Brett McKay stumbled across it:
Several years ago I was wandering the stacks at the University of Tulsa library when I happened to chance upon an old, pink book with the words “Police Gazette” gilded on the spine in fancy script. I don’t know why, but I took it off the shelf and started to thumb through it. Inside I found page after page of 19th-century newspaper re-prints that featured big, bold, and inflammatory headlines along with cool illustrations of bare-knuckle pugilists, old-time strongmen, and lots of women in bloomers slugging each other senseless.
Little did I know that the musty book in my hands was a collection of facsimiles of America’s first hugely popular men’s magazine: The National Police Gazette. Intrigued by what I saw in the book, I began researching the history of the Gazette and discovered that it was the magazine of American men living in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Not only was the Police Gazette insanely popular, but it played a large role in shaping modern America’s idea of rugged and rebellious manhood and pioneered the pillars of much of today’s male-orientated media. The Police Gazette’s content consisted of a mish-mash of true-crime stories, gossip, sports, and pictures of buxom babes; basically, it was Sports Illustrated, National Enquirer, and Maxim rolled into one weekly magazine.
He captioned the above illustration, “A few Footlight Favorites frolicking in their swimsuits. Hubba hubba.” A somewhat more revealing scene after the jump:
Many more images here.