"As the physician feels the pulse of a patient, the editor feels the pulse of his audience." — Margaret E. Sangster in her 1909 autobiography, "From My Youth Up: Personal Reminiscences." Sangster was the editor of Harper's Bazaar magazine as well as a well-known poet and author of her day.
"Occasionally, of course, it happens that I am in doubt myself with reference to a particular story. In such a case, I often submit it to my boy. If he writes on it, 'This is dandy,' after reading it carefully, I consider myself perfectly safe in accepting it, feeling assured that it will please other boys as well as it did mine." — William C. Sprague, editor of The American Boy magazine, quoted in 1906.
Roy E. Larsen, publisher of Life magazine, was acquitted in a Bronx, New York, court on the charge of selling obscene and indecent literature and photographs, on this day (April 26) in 1938. The case involved a Life article on the birth of a baby.
"Through sheer ability (spelled i-n-h-e-r-i-t-a-n-c-e) I have become Editor-in-Chief of Forbes magazine..." — Malcolm S. Forbes, writing about taking over the publication from its founder and his father, B. C. Forbes.
"Now out of nine thousand manuscripts a year The Century can only possibly print four hundred or less. It follows that editing a magazine is not unlike walking into a garden of flowers and gathering a single bouquet. In other words, not to accept an article, a story, a poem is not necessarily to 'reject' it. There may be weeds in the garden...but the fact that a particular blossom is not gathered into the monthly bouquet does not prove that the editor regarded the blossom as a weed, and therefore passed it by." — The Century Magazine, 1890.
On this day (April 23) in 1938, newspapers reported that 31-year-old Charles Weiss, editor of anti-Nazi magazine Uncle Sam, published in Brooklyn, N.Y., had been attacked by four alleged Nazis the previous Friday evening. The attackers had allegedly beaten and stripped the editor and painted black swastikas on his body after he refused to kiss a Nazi flag.
"I said, wait a minute! This magazine isn't about a city! It's about the way people live... what they do with their lives." — Geoff Miller, longtime editor of Los Angeles Magazine, recalling the 1972 insight that led him to recast the title as a service book, a path that countless city magazines have since followed. Miller died last Saturday at age 74.
(The quote comes from "Regional Interest Magazines of the United States," edited by Sam G. Riley and Gary W. Selnow, and published by Greenwood Press in 1991.)
On this day (April 21) in 1954, a U.S. Senate subcommittee held a hearing to examine whether violent comic books were responsible for juvenile crime. Publisher William M. Gaines defended a cover drawing on one of his comics, depicting a man with an ax holding a woman's severed head. Asked whether he considered the cover to be in good taste, Gaines testified that he did, adding that showing the woman's neck dripping blood would have been in bad taste. Gaines next found himself defending a drawing of a man choking a woman to death with a crowbar. That fall, Gaines gave up on horror titles and began to focus on a little humor comic called Mad that his company had launched two years earlier. Mad was transformed into a slick magazine in the summer of 1955, in part to put it out of reach of the repressive Comics Code that the industry had adopted after the Senate hearings.