"An editor doesn't own the magazine, he just steers it until someone else gets handed the wheel." -- Joe Oldham, former longtime editor-in-chief of Popular Mechanics and obvious car buff, quoted in an article marking the magazine's 100th anniversary, 2002.
"I have always maintained that every successful writer is primarily a good editor, a premise that usually drives editors into tantrums when I tell it to them. But when the writer sits down to his typewriter to tell a story that he will offer for sale, he has already fulfilled most of the functions of editor. He has chosen his subject for timeliness, reader interest, the style of the magazine at which it is aimed, the known likes and dislikes of the editor of that particular literary vaudeville show, and the current state of mind of the public. He trims his material and sews his guimpe in a manner designed to be pleasing to all concerned. I maintain that's editing. The editor in the end merely confirms or denies one's judgment." -- Paul Gallico, longtime magazine freelancer, in his 1946 book "Confessions of a Story Writer." Gallico, who died in 1976, is probably best known today as author of the novel on which "The Poseidon Adventure" was based.
... in 1913, Joseph Thorndike, who grew up to become a managing editor of Life magazine and later editorial director and editor, respectively, of the hardcover magazines American Heritage and Horizon, was born in Peabody, Massachusetts. He died in 2005.
"An editor's job is exactly like that of a waiter. He has to go and get something good and bring it in. And after he has brought it in he has to go right out and get something more and bring that in." -- John M. Siddall, longtime editor of The American Magazine, in his 1922 book "Sid Says."
... in 1956, The American Magazine announced that it would cease publication after 80 years, with its August issue. It had been founded in 1876 as Frank Leslie's Popular Monthly and went through several wildly different editorial incarnations in the decades that followed, including muckraking in the early 20th century and cheerleading for big business in the years leading up to the Great Depression. At the end it was more of a general-interest title, still with reported circulation of 2-plus million, but apparently not enough.
Nothing says venerable institution like your name and/or logo on a big-city skyscraper. And for a time, some magazines actually accomplished that. Many of the buildings still stand, though most have long since acquired new tenants and different names. A few in New York and Chicago:
The Look Building. New York HQ of the defunct picture weekly, as well as the onetime home of Esquire, 488 Madison Avenue, New York City. There's another former Look Building in Des Moines, Iowa, where the magazine's parent company was based.
The New York Magazine Building, and before that, the Newsweek Building, 444 Madison Avenue, New York City. New York Magazine has since moved downtown to Varick Street.
The Puck Building, which housed the long-dead humor magazine Puck and the more-recently dead one Spy, 295 Lafayette Street, New York City.
The Time & Life Building. Home of those two plus many other Time, Inc., titles over the years, 1271 Avenue of the Americas, New York City.
The Playboy Building, now the Palmolive Building, 919 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago. In Playboy's glory days, the building had a beacon on top that nightly swept the Chicago skies. I remember because it lit up my bedroom walls with each pass unless I closed the blinds.
"[T]here are so many inexperienced and inept editors in the magazine business these days that what starts out as a competent piece often appears as a horror, and the writer is blamed by the unfortunate reader for the editor's bad grammar, lack of taste, and stupidity." -- Richard Gehman, a well-known and famously prolific freelancer of his day, in his 1959 book "How to Write and Sell Magazine Articles."
"More than one magazine has been ruined by an aging editor bent on leaving behind a monument to his own brilliance by sabotaging his successors." -- Robert Stein, ex-editor of McCall's and Redbook magazines and currently a blogger, in his book "Media Power."