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Guide to the Time Inc. Reference Files
1907-2015 (bulk 1933-2003)
 MS 3009-RG 3

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


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Melanie Rinehart, Samantha Brown, and Holly Deakyne

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

Scope and Contents Note

The Time Inc. Reference Files document the history of Time Inc. corporate divisions, the editing and publishing groups for the major titles, Home Box Office (HBO), and Time-Life Books; corporate decisions; office locations; books about Time Inc. and published by Time Inc.; franchises such as the Sports Illustrated "Swimsuit Issue" and  Time "Person of the Year" (originally "Man of the Year"); personnel decisions, including those during World War II; and several staff organizations. Materials include press releases; handbooks and manuals; runs of employee newsletters and in-house organs relating to the entire company and from various departments and magazines; seventy years of staff-wide memoranda; and staff lists of department heads, correspondents, contributors, and subsidiaries.

Specific areas of interest in this collection include the Department Head Lists, which record the structure of the company and names and titles of top-level staff; and copies of FYI, an internal Time Inc. staff newsletter which discuss department and staffing changes, events and milestones, along with a card index of the contents; the Advertising Copy Acceptance department records from the 1930s to the 1960s regarding its mandate to maintain truth and integrity in the advertisements accepted for publication and documenting the reasons for rejecting an advertisement; and audio from interviews regarding the creation of  Life World Library.

While the Reference Files seem to record the history of Time Inc. in a similar manner to the Time Inc. Subject Files, this record group may have, at one point, been organically created by departments sending copies of informative records to Time Inc.'s "central file." It isn't clear which department had ownership of that file or who was allowed to access it. The creation of Reference Files or the central file may have changed over time.

Arrangement Note

Organized alphabetically based on the original arrangement. Some files may be physically out of order due to use by the Time Inc. Archives. This was not always corrected while processing, but a retroactive attempt was made to reorganize the finding aid.