... in 1898, Norman Vincent Peale, preacher, positive thinker, bestselling author, and founder of Guideposts magazine, was born in Bowersville, Ohio. The first issue of his magazine, published in 1945, was all of four pages.
"First of all, read. First, second, and last, read. Read all the time. Read anything, everything." -- Ray Long, editor of Cosmopolitan, in an essay titled "A Letter to a Young Man With an Urge to Edit a Popular Magazine" (1927). Long estimated that he read, on average, more than 500,000 words a week.
"A good many young writers make the mistake of enclosing a stamped, self-addressed envelope, big enough for the manuscript to come back in. This is too much of a temptation to the editor." -- Ring W. Lardner, in his book "How to Write Short Stories" (1924).
... in 1959, Elliot Cohen, onetime editor of Commentary magazine, was found dead in his New York City apartment with a plastic bag tied over his head. "Police said the death apparently was a suicide, but investigators did not rule out the possibility he died accidentally while experimenting with the bag, perhaps for a magazine article," a UPI account of Cohen's death reported. Subsequent Commentary editor Norman Podhoretz, in his 1967 memoir, "Making It," refers to it simply as a suicide.
... in 1964, Time. Inc. announced that it was ceasing publication of its trade title Architectural Forum and selling the magazine's spinoff, House & Home, to McGraw-Hill. Architectural Forum later found new owners and ran for another decade. Among its junior editors, starting in 1952, was Jane Jacobs, destined for later fame as an author and urban theorist.
“Editors have to be constantly on the prowl for new facts, new trends, new perceptions, new arenas. They have to recognize critical issues early enough to be able to sound an alert. They shouldn't have to wait until major events bulge into public view before taking notice. Nor need they fear going back for a second or third look; there may be odd pieces of history left lying around to be discerned, pieces that, when put together, may change the contours of an event, or at least our understanding of it.” -- Norman Cousins, longtime editor of The Saturday Review
... in 1968, a federal court jury awarded Senator Barry Goldwater $1 in compensatory damages and $75,000 in punitive damages in his libel suit against Fact magazine. The magazine had questioned Goldwater's sanity in 1964, the year he ran for president. Included in Fact's coverage was its exclusive survey of psychiatrists, in which the majority willing to offer an opinion declared Goldwater mentally unfit to serve as president. One lasting upshot of this case was the American Psychiatric Association's Goldwater Rule, which says it is unethical for psychiatrists to pass judgment on people they have not personally examined.
...in 1952, Fulton Oursler, editor of Liberty, among other magazines; author of "The Greatest Story Ever Told;" and amateur ventriloquist, died in New York City. His posthumously published autobiography is "Behold This Dreamer!" (Little, Brown, and Co., 1964).
"The nice way to say it is that great magazines are the product of visionary editors. The other way to say it is that interesting magazines are spawned by self-centered megalomaniacs." -- from an unsigned Editorial Note introducing the 2007 New York Review of Magazines, now out in its 2009 edition.
... in 1929, newspapers reported the arrest of Robert Elliott Burns, 38-year-old editor and publisher "Greater Chicago," a local business magazine. Much to the surprise of his fellow Chicagoans, who considered him a civic leader, Burns had escaped from a Georgia chain gang in 1922 after serving several months of a six-year sentence for his role in a grocery store holdup. Returned to Georgia to finish his sentence, Burns escaped once more and, while in hiding, wrote a popular 1932 book called "I Am a Fugitive From a Georgia Chain Gang!" Later that year, Burns' book was made into a movie of the same title, minus the "Georgia," which the state had objected to. Eventually pardoned by a sympathetic Georgia governor, Burns finished out his days as a tax consultant in New Jersey.
... in 1924, two wealthy,19-year-old University of Chicago students, Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, kidnapped 14-year-old Bobby Franks as he walked home from school in Chicago and murdered him in their car, apparently in an experiment to commit the "perfect" crime. One story long associated with the case, but apparently untrue, is that Leopold and Loeb's list of potential victims also included 16-year-old William Chon. Chon later changed his name to Shawn and was for 35 years editor of The New Yorker.
... in 1931, Herbert Spencer, associate editor of a Los Angeles political magazine called Critic of Critics, was shot to death in the office of Charles Crawford, a notorious L.A. crime figure. Crawford, who by some accounts funded Spencer's publication, was also shot dead. An allegedly corrupt former district attorney was charged with the murders but acquitted by a jury. On the site of the crime, Crawford's widow later built Crossroads of the World, an early shopping center and longtime Hollywood landmark.