenty-five), held her bridal shower at the home of Mr. & Mrs. Joseph J. Hardie in Rockville Centre.

In 1948 Ace Publications produced "Hidden Words," edited by Jean Andrew, who was editor-in-chief of Harle Publications.

On September 1, 1948 Joseph Hardie's son, David Hardie, married Joan C. Dickey. Both had grown up together in Rockville Center, and both had attended Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.

On January 21, 1949 Warren Angel died of a heart attack at age sixty-two in NYC.

In 1952 H-K Publications produced a new magazine, Boat Sport, which was edited by Harold Hersey, a longterm business associate of Warren Angel.

In 1955 Harle Publications produced Model Fun with Bobby Benson and his B-B Riders.

Raymond J. Kelly died at the age of seventy in Central Valley, NY, on May 26, 1961.

Joseph J. Hardie died at the age of seventy on December 18, 1967.

On July 2, 1980 Frederick Gardener, another longterm business associate of Warren Angel, died at the age of seventy-four in NYC. The next day The New York Times published the following statement from the "President and Devoted Staff of Harle Publications. It is with profound sorrow that Harle Publications notes the passing of our friend and colleague, Frederick Gardener, a dedicated member of the publishing profession for over fifty years. He leaves a lasting memory. We will miss him."

Harle Publications still exists today, although it has passed through a long succession of owners.

                             © David Saunders 2017

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