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Guide to the Time Inc. Books Group
1963-1988, 2015
 MS 3009-RG 28

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


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Holly Deakyne and Samantha Brown

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on July 27, 2020
Description is in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Historical Note

Books were published by the various magazines prior to the formation of the Books division. According to The World of Time Inc.: The Intimate History of a Changing Enterprise, 1960-1980,  Life's book projects were the most successful, and the  Life books division is what became the separate Book Division in 1961.

The Book Division formed with Jerome Hardy as publisher and Norman Ross as editor. Time Inc. announced this new division in a January 9, 1961 press release stating it already had fourteen books projects underway. The group is called the Book Division until Time Inc. names it Time-Life Books in the 1963 corporate annual report. There was never an official announcement of the name change. The group was still referred to as the books division (in lowercase) interchangeably with Time-Life Books.

In 1968 an executive oversight group called "Books, Arts and Recordings" was created led by vice presidents Rhett Austell and Charles Bear. According to an August 1968 staff memorandum, the group's primary function was to coordinate the activities of the Book Division with the related activities of the book publishing subsidiaries Little, Brown and Company and New York Graphic Society; and to work with executives from partially-owned subsidiary General Learning Corporation and the foreign publishers in which Time Inc. owned minority interests.

The 1969 annual report has the first mention of the Books and Arts Associates (BAA), a new advisory management group for book publishing foreign investments. Austell is now the executive vice president overseeing Books, Broadcast, Films, Records, and the BAA. The BAA also briefly oversaw the domestic publishing subsidiaries Little, Brown and Company and the New York Graphic Society. By 1975 BAA's oversight diminished, and its responsibilities were slowly taken over by the Books Group executive office.

In 1989 a new unit called Books Direct formed and included Time-Life Books and the subsidiary Book-of-the-Month Club. A press release announcing this new unit describes Time-Life Books as the "Largest direct marketer of continuity book, music and video products." In 1990 Time-Life Books was renamed Time Life Inc.

According to the 1974 annual report, Time-Life Books primarily published book series on broad topics and marketed them by direct mail. It occasionally published single-subject volumes. Internationally Time-Life books were printed in 26 languages.

DEPARTMENTS AND SUBSIDIARIES

While Time-Life Books was Time Inc.'s main publishing unit, the Books Group oversaw several other book publishing, subscription, or direct marketing ventures and companies acquired by Time Inc. The major subsidiaries were the textbook publisher Silver Burdett, acquired in 1962; the Boston-based publishing house Little, Brown and Company acquired in 1968; and the Book-of-the-Month Club officially acquired in 1977 although it worked with Time-Life Books prior to that. In November 1965, Time Inc. and General Electric (GE) create the General Learning Corporation (GLC) consisting of Silver Burdett and capital from GE. Scott Foresman and Company purchased GLC in July 1974.

Other ventures and subsidiaries include:

Time-Life Libraries (originally called The Span of Time) which formed in July 1965 to handle door-to-door sales of Time-Life books. It was also briefly known as the Time-Life Book Program. It took over telephone sales from Time Telemarketing in 1975.

Time-Life Audio, a department formed in 1970 to "produce information and entertainment on audio cassettes for the home" as a subscription service. The first program is "The Executive Voice," produced with the editors of Fortune featuring interviews with business executives about their products and services featured in the news.

Time-Life Records, a subscription service for music series, later known as Time-Life Music.

Seven Arts and Book Find Club, which were book clubs purchased together in 1969 and merged. The name changed to Time Inc. Book Clubs in 1971, and the company dissolved in 1975.

New York Graphic Society (NYGS), publisher of fine art reproductions founded in 1925 by artist Anton Schutz and acquired by Time Inc. in 1966. NYGS owned Alva Museum Replicas and later Museum Collections, Inc. Both were companies that produced art object replicas for retail sale. Little, Brown took over operations of NYGS in 1974. Time Inc. sold NYGS in 1981.

Haverhill, direct marketing firm of high-price gift items, owned by Time Inc. from 1971 to 1975.

Oxmoor House was the direct marketing books subsidiary of Southern Progress Corporation, a company acquired by Time Inc. in 1985.

Citations:

"Heinrich Schutz, 79, Art Dealer and Editor." New York Times, February 23, 2002.

Time Inc. Annual Reports, MS 3009-RG 31, New-York Historical Society.

Time Inc. Reference Files, MS 3009-RG 3, New-York Historical Society.

Time Inc. Subject Files, MS 3009-RG 1, New-York Historical Society.