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Guide to the Time Inc. People Publishing and Business Records
 MS 3009-RG 27

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

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Melanie Rinehart and Holly Deakyne

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on July 08, 2021
Description is in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Biographical / Historical

People magazine was launched as a newsstand-only publication on March 4, 1974, with Richard Durrell as founding publisher. Before joining  People, Durrell worked in advertising for both  Life and  Time magazines, including a position as  Life's Assistant Publisher.  People was created under the Magazine Development Group, divesting and becoming its own department by 1978. The Magazine Development Group, Time Inc.'s in-house publishing idea think tank, had previously successfully launched  Money magazine in 1972.

The magazine exceeded sales of one million copies per issue by July 1974 due to Richard Durrell creating a distribution network within Time Inc., known as Time Distribution Services (TDS). TDS worked with and eventually replaced the distributor Select Magazines Inc. and focused on market research to improve sales tactics.

For the majority of Time Inc.'s existence, the company maintained a strict separation of editorial from the publishing and business side of each magazine, colloquially called the separation of "church" (editorial) and "state" (publishing). Publishing and Business Management includes the publisher, general manager, business manager, advertising sales, marketing services, letters, circulation, and public relations. The editorial side reported up to the editor-in-chief and the publishing/business side reported up to the corporate business executive which was the president prior to 1960 and the chief executive officer after. Henry Luce structured Time Inc. this way so that the business side could not (in theory) influence the editorial content of the publications. For example, the advertising sales people could not interfere with a magazine's decision to run an article on the dangers of cigarette smoking, even though it might mean losing millions of dollars in tobacco ads.


Elson, Robert T., Curtis Prendergast, and Geoffrey Colvin. Time Inc.; the Intimate History of a Publishing Enterprise, 1960-1980. New York: Atheneum, 1985.

Hooper, Bill. Email to Holly Deakyne, 10 June 2016.