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Guide to the Henry R. Luce Papers
1894-2004 (bulk, 1932-1967)
 MS 3014

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Aleksandr Gelfand

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on October 04, 2018
Description is in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Container List

Series III. Notable Memoranda, 1931-1967. 2.6 Linear Feet

Arrangement Note

The series is arranged in chronological order.

Scope and Contents Note

The series consists of memoranda and correspondence which highlight the development and prominent episodes in the lives of Henry R. Luce (hereafter HRL), Time Inc., and of its various publications. The documents illustrate HRL's thinking and beliefs, as well as his relationships and interactions with Time Inc. staff and individuals outside of the company. This material appears to have been assembled as part of the research for the corporate history of Time Inc: Time Inc: The Intimate History of a Publishing Enterprise, 1923-1941 (published in 1968);  The World of Time Inc: The Intimate History of a Publishing Enterprise, 1941-1960 (published in 1973); and the beginning of  The World of Time Inc: The Intimate History of a Publishing Enterprise, 1960-1980 (published in 1986). Many of the documents found in the series are quoted from, referenced to, or used for background information throughout these books.

The contents consist mainly of multiple carbon copies (some annotated), with a lesser number of originals and copies; some are labeled "confidential" and "strictly confidential." Most were written and sent out by HRL (some have "not sent" written at the top) to the entire staff of Time Inc., staff of individual magazines, to groups and to individual editors and officers as well as to individuals outside of Time Inc. The latter include Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, and to other individuals where HRL is responding to complaints, and explaining his thinking on such subjects as "The American Century."

The Time Inc. staff members the memoranda are addressed to include MacLeish, Grover, Hobson, Wertenbaker, Billings, Larsen, Prentice, Jessup, Gottfried, Jackson, J. Davenport, Furth, Roy Alexander, Hedley Donovan, Thompson, Heiskell, Linel, and Paine. TIME, LIFE, FORTUNE, and SPORTS ILLUSTRATED are the main publications discussed in the memoranda. TIME International, LIFE International, LIFE Spanish, ARCHITECTURAL FORUM, and HOUSE & GARDEN are sometimes, though infrequently mentioned.

Records include early prospectus drafts for LIFE, THE MARCH OF TIME film series, and SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, as well as periodical reformulations termed a "re-thinking" and a "respectus" which serve to update the original formula of the magazines. Memoranda covers a wide variety of subjects, including managerial appointments and personnel decisions; policy decisions, fundamental attitudes, convictions and responsibilities of Time Inc; responses to controversies in the pages of its publications; editorial and promotional strategy; and questions of budgeting, advertising, and circulation.

In addition, a large number of memoranda sent by HRL contains his general thought and ideas directed at his editors and officers for discussion purposes and consists of his comments on current events; gives ideas for possible TIME covers; elaborates on major themes and subjects that he would like to be covered by Time Inc. publications; gives editorial ideas; discusses articles he is working on; and positions he believes the publications should take. Frequently memoranda contain HRL's criticisms, evaluations, comments and suggestions on individual articles and entire issues of Time Inc. publications.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 54 Folder : 2 Memoranda

Scope and Contents

Includes memoranda regarding the need to economize due to the Depression, a new theory of FORTUNE editorial management, organization of editorial staff of "The Picture Magazine" (LIFE), and the redefinition of the editorial contents and purpose of LIFE. Also includes a letter recommendation with a prospectus to the Board of Directors of Time Inc. regarding the plan for "The March of Time" film series, and a copy of a letter to Herbert Hoover regarding the freedom of the press.

1931-1937
Box: 54 Folder : 3 Memoranda

Scope and Contents

Includes memoranda announcing HRL's resumption of his position as Editor of TIME, FORTUNE and LIFE, further planning for the "photographic essay," and staff organization for LIFE. Also contains notable memoranda titled "Redefinition of LIFE - Part I" and "The Principles, Policies, Attitudes Etc. Which Govern the Motives of Time Inc."

1938
Box: 54 Folder : 4 Memoranda

Scope and Contents

Includes memoranda regarding HRL's thinking on the value of the individual in Time Inc., the publication High Time put out by the Communist Party Members at Time Inc., a saving and profit sharing plan for the staff, and the purpose of TIME Magazine. Also includes a TIME release to the public titled "Time, War and Truth: When Men Take Sides" regarding TIME's prejudice in reporting the news and a "Tentative Scheme for Foreign News" for TIME.

1939
Box: 54 Folder : 5 Memoranda

Scope and Contents

Includes memoranda to the staff of FORTUNE regarding their "struggle for the right to hope" and to the Time Inc. Senior Group regarding the company's attitudes and responsibilities in relation to World War II . Also includes a copy of a congratulatory letter from W. H. Kittrell Jr. to HRL regarding the nomination of Wendell Willkie, a copy of a letter from HRL to George Backer criticizing a story in the New York Post, and copies of "Notes on the Willkie Campaign" and "Fairly Specific Points About the Willkie Campaign."

1940
Box: 54 Folder : 6 Memoranda

Scope and Contents

Includes a copy of HRL's report of his trip to China "China: To the Mountains" which was published in LIFE, notes from the Senior Group Dinner, and a memo outlining plans for the "Q" Department of Time Inc. for the proposed study of peace aims.

1941
Box: 54 Folder : 7 Memoranda

Scope and Contents

Includes "Note on the Organization" of Time Inc., and HRL's report on his trip to England "England Revisited."

1942
Box: 54 Folder : 8 Memoranda (folder 1 of 2)

Scope and Contents

Includes memoranda on the Post-War Department of Time Inc., and summaries of interviews labeled "Officials in a Crisis" with Cordell Hull, Sumner Welles, and Henry Wallace, among others. Also includes notable memoranda labeled "Basis of an Editorial Program for all Publications in 1943" and "The Practice of Freedom" regarding the fundamental attitudes and convictions of Time Inc. In addition there are copies of letters from HRL to Robert A. Taft and William Ernest Hocking regarding The American Century.

1943
Box: 54 Folder : 9 Memoranda (folder 2 of 2)

Scope and Contents

Includes memoranda responding to the earlier "Practice of Freedom" memo, drafts of "Articles of Faith" of TIME, a plan for the "Time Inc. post-War News Bureau-Overseas," how HRL envisions the reorganization of the world, and a proposed prospectus for the second two decades of TIME.

1943
Box: 55 Folder : 1 Memoranda

Scope and Contents

Includes memoranda regarding the 1944 U.S. elections, the function of FORTUNE, and the treatment of Bretton Woods Conference by TIME. Also includes an aide-memoire on Time Inc. policy and policymaking, and the "Post-War Memo No. I" touching on HRL objection to giving Franklin D. Roosevelt credit for his accomplishments.

1944
Box: 55 Folder : 2 Memoranda

Scope and Contents

Includes memoranda on the misuse of correspondent materials by the Foreign News Department of TIME, the editorial mission of TIME and LIFE International and a prospectus for the post-war FORTUNE for 1946-1950. Also includes notable memoranda titled "Time Inc. Abroad" and "A Personal Comment on the News." In addition there is a copy of a letter sent by HRL to Madame Chiang Kai-shek and copy of notes on a meeting with Pat Hurley.

1945
Box: 55 Folder : 3 Memoranda

Scope and Contents

Includes memoranda regarding Time Inc.'s attitude toward movies, the editorial program for TIME in 1946, and a copy of HRL's comments on a draft of the report of the Commission on Freedom of the Press. Also includes HRL's notes on people met during a trip to the western United States and a dispatch about Germany.

1946
Box: 55 Folder : 4 Memoranda

Scope and Contents

Includes memoranda regarding the Marshall Plan and a new building for Time Inc. Also includes copies of HRL's correspondence sent to Sumner Welles, Douglas MacArthur, General Cahang Chun, Madame Chiang Kai-shek, and Winston Churchill.

1947
Box: 55 Folder : 5 Memoranda Regarding a Rethinking of FORTUNE Magazine

Scope and Contents

Includes various drafts of "Rough Notes on a Radical Revision of FORTUNE," a preliminary draft of "Directive for the Editorial Development of FORTUNE," a report on the editorial progress of FORTUNE, and a transcript of the musical composition "Ballad for Americans."

1948
Box: 55 Folder : 6 Memoranda

Scope and Contents

Includes memoranda regarding starting a new magazine titled "The New Mag - Notes Pro & Con," journalistic policy to be adopted by the editors, victory of Harry Truman in the 1948 election. Also includes copies of correspondence from Arthur H. Vandenberg and Raimund von Hofmannsthal.

1948
Box: 55 Folder : 7 Memoranda

Scope and Contents

Includes a copy of a letter from HRL to Andre Laguerre on Time Inc. policy following the Harry Truman election, copy of a letter from Chet LaRoche regarding FORTUNE and its relation to the future, and copies of HRL's reports and notes from his trip to Europe in 1949. Also includes memoranda proposing a new unit in the editorial organization of LIFE, Time Inc. policy attitude on questions of public policy, and agenda for discussion on how to make TIME more interesting for 1950.

1949
Box: 56 Folder : 1 Memoranda (folder 1 of 2)

Scope and Contents

Includes copies of HRL's reports on trips to Europe, Persia, and the Middle East, a memo discussing the value of LIFE International, and a draft of a partial re-prospectus of TIME.

1950
Box: 56 Folder : 2 Memoranda (folder 2 of 2)

Scope and Contents

Includes HRL's "Policy Memorandum on Iran," a letter-memo regarding Iraq, and a memo from Andre Laguerre to HRL regarding the conversation with General de Lattre.

1950
Box: 56 Folder : 3 Memoranda

Scope and Contents

Includes draft "Notes on the State of the Nation and the State of the World on or About Feb. 15th," "Notes for a Directive for TIME," "Catalogue of Suggestions for Improving TIME," and "Private Notes" on a meeting with General MacArthur. Also includes carbon copies of letters to Senator Joseph R. McCarthy.

1951
Box: 56 Folder : 4 Memoranda

Scope and Contents

Includes a "Tentative Rough Draft of Editorial Prospectus for the Spanish-Language Edition of LIFE," copies of HRL's observations and reports from a trip to England in 1952, memoranda regarding the U.S. military power policy and "Compelling Reasons for Stopping the Korean War."

1952
Box: 56 Folder : 5 Memoranda

Scope and Contents

Includes HRL's reports from his 1953 trip to the Far East, memorandum "What To Do About Korea," and a draft "America and the World - 1953." Also includes copies of correspondence sent by HRL while living in Italy to Time Inc. staff. In addition there is a copy of a letter from President Eisenhower and a carbon copy letter sent to Winston Churchill.

1953
Box: 56 Folder : 6 Memoranda - Foreign Policy Reappraisal

Scope and Contents

Contains memoranda dealing with the foreign policy of the United States and the way it is addressed in Time Inc. publications. Includes drafts of HRL's "Elaboration of Proceeding Summary of Policy for Survival."

1954
Box: 56 Folder : 7 Memoranda

Scope and Contents

Includes promotional broadsides announcing the creation of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and a summary of HRL's off-the-cuff talk to explain the genesis of the new magazine and his personal feelings about sport. Also includes the memoranda "The State of The Magazine (and Time Inc.)," "A Balanced View of the Italian Situation," and "The Economic Situation in Italy." In addition there is a carbon copy of a letter from HRL to Aga Khan regarding his manuscript, and copies of correspondence with Winston Churchill.

1954
Box: 57 Folder : 1 Memoranda (folder 1 of 3)

Scope and Contents

Includes memos regarding LIFE "Concrete Suggestions" and "LIFE- The 1955 Model," test mailings, circulation and formula for SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, and the policy on China. In addition there is a copy of a letter to Earl Warren.

1955
Box: 57 Folder : 2 Memoranda (folder 2 of 3)

Scope and Contents

Includes memoranda dealing with a "reconsideration" of FORTUNE, its formula. and its editorial plans for 1955 and 1956. Also includes text of letter sent to King of Saudi Arabia Su'ud ibn 'Abd al Aziz al Su'ud and a draft of HRL's article "The Purpose of Life on Earth" as it will be conceived of in 1980 and related correspondence.

1955
Box: 57 Folder : 3 Memoranda (folder 3 of 3)

Scope and Contents

Includes a carbon copy letter to Leo Burnett dealing with the meaning and purpose of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and the memo "LIFE - The 1955 Model."

1955
Box: 57 Folder : 4 Memoranda - SPORTS ILLUSTRATED Prospectus

Scope and Contents

Includes drafts of "A Prospectus for American Magazine About Sports," "The Formula for SPORTS ILLUSTRATED" and an annotated original draft of the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED prospectus under the working name "Spectacle." Also includes the letter sent to Leo Burnett regarding the meaning and purpose of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED in booklet form.

1955
Box: 57 Folder : 5 Memoranda (folder 1 of 2)

Scope and Contents

Includes memoranda dealing with the fallout over the LIFE article "How Dulles Averted War," HRL's thoughts after serving as Acting Managing Editor of TIME, and the recall of an entire issue of FORTUNE due to an article with implications for national security of the U.S. Additional memoranda address the future of ARCHITECTURAL FORUM and the revisions of the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED formula and make-up.

1956
Box: 57 Folder : 6 Memoranda (folder 2 of 2)

Scope and Contents

Includes memoranda regarding the reorientation of LIFE International editorial program, cigarettes and cancer, and "What Price LIFE?" regarding the increase of the magazine's price. Also contains HRL's summary of his lunch conversation topics with Louis Jones.

1956
Box: 57 Folder : 7 Memoranda

Scope and Contents

Includes memoranda regarding investments in Eastex Mill, Time Inc. budget policy, Earl Warren, Brennan and the Supreme Court, and the proposal for running "The Changing American People" series in LIFE.

1957
Box: 57 Folder : 8 Memoranda (folder 1 of 2)

Scope and Contents

Includes a "Perspective" concerning each of Time Inc.'s magazines, and a set of memoranda regarding LIFE's editorial operations "Speaking of LIFE: Where Are We and Where Do We Go From Here?"

1958
Box: 58 Folder : 1 Memoranda (folder 2 of 2)

Scope and Contents

Includes memoranda giving HRL's views of the recession and depression, summary of efforts to make LIFE a better magazine, and a meeting with John Foster Dulles. There is also memoranda regarding SPORTS ILLUSTRATED "The Stage We've Reached" and the "Ten-Point Program to Keep on Achieving Greatness in Popular Journalism" for LIFE. In addition there are carbon copies of letters to Mr. and Mrs. Dwight D. Eisenhower and Norman Cousins.

1958
Box: 58 Folder : 2 Memoranda

Scope and Contents

Includes an untitled speech regarding business corporations and freedom, "A Note on the Total Editorial Job" regarding the job of the top editors of Time Inc. magazines, and "The Aims of a Free People" speech by John W. Gardner in pamphlet form with HRL's analysis. Also includes memoranda dealing with Time Inc. policy on speech-writing for political candidates, national purpose, and a draft of TIME reprospectus "TIME Tomorrow." In addition there is a carbon copy of a letter to Chief Justice Warren, and the foreword and notes for Max Way's book.

1959
Box: 58 Folder : 3 Memoranda (folder 1 of 2)

Scope and Contents

Includes memoranda dealing with civil rights, America's national purpose, the reformulation of the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED prospectus, and HRL's reports on his impressions of India, Japan, and Taiwan from his 1960 world trip. Also includes memos from Dick Clurman to HRL "What TIME-LIFE Correspondents Do--and Should Do" and from John Boyle "The Function of the Correspondent," with additional memos titled "Notes for a Philosophy of Sports" and "Some Thoughts on FORTUNE in its Present Stage or An Approach to the FORTUNE Problem - Whatever It Is." There are also carbon copies of letters to and from President Eisenhower and carbon copies of a letter and response to Thomas M. Cleland on the 30th anniversary of FORTUNE.

1960
Box: 58 Folder : 4 Memoranda (folder 2 of 2)

Scope and Contents

Contains mostly memoranda regarding LIFE including "Further Notes on LIFE is for Nixon," "A Note of LIFE in the Sixties," "Thoughts on TIME and LIFE and the 1960 Campaign," "A Note on LIFE in 1939," "The Meaning of LIFE," and "LIFE - A New Prospectus for the Sixties."

1960
Box: 58 Folder : 5 Memoranda (folder 1 of 2)

Scope and Contents

Includes memoranda listing subjects for major LIFE articles, HRL's views on the Kennedy State of the Union Speech, "Work Program for LIFE," and "Henry R. Luce Visit With President John F. Kennedy - July 31, 1961." In addition there are copies of letters sent to and received from John F. Kennedy, copies of correspondence responding to a complaint from King Hussein of Jordan, and the C.J.V. Murphy article on the failed Cuban invasion in FORTUNE.

1961
Box: 58 Folder : 6 Memoranda (folder 2 of 2)

Scope and Contents

Includes a partial transcript of HRL's press conference, and a memo on Henry Pomeroy Davison, the first person to invest in Time Inc. In addition there are carbon copies of letters to Willy Brandt, Viggo Kampmann, and Hassen Ebtehaj.

1961
Box: 58 Folder : 7 Memoranda (folder 1 of 2)

Scope and Contents

Includes memoranda regarding the merging of Time Inc. domestic and foreign news services, an outline on a series of articles on Greece, and a special travel issue of LIFE. In addition there are carbon copies of letters to John F. Kennedy, David Brinkley, Eisenhower, and to Adnoldo Mondadori regarding the publication of Panorama.

1962
Box: 59 Folder : 1 Memoranda (folder 2 of 2)

Scope and Contents

Includes memoranda regarding LIFE's present state and near-term future, profitability of Time Inc., and a proposal for a supplement to LIFE on science. In addition there are copies of letters to John F. Kennedy and Hubert H. Humphrey.

1962
Box: 59 Folder : 2 Memoranda

Scope and Contents

Includes memoranda regarding a retrospectus for FORTUNE and LIFE, and a prospectus for a law section in TIME titled "TIME's Missing Section." In addition there are carbon copies of letters to Winston Churchill, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur, Madame Chiang Kai-shek, and a thermofax copy of a telegram to Jacqueline Kennedy following the John F. Kennedy assassination.

1963
Box: 59 Folder : 3 Memoranda

Scope and Contents

Includes a copy of Louis Banks's notes on a talk with HRL, memoranda regarding HRL's conversations with President Johnson, the announcement of HRL's resignation as Editor-in-Chief, and significant stories from the Republican Presidential Convention.

1964
Box: 59 Folder : 4 Memoranda

Scope and Contents

Includes copy of a memorandum regarding FORTUNE's departments, and a copy of letter to William O. Douglas.

1965
Box: 59 Folder : 5 Memoranda

Scope and Contents

Includes a copy of memo from Tom Griffith to Hedley Donovan "Domestic Issues," guidelines for Time Inc., and copy of memo regarding the Republican nominee for the 1968 presidential election. Also includes a copy of letter to Hubert H. Humphrey and a copy of the transcript "Fulbright Discusses TIME and LIFE" from the WCBS-TV program Vietnam Perspective: China and the War.

1966
Box: 59 Folder : 6 Memoranda

Scope and Contents

Includes copies of letters to and response from Robert F. Kennedy, handwritten and typed "Notes on the Newspaper Question," and a signed original letter from Major General Neil D. Van Sickle following HRL's death.

1967
Box: 167 Folder : 5 Selected Documents by HRL

Scope and Contents

Includes carbon and photocopies of memoranda, correspondence, clippings, and speech factsheets dealing with editorial and management issues, the global situation, and HRL's thoughts. Also includes copies of correspondence with John F. Kennedy and a carbon copy memo describing HRL's meeting with John F. Kennedy on 24 October 1962.

1961-1967

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