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Guide to the Time Inc. Records Overview
 MS 3009

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

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Holly Deakyne, Samantha Brown, Melanie Rinehart, Nora Soto, Allen Thomas, Aleksandr Gelfand, Aaron Roffman, Larry Weimer

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on July 15, 2021
Description is in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Historical Note and Chronology


For a comprehensive history of Time Inc. and its founders, see the authorized histories of Time Inc. listed in the citations at the end.

Henry Robinson Luce and Briton Hadden met while classmates at the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut. They became friends while working on rival school publications. Both went on to Yale University and joined the Yale Daily News as freshmen. After graduation in 1920, Luce and Hadden went their separate ways. Luce traveled, briefly studied at Oxford, and worked at  The Chicago Daily News. Hadden also traveled and worked at  The New York World. Ultimately both ended up working at  The Baltimore News in 1922.

There they conceived of the magazine that became Time, with the working title  Facts, before forming Time, Incorporated on November 28, 1922 in New York. They published the first issue on March 3, 1923 with a circulation of around 9,000. Luce and Hadden alternated as the president of the company, but shared the masthead as managing editors. Hadden died suddenly in 1929. Luce died in 1967.

Besides the flagship magazine, Time Inc. also launched Fortune,  Life,  Sports Illustrated, and  People, along with the radio news program  March of Time. Time Inc. created divisions for wider entertainment offerings such as Time-Life Books and the cable television channel Home Box Office, later known as HBO, and subsidiaries to handle the technical side of printing such as Printing Developments, Inc. Time Inc. also acquired companies such as publisher Little, Brown and Company, and lumber company Temple Industries; and publications such as  Architectural Forum and the Washington  Star. In 1990, Time Inc. merged with Warner Communications Inc. resulting in Time Warner. Time Inc., the magazine publishing branch, separated from Time Warner in 2014.


The earliest documentation regarding the establishment of the Time Inc. Archives dates from 1941, when a proposal was sent to one of the company's top executives, stating, "We are in favor of starting a confidential file of Archives, which can be kept up to date and which, as time goes on, should prove invaluable for...a comprehensive history of the company...Things we'd like to save: original dummies, prospectuses, and first copies of all the magazines, complete sets of annual reports, complete and up to date material on H.R.L. and his writings, a complete set of all company bulletins, pictures, diaries and personal accounts of all early employees, etc...But there is at present, so far as I know, no systematic effort to keep track of all documents which have long range value to the company...Main thing I am anxious to establish is the habit of saving valuable material. If you approve the project, we can start delving almost at once."

In 1950, after passing through the hands of several long time employees, the Archives Department was formally established, reporting up to the company's Central Services division.


One of the guiding reasons for establishing the Archive was, as noted above, that as early as 1941, Time Inc. was considering a "comprehensive history of the company." A memo in an Archives folder in the Reference Files, from April 1950, expresses the desire for a "definitive, scholarly history of Time Inc." Three authorized histories have been published so far:

Elson, Robert T. 1968. Time, Inc.: The Intimate History of a Publishing Enterprise, 1923-1941. New York: Atheneum.

Elson, Robert T., and Duncan Norton-Taylor. 1973. The World of Time Inc.: The Intimate History of a Publishing Enterprise, 1941-1960. New York: Atheneum.

Prendergast, Curtis, and Geoffrey Colvin. 1986. The World of Time Inc.: The Intimate History of a Changing Enterprise, 1960-1980. New York: Atheneum.

According to Robert T. Elson, "Luce had a very strong sense of history, and a feeling that Time Inc. was a unique institution. What he wanted was a record of the men and women who worked there."

1922 Initial business offices are in 141 East 17th Street, then move to the Printing Crafts Building at 461 Eighth Avenue.
1922 November Henry R. Luce and Briton Hadden incorporate in New York as Time, Incorporated.
1922 December First officers are elected: President, Hadden; Secretary and Treasurer, Luce; Vice President, to be determined.
First directors of the board are elected: E. R. Crowe, Henry P. Davison, Jr., William V. Griffin, Hadden, and Luce.
Offices secured at 9 East 40th Street, 9th Floor.
1923 March First issue of Time is released.
1923 April Obtain new offices at 236 East 39th Street.
1924 May Began publishing Saturday Review of Literature, a renewal of the  Literary Review formerly in the New York  Post. The first issue is released in August.
1925 August Publishing headquarters move from New York City to Cleveland.
1926 January The Saturday Review of Literature separates from Time Inc.
1926 February New election of officers: Chairman of the Board and President, Luce; Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary, Hadden.
1926 October Davison suggests filling a vacancy in the board with a woman. Hadden rejects the idea.
1927 January Time begins the transition from a black-and-white cover to a color cover.
1927 April Prints the first issue of Tide, an in-house monthly newsletter "dedicated to the flow of business".
1927 August Editorial Department moves from Cleveland to New York City followed later by the General Manager Office, Accounting Department, and Advertising Promotional Department. Editorial temporarily have offices at 25 West 45th Street.
1928 Begin production of a daily 10-minute radio feature called "Newscasting" supplied to 60 radio stations.
Names first "Man of the Year."
1928 January Production Department moves from Cleveland to Chicago.
Publishes first issue of Tide as a subscription trade journal.
Robert L. Johnson and Roy E. Larsen are added as vice presidents.
1928 July Circulation Department moves from Cleveland to Chicago, although the circulation promotion manager relocates to New York City a month later.
1928 October Move from temporary offices into the Bartholomew Building on East 42nd Street.
1929 February Hadden dies on February 27 after contracting the flu and then developing a blood stream infection.
1929 March Larsen becomes general manager after Hadden's death.
New election of officers: Chairman of the Board and President, Luce; Vice Chairman, Griffin; Vice President and Secretary, Johnson; Vice President and Secretary, Larsen; Assistant Treasurer, Charles L. Stillman.
John S. Martin becomes managing editor of Time after Hadden's death.
1930 Sells Tide to a group headed by Raymond Rubicam.
1930 February Publishes first issue of Fortune with Parker Lloyd-Smith as managing editor.
1931 March The March of Time debuts on March 6, 1931 as radio newsreel on CBS Radio.
1931 August Move offices to the Chrysler Building.
1931 September Ralph Ingersoll takes over as managing editor of Fortune after Lloyd-Smith's death.
1932 April Acquires building journal Architectural Forum.
1933 July The company issues a memo removing the comma between "Time" and "Incorporated."
1934 January Publishes first issue of Letters, a supplement to accommodate the overflow of letters to the editor.  Letters continues through 1937.
1935 February First release of The March of Time movie short at the Capitol Theatre in New York City on February 1, 1935.
1935 August Ingersoll named general manager of Time Inc.
Eric Hodgins named managing editor of Fortune.
1936 Purchases a publication entitled Life in order to use the name for the new picture magazine.
1936 November Publishes first issue of Life.
1937 Manfred Gottfried (the first writer hired) named managing editor of Time.
1937 March Hodgins named publisher of Fortune.
Ingersoll named publisher of Time.
Larsen named publisher of Life.
1938 April Move offices to the Time & Life Building at 9 Rockefeller Plaza.
1939 Implements initial employee profit-sharing plan.
1939 June Time is the first to use the terms "World War I" and "World War II."
1939 September Luce resigns as president and chief operating officer in order to focus on the company's editorial direction, remaining editor-in-chief and board chairman. Larsen is elected to take over as president and CEO.
1942 M. T. Moore elected chairman of the board.
1942 November Clare Boothe Luce, wife of Henry Luce, elected Connecticut representative for U.S. Congress.
1943 January T. S. Matthews named managing editor of Time.
1944 June Daniel Longwell named managing editor of Life.
John Shaw Billings named editorial director of Time.
1945 James A. Linen named publisher of Time.
Purchases Michigan Square Building in Chicago.
1946 Holds dinner party in New York for guest of honor Winston Churchill.
Gottfried named chief of correspondents for Time and  Life international bureaus.
1946 January Andrew Heiskell named publisher of Life.
1946 October Joseph Thorndike named managing editor of Life.
1949 August Edward Thompson named managing editor of Life.
1951 August The March of Time ceases production.
1952 Architectural Forum is split into two magazines:  Forum for commercial buildings, and  House & Home for residential.
Purchase first television station: KOB in Alburquerque, NM.
Begin construction of Time & Life Building in London.
1953 Publishes first foreign language magazine: Life En Español.
1954 August Publishes first issue of Sports Illustrated.
1956 December Announce plans to construct a new Time & Life Building at the Rockefeller Center.
1959 July Hedley Donovan named editorial director.
1960 Heiskell named chairman of the board.
1961 January Establishes the Book Division with Jerome Hardy as publisher and Norman Ross as editor.
1961 June Establishes Time-Life Broadcast Inc.
1961 September Time Life International and Life International suspend all subscriptions to Cuba.
1961 November Life En Español banned in Spain due to article on Spanish Civil War.
1962 Acquires textbook publisher Silver Burdett.
Publishes first issue of Panorama, a joint venture with Italian publisher Arnoldo Mondadori Editore.
1962 March Time launches a New York Metropolitan Edition.
1963 Time conducts the first newstour.
Book Division renamed Time-Life Books.
1964 April Luce names Donovan as the editor-in-chief.
Luce steps down as editor-in-chief. He is now the editorial chairman.
1964 August An August/September double issue is the last issue of Architectural Forum produced by Time Inc.
McGraw Hill takes over publishing House & Home.
1964 November Time Inc. History Project launches overseen by Robert Elson.
1964 December The American Planning and Civic Association acquire Architectural Forum.
1965 Receives Special Merit award from the U.S. Post Office for David Brumbaugh's contributions to improving the zoning system (ZIP codes).
1966 December Acquires the New York Graphic Society as a new subsidiary of the Books Group.
1967 February Luce dies on February 28 from heart attack.
1968 Construction completed on Time & Life Building at 541 North Fairbanks Court in Chicago. This location houses the Subscription Services Division.
Henry "Hank" Luce III named publisher of Fortune.
1968 January Acquires the publisher Little, Brown and Company.
1968 May Otto Fuerbringer named "chief explorer of Time Inc.'s interests and opportunities in the newspaper field."
1969 Luce III named publisher of Time.
1969 March Acquires Pioneer Publishing Company.
1969 September Creation of the Time-Life Films Division.
1970 Joan Manley named publisher of Time-Life Books, the first woman to hold a publisher position at Time Inc.
1970 October Time-Life radio and television properties acquired by McGraw Hill.
1970 December Life International publishes final issues.
Time-Life Audio Division created.
1971 Manley elected vice president, the first woman vice president at Time Inc.
1971 July George Hunt named editor of Time-Life Films.
1972 Founds the Home Box Office (HBO).
Ralph P. Davidson named publisher of Time.
Publishes first issue of Money.
Acquires collection of photographs from New York City photo bureau Pix Inc.
1972 December Suspends the publication of Life.
1973 Time Editorial and the News Service merge.
Manhattan Cable TV becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary.
1974 March Publishes first issue of People.
1974 July Time establishes the title of Senior Writer.
1976 April Ralph Graves named corporate editor.
1976 July Edward Jamieson named Time executive editor.
1977 July Acquires Book of the Month Club (BoMC) as a subsidiary of the Books Group.
Dick Armstrong and Paul Finney named Fortune executive editors.
1977 December American Television and Communications Corporation (ATC) becomes a subsidiary.
1978 Time donates original cover art collection to the National Portrait Gallery.
Revives Life as a monthly publication.
1978 January Fortune becomes a biweekly publication.
1978 September Jason McManus named executive editor of Time.
1979 June Donovan retires and recommends Henry Grunwald as his successor editor-in-chief.
1979 July Graves named editorial director.
1980 Publishes first issue of Discover.
Davidson named chairman of Time Inc.
1980 October J. Richard Munro named chief executive officer (CEO).
1981 January Time Inc. Series C preferred stock offered to public.
1981 March Sells Time-Life Films to Columbia Pictures.
1981 June Purchases transponders on Hughes Galaxy I satellite for HBO use.
1982 Establishes the Heiskell Award which was presented to Time Inc. employees "who have made an exceptional contribution in the areas of public service, human rights and equal opportunity."
1982 August N. J. Nicholas, Jr. named chief financial officer (CFO).
1982 October Reginald Brack named president of Time-Life Books.
1984 October Michael J. Fuchs named chairman and CEO of HBO.
1987 Grunwald retires as editor-in-chief, and McManus is appointed as successor.
Sells Discover to Family Media.
1989 Time Inc. and Warner Communications Inc. announced plan to merge.
1989 April Louis A. "Chip" Weil becomes Time publisher.
1990 February Publishes first issue of Entertainment Weekly.


"American's Mailing Industry: Powered by the United States Postal Service. Time Inc." National Postal Museum. Accessed on December 5, 2016.

"Briton Hadden Dies; An Editor of Time." The New York Times. February 28, 1929.

Elson, Robert T. 1968. Time Inc.: The Intimate History of a Publishing Enterprise, 1923-1941. New York: Atheneum.

Elson, Robert T., and Duncan Norton-Taylor. 1973. The World of Time Inc.: The Intimate History of a Publishing Enterprise, 1941-1960. New York: Atheneum.

Kaufman, Leslie. "Time Inc. to Cut 500 Jobs Ahead of Spinoff." The New York Times. February 4, 2014. Accessed June 14, 2016.

Langer, Emily. "Ralph P. Davidson, Former Chairman of Time Inc. and Kennedy Center, Dies at 86." The Washington Post. August 2, 2014. Accessed December 6, 2016.

"Manfred Gottfried, 85, Dies: A Former Co-editor of Time." The New York Times. September 21, 1985. Accessed December 6, 2016.

Norrismarch, Floyd. "Time Inc. and Warner to Merge, Creating Largest Media Company." The New York Times. March 5, 1989.

Prendergast, Curtis, and Geoffrey Colvin. 1986. The World of Time Inc.: The Intimate History of a Changing Enterprise, 1960-1980. New York: Atheneum.

"The TIME Collection." National Portrait Gallery (Smithsonian Institution).

"Time's Film Unit Sold to Columbia." Business section. The New York Times. August 13, 1981. Accessed January 18, 2018.

"A Timeline of Time Warner Inc." Wall Street Journal. July 16, 2014. Accessed June 14, 2016.

Whitman, Alden. "Henry R. Luce, Creator of Time-Life Magazine Empire, Dies in Phoenix at 68." The New York Times. March 1, 1967. Accessed June 14, 2016.