Atascadero, CA: Illustrated Review, .
Bifolium, 16 x 22 inches, with text on 4 unnumbered pages, two of which also have half-tone illustrations from photographs. Creases from folding to fit in a standard business envelope, a few small chips and short closed tears; very good. Not found in OCLC. Edward Gardner Lewis (1869-1950) was a progressive and enterprising publisher, marketer, and land promoter who founded two planned communities, University City, Missouri and Atascadero, California. Originally based in St. Louis, he published a successful women's magazine and founded the nation's first bank-by-mail service; a college and art academy; the American Women's League, which provided benefits to women who sold magazine subscriptions; and the American Women's Republic, which sought to educate women about politics and government preparation for their winning the right to vote. In 1905, the United States Post Office began to investigate him for mail fraud. Although he was never convicted, over the next seven years he faced several indictments and trials, which severely damaged his reputation in St. Louis. Seeking greener pastures, in 1912-13 he put together a group of investors to purchase land and build a model community, Atascadero, in San Obispo County, California. There he continued his publishing enterprises, founding the Illustrated Review, a pictorial magazine that had achieved a circulation of one million by 1917. Such success was due in large part to the bold marketing tactics evident in this circular, which offered a free lifetime share in ten oil wells to anyone who purchased a $10 lifetime subscription to the magazine. Readers were urged to purchase multiple subscriptions and sell or give them away to family or friends, earning themselves additional shares in wells about to be drilled on "the proven richest oil spot on which the sun has ever shown." Alas, despite the "proven production facts" and encouraging "engineer's chart" provided here, Lewis's wells turned out to be dry. By 1925, he had been sued by investors in this and other schemes and was forced to declare bankruptcy, and in 1927 he was convicted of mail fraud and sentenced to five years in Federal prison.