It was on this day (February 28) in 1967 that Henry Luce, co-founder of Time magazine, launcher of Fortune, re-maker of Life, and longtime potentate of the Time-Life publishing empire, died in Phoenix, Arizona. He was 68. The New York Times summed up Luce's career and personality in this long and mostly flattering obituary.
Briton Hadden, a co-founder and the first editor of Time magazine, died on this day (February 27) in 1929. He had celebrated his 31st birthday a little over a week earlier. The exact cause of Hadden's death remains a mystery but seems to have involved some sort of infection.
Hadden's short life has been the subject of two biographies: a 1949 one by his cousin, the writer Noel F. Busch, and 2006's "The Man Time Forgot," by Isaiah Wilner.
"The people who write now for the magazines do not know what a hard time we had of it once. There was nothing for a lad driven to literature to do, but to go about in shabby clothes, to live upon his father or his friends, to be considered an idiot or a maniac, and to exhaust utterly everybody's patience." — Charles Taber Congdon, in "Reminiscences of a Journalist," 1880.
It was on this day (February 25) in 1910 that the colorful Congresswoman Millicent Fenwick (R-NJ) was born. Today Fenwick is “best-remembered as the pipe-smoking grandmother in Congress and as the model for Garry Trudeau's Doonesbury character Lacey Davenport,” notes Amy Schapiro, author of the biography “Millicent Fenwick: Her Way.” But earlier in her career, Fenwick was a magazine editor, serving as an associate editor of Vogue. She also wrote “Vogue’s Book of Etiquette” (1948).
Malcolm Forbes, the flamboyant and fun-loving editor-in-chief of Forbes magazine, died on this day (February 24) in 1990, a bit too late to be included in his 1988 book on how other famous people died, "They Went That-A-Way," written with Jeff Bloch. Forbes was 70.
It was on this day (February 23) in 1901 that newspapers reported Rounsevelle Wildman, former editor of the Overland Monthly, had been lost in the sinking of the steamship City of Rio de Janeiro off San Francisco the day before. Wildman had most recently served as the U.S. counsel general to Hong Kong. His wife and two children were also reported as among the 122 victims of the disaster, which occurred when the ship hit a rock in dense fog.
Today (February 21) is the birthday of The New Yorker, the first issue of which appeared on this day in 1925. This means the fabled "little old lady from Dubuque" that the magazine's prospectus insisted it would not be edited for, would now be about 168.
Douglas Z. Doty, onetime editor of The Century Magazine and Cosmopolitan, died on this day (February 20) in 1935. Doty was one of several prominent editors who gave up the magazine biz to take their chances in the then-young movie industry. In Doty's case, the transition seems to have gone smoothly. At his death he was credited with more than 60 films, including a 1931 Academy Award nominee, "Laughter."
Weeks wrote several books about his experiences as an editor as well as an advice guide for would-be writers called "This Trade of Writing." He may also hold some sort of record for signing books; autographed copies of his works seem as plentiful as unautographed ones.
Today, February 17, was the cover date on the first issue of Newsweek (then News-Week), launched in 1933. Its last issue as a print publication, dated December 31, 2012, featured a history of the magazine and its 79-year run.
Also born on this day, in 1857: S.S. McClure, founder of McClure's magazine, for many years a major title. McClure's may be best remembered today as the magazine where the novelist Willa Cather served as managing editor before turning to fulltime fiction writing. McClure died in 1949, having outlived his magazine by two decades.