The Saturday Evening Post was founded in 1821 and grew to become the most widely circulated weekly magazine in America. The magazine gained prominent status under the leadership of its longtime editor George Horace Lorimer (1899–1937).
The Saturday Evening Post published current event articles, editorials, human interest pieces, humor, illustrations, a letter column, poetry (with contributions submitted by readers), single-panel gag cartoons (including Hazel by Ted Key) and stories by the leading writers of the time. It was known for commissioning lavish illustrations and original works of fiction. Illustrations were featured on the cover and embedded in stories and advertising.
Some Post illustrations became popular and continue to be reproduced as posters or prints, especially those by Norman Rockwell. The Post also employed Nebraska artist John Philip Falter, who became known "as a painter of Americana with an accent of the Middle West," who "brought out some of the homeliness and humor of Middle Western town life and home life." He produced 120 covers for the Post between 1943 and 1968, ceasing only when the magazine began displaying photographs on its covers. Other popular cover illustrators include the artists John Clymer, W. H. D. Koerner, J. C. Leyendecker, Charles Archibald MacLellan, John E. Sheridan and N.C. Wyeth.
Each issue featured several original short stories and often included an installment of a serial appearing in successive issues. Most of the fiction was written for mainstream tastes by popular writers, but some literary writers were featured. The opening pages of stories featured paintings by the leading magazine illustrators. The Post published stories and essays by H. E. Bates, Ray Bradbury, Kay Boyle, Agatha Christie, Brian Cleeve, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, C. S. Forester, Ernest Haycox, Robert A. Heinlein, Kurt Vonnegut, Paul Gallico, Normand Poirier, Hammond Innes, Louis L'Amour, Sinclair Lewis, Joseph C. Lincoln, John P. Marquand, Edgar Allan Poe, Sax Rohmer, William Saroyan, John Steinbeck and Rex Stout and Rob Wagner. It also published poetry by such noted poets as Carl Sandburg, Ogden Nash, Dorothy Parker and Hannah Kahn.
Jack London's best known novel The Call of the Wild was first published, in serialized form, in the Saturday Evening Post in 1903.