This is a very interesting question that you present. Can we really say that the pulps were dying in 1942? True ARGOSY ceased as a pulp around this period and became a sort of slick mens magazine. Many pulps decreased their page count and ceased publication because of the war time paper restrictions.
But were they dying in 1942? I would put the date into the postwar period. After WW II I think it became obvious that the readership wasn’t there in the high numbers anymore. Certainly by the early 1950’s the pulps started to die off and by the end of 1955, just about all were dead except for a few like RANCH ROMANCES, TEXAS RANGERS, AND SCIENCE FICTION QUARTERLY.
By then the digest era was in full bloom. RIP the pulps.
I went back and did some unscientific research on the subject. I took a sample of 37 pulps across different genres – general/adventure, detective, western, love, science fiction, weird, spicy and hero and counted how many pulps were published each year from 1896 to 1972.
The results can be seen in this chart:
|The rise and fall of the pulps, a timeline|
As you can see, the pulps started declining around 1943 (so Walker was right, and I was off by a year), and went into a tailspin in the 1950s. Probably something you already knew, but the exact dates were new to me. If anyone’s interested, the data’s shared here as an Excel file.