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Guide to the Time Inc. Time-Life News Service Records
 MS 3009-RG 14

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

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Samantha Brown

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on April 29, 2022
Description is in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Historical Note

According to documents found in the News Service History file within the General File of the Chief of Correspondents Series, Time hired David Hulburd in Fall 1929 to report news from Chicago. Stationed in a room next to the advertising office, Hulburd was tasked with monitoring the Midwest for news that was worth national attention. Every day, Hulburd would send back bundles of clippings to  Time's editorial offices in New York, and, if a reporter found a story they were interested in, the reporter would contact the Research Department to follow up with that newspaper or news service for additional details. The Research Department was headed by Mary Fraiser. News agencies contacted included the United Press Association or the Associated Press. If the Research Department received a reply, Fraser would pay the source. To help  Time gain more sources of news, Hulburd began traveling the country in 1935 to set up other news offices to gather regional stories. The first office was in San Francisco and the next was in Los Angeles.

Fraser recognized that relying on other news organizations for details and reports was unreliable, and Time did not always receive replies to its queries. Fraser and Hulburd began setting up  Time's own domestic and international news bureaus in 1937. In a staff memorandum sent out before his retirement, Hulburd noted that Fraser's encouragement and influence was one of the biggest factors in his decision, as well as the decision of other reporters, to work for  Time and put in the effort to build the bureau of correspondents.

Hulburd was in charge of managing the bureaus and offices throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. For the first few years, the bureaus remained under the Research Department. With the creation of their own news service, Time began to hire correspondents and stringers and relied less upon the United Press Association. Time Inc. still contracted with the Associated Press for their other publications. In 1941, the news service was placed under the authority of Henry Luce as  Time's editor. Around this same time, correspondents for other Time Inc. publications began maintaining news desks in the  Time news bureau offices beginning with Rachel Albertson from  Life.

From 1937 through most of 1945, Hulburd oversaw both the domestic and foreign correspondents. At this point, the size of the bureaus and number of people employed became too cumbersome for one person, and domestic and foreign affairs were separated. The domestic news service remained part of Time, but was overseen by the senior editors. During the time that the domestic news service was part of  Time, the department under went a number of name changes. In 1951 it was the Newsbureau, but became the U.S. and Canadian New Service.

The foreign service was moved to Time-Life International, also known as TLI, and was known as the TLI Foreign Desk. The foreign service remained under TLI until around 1954. At this point, the foreign service appears to have been removed from TLI's jurisdiction and became its own department known as the Overseas Bureaus. By 1960, the department's name was changed to the Foreign News Service. During this period, domestic news bureau chiefs were listed as assistant editors at Time in the department heads lists, but foreign news bureau chiefs were not. Materials within the collection imply that foreign news bureau chiefs were staff at  Time but they did not seem to receive the same status domestic bureau chiefs.

The foreign and domestic bureaus continued to operate separately until 1962 when they were once again placed under one news chief who also held a position at Time as an assistant editor. Richard Clurman, who had been chief of domestic correspondents, became chief of both foreign and domestic correspondents. At first, the new united system was known as the  Time News Service but this name was quickly changed to the Time-Life News Service. Despite only have the names of  Time and  Life in the title, the chief of bureaus appeared to oversee correspondents and stringers for all of Time Inc.'s magazines. One such organization was the  Washington Star which was owned by Time Inc. between 1978 and 1981. During the time that Time Inc. owned the  Washington Star, the newspaper operated as a separate organization but did not have any of their own correspondents or stringers. Rather than hiring their own set of correspondents and stringers, the Time-Life News Service provided personnel to work for the  Washington Star, and the  Washington Star paid the Time-Life News Service for their service. While suppling news for magazines throughout Time Inc., the Time-Life News Service remained part of  Time's editorial operations until 1985 when the news service became part of the Magazine Group.