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Guide to the Time Inc. Discover Publishing and Business Records: Publisher Bruce Barnet Files
 MS 3009-RG 43

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

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Holly Deakyne

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on February 23, 2021 using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Time, inc.
Title: Time Inc. Discover Publishing and Business Records: Publisher Bruce Barnet Files
Dates [inclusive]: 1980-1987
Abstract: Publisher Bruce Barnet's files document the final review of feasibility of the popular science magazine Discover and its sale.
Quantity: 1.25 Linear feet in 2 record cartons
Location: These materials are stored offsite and advance notice is required for use. Please contact prior to your research visit to coordinate access. Keep in mind that it will take up to (5) business days for collections to arrive, and you should plan your research accordingly.
Language: The documents in the collection are in English.
Call Phrase: MS 3009-RG 43
Sponsor: The processing of the Time Inc. Records was made possible by a generous grant from the Henry Luce Foundation.

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Historical Note

The popular science magazine Discover was created via task force outside of the Magazine Development Group and first published in 1980. Time Inc. sold  Discover to Family Media, Inc. in 1987.

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. Cofounder 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.

Biographical Note

Bruce Barnet was final Circulation Director of Life. He also held positions with Time-Life Films,  Fortune publishing, and the Magazine Development Group (MDG) publishing. After serving in the MDG, the  Discover board appointed him as publisher specifically to "take a hard look at the business potential for the magazine." Ultimately Barnet recommended in a report to the board that Time Inc. sell  Discover. After the 1987 sale, Barnet was promoted to Vice President of Planning for the Magazine Group.

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Scope and Contents

Publisher Bruce Barnet's files document the final review of feasibility of Discover and its sale. The records include reports on finances and circulation, memoranda on options, press releases, crafted question and answers to use after the announcement, and personnel issues.


Organized alphabetically. All files but the Science 86 Acquisition binder were found together. Alphabetical arrangement was imposed.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Barnet, Bruce

Document Type

  • Corporation records
  • Organization files

Subject Organizations

  • Time, inc. -- Archives
  • Time, inc. -- History

Subject Topics

  • Corporations -- History
  • Corporations -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • Publishers and publishing -- New York (State) -- New York.

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Administrative Information


Gift of Time Inc. in 2015.

Conditions Governing Access

Open to qualified researchers with the exception of restricted materials. Restricted materials include contracts, personnel files, and records with personally identifiable information. Restricted materials are located in box R17.

Materials are stored offsite and advance notice is required for use.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopying undertaken by staff only. Limited to 20 exposures of stable, unbound material per day. Application to use images from this collection for publication should be made in writing to: Department of Rights and Reproductions, The New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024-5194, Phone: (212) 873-3400 ext. 282.

Copyrights and other proprietary rights may subsist in individuals and entities other than the New-York Historical Society, in which case the patron is responsible for securing permission from those parties. For fuller information about rights and reproductions from N-YHS visit:

Preferred Citation

This record group should be cited as Time Inc. Discover Publishing and Business Records: Publisher Bruce Barnet Files, MS 3009-RG 43, New-York Historical Society.

Related Materials

This finding aid relates to just one record group of the Time Inc. Records. For information about the other record groups and for overall information about the archives, please see the Guide to the Time Inc. Records (MS 3009). The Henry Luce Papers (MS 3014) were acquired with the Time Inc. Records. The collection of books acquired with the records are cataloged as the Time Inc. Reference Library.

Information about the history of Discover and additional records from the editorial or publishing offices can be found in the Time Inc. Subject Files (MS 3009-RG 1) and the Time Inc. Annex Files (MS 3009-RG 39).

Processing Information

The collection was processed by Holly Deakyne in 2020. The original folders were retained although some documents were transferred to archival containers in instances of overcrowding. Documents were rehoused from one binder and the binder cover was discarded. Arrangement was imposed. Deakyne created the inventory and other descriptive notes to produce this finding aid.

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Container List

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Offsite-Box: 3753 Folder : 1 General
Offsite-Box: R17 General [RESTRICTED]
Offsite-Box: 3753 Folder : 2 Address List
Offsite-Box: 3753 Folder : 3 Ad Sales
Offsite-Box: R17 Asset Purchase Agreement [RESTRICTED]
Offsite-Box: 3753 Folder : 4-5 Board Meetings
Offsite-Box: 3753 Folder : 6 Brack, Reginald Meeting
1987 March 12
Offsite-Box: 3753 Folder : 7-8 Budget
Offsite-Box: 3753 Folder : 9 Final Intent Letter: Family Media
Offsite-Box: R17 Final Intent Letter Family Media [RESTRICTED]
Offsite-Box: 3753 Folder : 12-13 Gunn, Philip
Offsite-Box: R17 Gunn, Philip [RESTRICTED]
Offsite-Box: 3753 Folder : 14 Management Meeting
1987 April 2
Offsite-Box: 3753 Folder : 15 Personnel
Offsite-Box: R17 Personnel [RESTRICTED]
Offsite-Box: 3753 Folder : 16 Post Mortem
Offsite-Box: 3753 Folder : 17 Publicity Plan
Offsite-Box: 3753 Folder : 18 Publishing Review
Offsite-Box: 3753 Folder : 19-20 Re-estimates
Offsite-Box: 3753 Folder : 21-23 Science 86 Acquisition
Offsite-Box: 3753 Folder : 24 Strategic Plan

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