Arguably the most successful magazine editor of all time, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner was the first publisher to create not only a magazine but a lifestyle brand. During the cultural and sexual revolution of the 1960s – possibly the heyday of the magazine – Hefner embodied the lifestyle his magazine proposed at his Chicago, and later Los Angeles, mansions. The magazine fused nude female pictorials with writing from literary heavyweights like the author Vladimir Nabokov, who previewed his 1969 book Ada in the magazine and featured interviews with political figures; Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Miles Davis and George Lincoln Rockwell, leader of the American Nazi Party, all appeared uncensored in Playboy Interviews.
When looking for a home for Playboy in Chicago, Hefner’s bids for planning to build were hindered by city authorities. But then he heard of a remarkable three-story property at 1340 N. State Parkway, two blocks from Lake Michigan on Chicago’s famed Gold Coast. “It was a magnificent brick-and limestone mansion, surrounded by an imposing wrought-iron fence, built in 1899 by Dr. George Isham – one of whose ancestors had been Abraham Lincoln’s law partner,” wrote Hefner in the now out-of-print book Inside the Playboy Mansion. Continue reading.