Emily Hall Tremaine -
Apéritif magazine (1934-36) - issues, contents, media coverage & shocking context

This start-up magazine based in Santa Barbara, headed by Emily Hall Tremaine (previously von Romberg) featured provocative content and produced national media coverage in just a two-year run. Why it stopped publication is not yet known. But it appears firmly wrapped in the cultural battle in California— Nazi pressure from Germany / the German Consulate in Los Angeles and pro-Nazi Americans— versus anti-Nazi forces, aligned to Emily and her husband Max von Romberg.

R.J. Preece (ADP)
Art Design Publicity at ADC | Emily Hall Tremaine / Collection
| 4 August 2021 | Updated 9 September 2023
Emily Hall Tremaine aperitif

Cropped view of page in Emily Hall Tremaine’s 1930s scrapbook showing multiple media coverage on her and her work at Aperitif magazine. In August 1935, Emily (von Romberg, previously) was threatened with a defamation claim; in response she staged—or agreed to— a photo-op, in which she scratched out the complaintant’s name and photo of remaining magazine copies. This was then reported by multiple media outlets. Her work might be considered a predecessor to Andy’s Warhol’s interest in multiple media coverage as exemplified with Marilyn diptych (1962), a work which Emily influenced.

This micro-site and webpage are packed with a lot of new information clarifying Emily’s work and life.

Apéritif magazine - issues, contents, media coverage and shocking context

Emily Hall Tremaine aperitif

Aperitif magazine, owned by Emily and Max von Romberg, ran from 1934-36, and it was a fun and playful society and literary magazine. Emily became a self-made master of publicity during this time, spinning out provocative news around the magazine which attracted wire service article publication across multiple American newspapers. The stories also attracted the attention of weekly tabloid newspaper supplements accompanying Sunday newspaper editions.

The magazine had a bit of an "anti-Nazi" stance with publication (or planned publication) of sympathetic Jewish and African-American content, and it included Jewish content contributors and advertisers. What was problematic was the fact that both Emily and Max von Romberg had German nationality and were subjected to demands as German citizens abroad.

The threats, little known today, were severe...

(Photo: Emily in San Francisco Examiner
announcing the new Aperitif magazine on 1 Jan 1935.)

Read more

With Emily and Max also being very close to US military naval intelligence as well, the reports of beheadings to "traitors" wasn’t that far away. This was in addition to the threats of being situationally forced to return to Germany and asset seizure. This is the historical reality.

It is important to note that any specific practical effects of the German government directives in 1935+ against German passport holders (German citizens abroad), and their family and friends in Germany, and threats to their assets, with specific regard to Max and Emily is not yet fully known, but the wire service reports out of Berlin and in America were terrifying.

Max had German nationality until his death by plane crash—he was flying the plane— in May 1938. He was in application for US citizenship with the effect of loss of citizenship in Germany a year earlier. Those taking US citizenship at this time were considered traitors in Germany. Nazi German officials didn’t need to follow actual stated laws to harass and terrify. Emily’s US citizenship that she kept was not necessarily acknowledged by Nazi German authorities.

In deposition in 1940, Emily talked about herself and Max not going to Germany after c. 1932 due to great concern about the governmental changes. Apéritif is not mentioned in the court record.

The specific threats that Max and Emily faced are not yet known. They are not mentioned in Aperitif. There was a general climate of fear, risk and danger. As the selected media coverage shows below, it was all around them and reported on other pages in newspapers.

It is quite remarkable how in the pages of Aperitif of selected issues seen, how life could be segmented, and simply carry on with fun and playfulness.

Material status: = online
= link to more info
= completely offline


Nov 1934 - magazine issue, Aperitif

(November 1934). Aperitif magazine, (issue 1,1). (Viewed 5 August 2021. P02186).

Dec 1934 - magazine issue, Aperitif

(December 1934). Aperitif magazine, (issue 1,2). (Viewed 5 August 2021. P02186; P02186b).


Jan 1935 coverage - Aperitif

Click to see

Jan 1935 - news brief - Emily, Aperitif

Photo: International News Photograph Service. (1 January 1935). Baroness gets a new title [with re-used, cropped photo of Emily wearing aviation head gear]. From Clipping bureau: San Francisco Examiner, p. 23. (Updated 9 September 2023. EHT Box 9 folder 4 scrapbook 1-02B; N00652).

"... Now an editor... On the newsstands of San Francisco appeared yesterday a new magazine, ’Aperitif’, published in Santa Barbara. It is a saucy little publication of society gossip, the arts, the theater and what-have-you... " (Excerpt from above.)

Feb 1935 - magazine issue, Aperitif

(February 1935). Aperitif magazine, (issue 1,3) [including article "Artist and other rats" by William Saroyan]. (Viewed 5 August 2021. P02186).

Feb 1935 coverage - Aperitif

Click to see

Feb 1935 - news article - Emily, Aperitif

(c. February 1935). Debs smile; artist cries! Baroness publishes naught, nice story; ultra-modern story in swank magazine draws protest [with photo of Emily with Aperitif magazine]. Handwritten: Los Angeles Examiner, unknown page number. (Viewed 4 August 2021. EHT Box 9 folder 4 scrapbook 1-02A).

"... Santa Barbara postal officials... were taking an interest in ’L’Aperitif’... a story by William Saroyan, young San Franciscan, who like other literati of the modern school... ’Artists and Other Rats’. It is a tale of night life. Words are used which grandfather wouldn’t have heard even in the back room of Tony’s barber shop. The article caused an outcry by a Santa Barbara artist, who complained to the postoffice authorities.

’I understand’, said the Baroness, ’that no action is to be taken toward suppressing the magazine. ’L’Aperitif’ is intended for circulation among moderns and definitely is not for children. I’m sorry if anyone has been offended by Mr. Saroyan’s story, and I shall apologize to the artist who complained.’" (Excerpt from above.)

Mar 1935 - magazine issue, Aperitif

(c. March 1935). Aperitif magazine, (issue 1,4). (Viewed 5 August 2021. P02186b).

Apr 1935 - magazine issue, Aperitif

(c. April 1935). Aperitif magazine, (issue 1,5). (Viewed 5 August 2021. P02186b).

Apr 1935 coverage - Aperitif

Click to see

Apr 1935 - social mention - Emily, Max, Mrs. Hall in Hollywood, Aperitif mention

Smith, Anne Thompson. (19 April 1935). L. A. society honors Mrs. De Roulet upon return [with mention of Emily, Max, and Mrs. Hall (Emily’s mother)] [no photo]. Evening Post-Record (Los Angeles), p. 15, col. 1. (Viewed 4 August 2021. P01341).

"Baron and Baroness Von Romberg of Santa Barbara, with the Baroness’ mother, Mrs. William H. Hall, are spending a few days in Hollywood. The baroness was formerly Emily Hall and just recently founded and edited a clever magazine in Santa Barbara." (Excerpt from above.)

  • See worldcat.org, or contact area public library.

Apr 1935 - social mention - Los Angeles, Aperitif

(21 April 1935). Chatterbox [mention of Aperitif] [no photo]. Los Angeles Times, pp. B1 & B5. (Viewed 5 August 2021. P00678; P01107).

"... Emily and Max Von Romberg are in town stopping at the Hollywood - Roosevelt, Max has been taking it easy since his ’Prince of Wales landing’ from the pony and has sold his whole string of polo nags and his new Duesenberg preparatory to a year of quiet sailing around the world— by doctor’s orders!

Emily is, of course, very busy planning big things for that magazine she’s going to publish, a ’West Coast Vanity Fair’ we understand.

Also, she’s right up to her neck in arrangements for the huge charity dance affair which she is sponsoring in Montecito next August. We won’t spill her plans to you yet— it’s not time— but the party is going to be something that’ll have the town talking for a long, long time." (Excerpt from above.)

  • See worldcat.org, or contact area public library.

May 1935 - magazine issue, Aperitif

(c. May 1935). Aperitif magazine, (issue 1,6). (Viewed 5 August 2021. P02186b).

Jun 1935 - magazine issue, Aperitif

(c. June 1935). Aperitif magazine, (issue 1,7). (Viewed 5 August 2021. P02186b).

Jul 1935 coverage - Aperitif

Click to see

Jul 1935 - news mention - Emily, Aperitif

Shippey, Lee. (31 July 1935). The Lee side o’ L. A. [news mention, Emily, Aperitif [no photo]. Los Angeles Times, p. A4. (Viewed 20 December 2019. P00689).

"Not long ago a very clever magazine named Aperitif appeared in Santa Barbara, and now Baroness von Romberg, who lives in Montecito, announces that next February 26 she will award prizes, a la Pulitzer, for the best newspaper and magazine stories, editorials and photographs originating in California, only published material to be considered..." (Excerpt from above.)

  • Offline - contact area public library.

Aug 1935 - magazine issue, Aperitif

(c. August 1935). Aperitif magazine, (issue 1,8). (Viewed 5 August 2021. P02186b; P02518).

Aug 1935 coverage - Aperitif

Click to see

Aug 1935 - social brief - Emily, Aperitif

Associated Press (Santa Barbara, August 15). (16 August 1935). Clever idea a headache for Baroness [no photo]. St. Louis Daily Globe-Democrat, p. 3C, col. 3. (Viewed 22 June 2021. P01344).

"... The Baroness conceived the thought of using photographs of several of Montecito’s social set in a police ’rogues gallery’ setting.

She also thought of using pictures of a few real police characters in the layout— all as a part of a ’guessing contest’ in the magazine..." (Excerpt from above.)

Key critical question: Did this just happen, or was it staged for... publicity?

  • Offline - contact area public library. (See photo at the top of this page showing some of the many articles across America reporting on the conflict).

Aug 1935 - news article - Emily, Aperitif

UP (Santa Barbara, Aug. 15). (15 August 1935). Picture in ’Rogues’ Gallery upsets Gould’s daughter; Mrs. Stevens is not amused by baroness’s idea for swank magazine Aperitif [no photo]. New York Post, unknown page number. (Viewed 4 December 2019. P00914).

"What appeared a clever idea at first promised a headache today for the Baroness Emily von Romberg and the swank society magazine she edits, Aperitif. The Baroness conceived the thought of using photographs of several of Montecito’s social set in a police ’rogue’s gallery’ setting.

She also thought of using pictures of a few real police characters in the layout— all as a part of a ’guessing contest’ in the magazine... The Baroness said none of these [people] objected when the latest issue of the magazine came out, but Mrs. Eleanor Stevens, daughter of the late Jay Gould, did..." (Excerpt from above.)

  • Offline - contact area public library.

Sep 1935 - magazine issue, Aperitif (missing)

(c. September 1935). Aperitif magazine, (issue 1,9). [No copy known to be in a public library.] (Viewed 5 August 2021.)

  • Please contact artdesigncafe.com if you learn of a surviving copy.

Sep 1935 coverage - Nazi Germany

Click to see

Sep 1935 - article - Nazi regime makes Nazi flag official flag of Germany

(September 15, Berlin). (16 September 1935). Swastika to be national flag. Manchester Guardian (England), p. 9. (Viewed 9 September 2023. N00651).

  • Offline - contact area public library.

Sep 1935 - article - Nuremberg laws against Jews

[September 15, Berlin]. (16 September 1935). Herr Hitler’s declaration / The terms of the three laws. Manchester Guardian, p. 9. (Viewed 9 September 2023. N00651).

  • Offline - contact area public library.

Oct 1935 - magazine issue, Aperitif

(October 1935). Aperitif magazine, (issue 1,10). (Viewed 5 August 2021. P02186b; P02201).

Oct 1935 - spotlighted social news mention - Emily, Aperitif

Possibly news agency. (16 October 1935). Esther Blaisdell writes article for Aperitif [news mention, Emily, Aperitif] [no photo]. Calexico Chronicle (California), p. 3, col. 2. (Updated 4 September 2023. P00021; P00673).

This article mention, stating Blaisdell published an article in the October issue about Jakob Wassermann and the plight of the Jews, appears not to have been published. See contents section in the next issue for more details. This possibly may indicate Nazi German threats against Max, Emily and the magazine. (Alternatively, this social mention is not correct and the article was published in a previous issue, which has yet been reviewed.

See copy of article mention

Esther Blaisdell

  • Online - artdesigncafe.com (see above.)

Nov 1935 coverage - Aperitif

Click to see

Nov 1935 - social news brief - Emily, Aperitif

(1 November 1935). Grandy in ’Apertif’ [sic] [photo of Edwin T. Grandy]. Sausalito News (SF area, California), p. 3. (Updated 5 September 2023. P00084; P00886).

"Edwin T. Grandy, conductor of ’The Book Nook’ for the News, has been engaged by ’Aperitif,’ Santa Barbara’s sophisticated magazine edited by Emily, Baroness von Romberg, to contribute a monthly book page..." (Excerpt from above.)

  • Offline - contact area public library.

Dec 1935 coverage - Aperitif

Click to see

Dec 1935 - social news mention - Emily and Max separating

(4 December 1935). Chatterbox [with re-used photo, cropped, of Max and Emily from: Dorrance, James French. (4 August 1935). Los Angeles Times, p. B1]. Los Angeles Times, p. A8. (Updated 5 September 2023. P00690; P00696; P01655; P01656).

"... Flash! The Baron and Baroness Maximilian von Romberg (Max and Emily to intimates) are separating. Max is in town and is seeing the covercharged mazdas with Marina Schubert while Emily is visiting her sister, the former Jane Hall [her husband worked in US Navy intelligence, with Jane being a spy’s wife], in Coronado." (Excerpt from above.)

  • Offline - contact area public library.

While unlikely, it’s possible there was another issue published in November or December 1935 that is not known now yet.


Jan 1936 - magazine issue, Aperitif

(January 1936). Aperitif magazine, (issue 2,1). (Viewed 5 August 2021. P02186b; P02517; 03226).

Contents list


Editor: Emily, Baroness von Romberg
General manager: Robert A. Campbell
Managing Editor: Stanton Delaplane
Photo-illustrator: Philip Chancellor

Cover illustration: Peter Abenheim

Inside front cover: (curious) business property investment advertisement, P. O. box, Aperitif, Inc.

Contents page: includes photographic portrait of Philip Chancellor, with statement: On the following pages is reproduced the first of a series of poetic and psychological studies in photography. So far as we know, Philip Chancellor is the first artist to express this type of work through the medium of the camera. Besides being a technician of camera work, you might be interested to know that Chancellor is something of an explorer. His motion pictures of the Komodo dragon lizards (the only film in existence) is in the archives of the film library of the League of Nations at Geneva.


With stop-overs en route [by Aperitif] [a critical take on "publicity" in southern California], pp. 5, 17-18.

Finger on the whispering masque [by Kurt Unkelbach], pp. 12-13.


I saw Garbo [by Ethel M. Hoffman], pp. 8, 14.

Love story [by Ronald Caldwell], pp. 10, 14, 19.

The next issue [by Helen Knowland; with illustration possibly by Peter Abenheim], pp. 11, 16-17.


The emotional life of the headsman [by Philip Chancellor] [portrait studies]. pp. 2-3.

Crime for children [illustration by Peter Abenheim] [not listed on contents page] p. 9.

Contexts: first, Esther Blaisdell’s article sympathetic to the plight of Jews in Germany, announced in the social news article above (16 October 1935), is not in the October 1935 issue (at least the copy at Berkeley indicated here), nor in this follow-up issue. Was Blaisdell’s article ever published? Was it scheduled and got pulled before publication and distribution? Was it announced without the intention of publishing?

In this regard, this illustration may, in the realm of possibilities, be a coded illustration. Why? First, it starts off with a "threatening note". Second, it’s in German. Third, it ends with a "fiasco" published in the news. Several questions are raised in relation to the crackdown on German passport holders starting in c. January 1936. Here, Max and Emily may have indeed been affected, possibly affecting their future actions. Further, note in December, it’s publicly announced that Max and Emily have separated. They presumably make up afterwards.

Also note that Peter Abenheim is not only named as the illustrator here, but also on the cover, which presumably would not please German Nazi consuls in San Francisco and Los Angeles, etc., regarding their German passport holders, Max and Emily. Abenheim is noted online on an ancestry site as buried in a Jewish cemetery.

Poem: The bargain by Joy Posey [not listed on contents page] p. 13.


Hollywood telegram [typed out telegraph text with Hollywood gossip], p. 4.

New York interlude [by Barbara (Hudnut) Boston], pp. 6-7, 18-19.

Bridge problem contest, p. 15.

San Francisco news letter [by Peter Abenheim], p. 20.


> American Author Co., Upland, Indiana, p. 21.
> The Camera Shop, State St., Santa Barbara, p. 12.
> City Meat Market, Chapala St., Santa Barbara, p. 15.
> Clark’s Employment Bureau, De La Vina St., Santa Barbara, p. 13.
> Cocoanut Grove, Ambassador Hotel, Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, p. 17.
> Du Mars restaurant, State St., Santa Barbara, p. 13.
> El Encanto Hotel bridge event (J. Gordon Allard), Santa Barbara, p. 15.
> El Paseo Gem Shop, State St., Santa Barbara, p. 19.
> The Fairmont hotel, San Francisco, p. 21.
> Harris’ Cabinet Shop, East de la Guerra, Santa Barbara, p. 19.
> Mary E. Hauan custom knits, State St., Santa Barbara, p. 17.
> Hertz (car rental), State St., Santa Barbara, p. 21.
> Jordano Bros liquor store, Santa Barbara, p. 15.
> King-D’Auvray, Inc., State St., Santa Barbara, p. 21.
> Louis Marcus custom tailor, State St., Santa Barbara, p. 19
> Melody Lane (bar presumably), Santa Barbara, p. 12.
> Mission Ice [presumably] (ice refrigerators; packaged cubes), Canon Perdido, Santa Barbara, p. 19.
> Nina Foley, Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, p. 12.
> Oglivy & Gilbert real estate agency, E. Canon Perdido, Santa Barbara, p. 13.
> Pacific Laundry, State St., Santa Barbara, p. 12.
> Paulsen Studio (furniture, drapery, fabrics), Santa Barbara, p. 21.
> Scotch Knitting Bar, Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills, p. 21.
> Jack Shannon tailoring, E. Figueroa, Santa Barbara, p. 13.
> Mary Smith gowns, Santa Barbara, p. 15.
> Törley Champagne [served by the most exclusive cafes, clubs and bars in Los Angeles, Hollywood and Palm Springs], back cover.
> The Town House hotel, Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, p. 13.

Feb 1936 - magazine issue, Aperitif (missing)

(c. February 1936). Aperitif magazine, (issue 2,2). [No copy known to be in a public library.] (Viewed 5 August 2021.)

  • Please contact artdesigncafe.com if you learn of a surviving copy.

Feb 1936 coverage - Nazi threats

Click to see

Feb 1936 - article - German citizens abroad

Dietzel, Walter. [I. N. S. (Berlin, Feb. 12)]. (12 February 1936). All native-born German called upon to sign; Hitler reaches beyond confines of homeland to call recruits; recognizes no expatriation. Evening Report (Lebanon, PA), pp. 1 & 8. (Viewed 7 September 2023. N00641).

"… All native-born Germans between the ages of 18 and 25 must register, the decree proclaimed, and this applies to those possessing double citizenship. Since Germany does not recognize expatriation on the theory that ‘once a German, always a German,’ this order is presumed to embrace naturalized American citizens. There is, of course, no way to enforce it, unless the person involve[ed] returns to Germany…" (Excerpt from above.)

  • Offline - contact area public library.

Mar 1936 - magazine issue, Aperitif (missing)

(c. March 1936). Aperitif magazine, (issue 2,3). [No copy known to be in a public library.] (Viewed 5 August 2021.)

  • Please contact artdesigncafe.com if you learn of a surviving copy.

Emily Hall Tremaine aperitif

Sample publicity around Aperitif magazine (1 March 1936). Here, cropped view of a feature article on Emily and those around her in a syndicated tabloid supplement for newspapers, distributed in America.

Mar 1936 coverage - Aperitif

Click to see

Mar 1936 - tabloid article - Emily, Max, Aperitif

(1 March 1936). Society holds its breath when the sarcastic baroness breaks into print. Salt Lake Tribune magazine section [King Features Syndicate tabloid supplement] [with photos of Emily and Max], p. 3. [Accompanying Salt Lake Tribune (Utah).] (Viewed 7 September 2023. P01468).

  • Offline - contact area public library.

Apr 1936 - magazine issue, Aperitif (missing)

(c. April 1936). Aperitif magazine, (issue 2,4). [No copy known to be in a public library.] (Viewed 5 August 2021.)

  • Please contact artdesigncafe.com if you learn of a surviving copy.

Apr 1936 coverage - Aperitif

Click to see

1936 - news brief - Livermore, Emily, Aperitif

Likely wire service, unspecified (Santa Barbara, April 10.). (10 April 1936). Livermore, Jr., turns writer; society magazine; 17-year-old boy tells of his fan mail. The Windsor Daily Star (Windsor, ON), p. 1. (Viewed 7 September 2023. N00642).

  • Offline - contact area public library.

May / Jun 1936 - magazine issue, Aperitif

(May / June 1936). Aperitif magazine, (issue 2,5). (Viewed 5 August 2021. P02186b; P02516).

Jul / Aug 1936 - magazine issue, Aperitif

(July / August 1936). Aperitif magazine, (issue 2,6). (Viewed 5 August 2021. P02186b; P02519).

Jul / Aug 1936+ - Nazi threats

Click to see

Oct 1937 - editorial - traitor against Germany

(15 October 1937). Editorial: Marlene Dietrich. Santa Rosa Republican, p. 18. (Viewed 7 September 2023. N00640).

“MARLENE DIETRICH, German born film star, is called a “traitor in Germany” by the anti-Jewish German newspaper, Der Stuermer, because she filed her first papers for American citizenship. The paper says her expatriation is due to her association with Hollywood film Jews…” (Excerpt from above; noting that Max von Romberg quietly filed for US citizenship earlier in the year.)

  • Offline - contact area public library.

Jun 1938 - news brief - traitors beheaded in Germany

AP (Berlin, June 15). (15 June 1938). Germans behead wife and husband [for espionage; “having been in the employ of the intelligence service of a foreign power for more than two years”]. Butte Daily Post (Montana), p. 3. (Viewed 10 September 2023. N00653).

  • Offline - contact area public library.

Jul 1938 - editorial - Nazi strip citizenship of critic

(18 July 1938). Editorial: A blow that won’t hurt [Nazi government strips citizenship of Erich Maria Remarque, who is critical of government and resident in Switzerland]. Palo Alto Times (California), p. 4. (Viewed 10 September 2023. N00654).

  • Offline - contact area public library.

If you have a research interest in Apéritif magazine content, please do feel free to contact R. J. Preece at artdesigncafe.com. See the About page.

For more information, see Section I. Mystery, danger & misunderstandings: Emily Hall Tremaine in the 1930s on the Emily Hall Tremaine / Collection overview page.