"Fashions change in magazines, as they change in dress, and the successful editor must be alert—indeed, many strides before his scattered, unseen audience, able to mold his own mind to gauge the human needs of that most elusive being called 'the average reader.'" — Charles Hanson Towne, former editor of the Smart Set, Delineator, and Harper's Bazaar, among other magazines, in his 1926 memoir, "Adventures in Editing."
... in 1947, Frank Crowninshield, editor of Vanity Fair magazine from 1913 until it was merged into Vogue during the Great Depression, died at age 75. In her memoir "Always in Vogue," Edna Woolman Chase described how the famously gentlemanly Crownshield would reject material: "Crowny rarely saw face to face a contributor whose work he didn't want; his heart was too tender. Instead he dictated charming little notes flattering the writer on the perception and sensitivity of his piece, his wit and freshness of phrasing, and suggested he send it to the Ladies' Home Journal."
"The secret of success of any magazine lies in its individuality. People come to recognize it as different from the others and they do not feel that any other magazine will take its place." — Common-Sense Magazine, 1908
O. Henry, one the most famous magazine bylines of the early 20th century, first appeared over a short story in McClure’s magazine called “Whistling Dick’s Christmas Stocking.”
As readers would eventually learn, “Henry” was actually William Sydney Porter, a convicted embezzler doing time at the Federal pen in Columbus, Ohio, and sending out stories under a variety of pseudonyms. With the 1898 McClure’s sale, O. Henry became the one that stuck. Porter went on to write other Christmas tales, including his most famous, “The Gift of the Magi.” Incidentally, Porter was briefly the editor and owner of a weekly humor publication called The Rolling Stone.
The character played by Barbara Stanwyck in the movie "Christmas in Connecticut" (1945) is said to have been loosely based on Gladys Taber, a well-known columnist for Ladies' Home Journal and Family Circle from the 1930s through the 1960s. In the movie, Stanwyck's character works for a magazine called Smart Housekeeping.
Starting in 1939, the eccentric but hugely successful magazine entrepreneur Bernarr Macfadden (Liberty, True Story, Physical Culture, and many others) proposed the creation of what he called "America's Night of Light." In newspaper guest editorials and full-page ads, he urged that "we light every lamp in America on Christmas Eve as America's answer to the blackout just beginning abroad." Macfadden continued to push the idea in 1940 but seems to have dropped it the following Christmas, when the December 7 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor brought the U.S. officially into the war as well.
... in 1925, Frank Andrew Munsey, a writer, editor, publisher, and entrepreneur who was as legendary for killing off magazines and newspapers as for starting and running them, died of a burst appendix at age 71. Among Munsey's nicknames was "The Grand High Executioner of Journalism."
... in 1949, Harold Ross, editor of The New Yorker, testified at a hearing before the New York State Public Service Commission. Ross objected to the recent debut of music and commercials over the public address system at Grand Central Terminal, saying, "If they get away with this, nobody will be able to read on any means of conveyance in the United States." A lawyer for the New York Central Railroad, which ran the train station, derided Ross's magazine as "an adult comic book." Several weeks later, the broadcasts stopped.
"The average reader has no conception how much hard thinking and painstaking experiment is given in every up-to-date magazine to the headlines, titles, sub-titles, borders, tail pieces, etc., before the desired effect is precisely secured." —Hamilton Holt, editor of The Independent magazine and future president of Rollins College, 1921.