The Merchant of Venus: The Life of Walter Thornton The Merchant of Venus: The Life of Walter Thornton

The Merchant of Venus: The Life of Walter Thornton

Nancy Navarro and Others
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    • $4.99

Publisher Description

"Get ready to be dazzled because "The Merchant of Venus Book"– it's a thrilling adventure through the remarkable life of Walter Thornton, the figure in the most iconic photograph of the 1929 Stock Market Crash! Just imagine: beautiful models, Pinup girls, Hollywood stars; Thornton was a true trendsetter."

"What sets this biography apart is its intimate narration, alternating between the perspectives of Thornton's daughters as they uncover a legacy shrouded in mystery."

"Filled with vivid photographs and meticulous research, "The Merchant of Venus" seamlessly blends entertainment with education. It's more than just a biography; it's a testament to the enduring impact of one man's vision and the resilience of his family in unraveling a hidden history."

In a tale as captivating as any Hollywood script, Walter Thornton's extraordinary story comes to life. From a homeless orphan, he soared to prominence as a male model during the Jazz Age, posing for icons like Norman Rockwell and JC Leyendecker.

Dubbed "The Merchant of Venus" by the legendary gossip columnist Walter Winchell, Thornton embarked on a pioneering venture in 1930, establishing the first agency for photographic advertising models. His agency became a powerhouse, discovering and representing models who would later become iconic figures of the Golden Age of Cinema, including Lauren Bacall, Susan Hayward, Joseph Cotten, Grace Kelly, and others whose stardom illuminated the era.

Among Thornton's other notable achievements is the invention of the "Pin-Up Girl of WWII," a testament to his creativity and patriotism. These pin-up girls not only embodied the spirit of an era but also served as beacons of hope for soldiers overseas, prompting heartfelt letters that underscored their profound impact.

However, the glittering trajectory of Thornton's life took a downturn during the harsh realities of the McCarthy Era. In 1954, he found himself the target of a corrupt district attorney's accusations, facing false charges of fraud and deception. Today, his daughters unravel the mysteries surrounding their father's enigmatic existence.

Their exploration began with a chance encounter—an image in the 2003 film "Seabiscuit," serving as the avatar for the Stock Market Crash of 1929, sparking a quest that spanned over two decades. Through painstaking research, including exploring Thornton's personal archives and interviews, they uncovered a previously overlooked chapter of history, painting a vivid portrait of a man ahead of his time.

"The Merchant of Venus" not only celebrates Thornton's triumphs but also his resilience in the face of adversity. His blueprints persist in shaping the modeling and advertising industry, and the 1940 patriotic Pinup girl endures as a cherished American tradition. His 1929 photo graces textbooks and products, yet beneath its surface lies untold depth.

Biographies & Memoirs
April 3
Tile House Publishing, LLC
Draft2Digital, LLC