“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, late February, 1923, East 40th Street, New York City, New York

Henry R. Luce, 24, knows how this day is going to pan out.

Henry R. Luce

Luce and his partner, fellow Yale alum Briton Hadden, just turned 25, have been planning their magazine for well over a year. Now they are coming down to the deadline to start the presses so the new magazine, Time, will appear on newsstands with a March 3rd cover date.

Serious discussions hadn’t started until Hadden, then learning the publishing ropes from editor Harold Bayard Swope, 41, at the New York World, contacted his old buddy from the Yale Daily News, Luce, who had recently been dumped by the Chicago Daily News. He suggested they both go to work for the Baltimore News.

Briton Hadden

In late night talks they began brainstorming the concept of a weekly magazine called Facts which would condense the important news of the day for busy businessmen. Eventually, they came up with the name Time, and the slogan, “Take Time—It’s Brief.” Hadden thought it should be fun as well as informative, including news, celebrities, politics, culture and sport.

Funded by $100,000 raised from other Yale alumni, and working out of this abandoned brewery, Hadden, as editor, is overseeing the process he and Luce learned in their short publishing careers:  Get the flats together. Race over to the printer at 36th Street and 11th Avenue. Stay up all night with the staff writing copy to fill holes and cutting copy to make columns fit. Then write captions for the three-inch square fuzzy photos.

Within the 32 pages—including the cover featuring retiring congressman and former Speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives Joseph G. Cannon, 86—were brief pieces on:

  • The Kansas legislature considering a bill to make smoking illegal;
  • The wife of the Pennsylvania governor beseeching Congress to put women in charge of enforcing Prohibition, which cost the country $15 million last year;
  • Charges by muckraker Upton Sinclair, 44, that department stores have too strong an influence over newspapers because of their heavy advertising spends;
  • Influential British art critic Clive Bell, 41, declaring that cubism is dead;
  • A review of Black Oxen, the new novel by Gertrude Atherton, 65, which categorizes the writers who lunch regularly at the midtown Algonquin Hotel as “Sophisticates”; and
  • A review of the hit Broadway play, Merton of the Movies, by two of those Sophisticates, Marc Connelly, 32, and George S Kaufman, 33, calling it a “skillful dramatization” of the original novel.

Newsstand price is 15 cents.

First issue of Time magazine

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volumes I through III, covering 1920 through 1922 are available at Thoor Ballylee in Co. Galway, and as signed copies at Riverstone Books in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA. They are also on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in print and e-book formats. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

This month I am talking about the literary 1920s in Paris and New York City in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Carnegie-Mellon University.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is also available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in both print and e-book versions.

If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”:  Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.

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