If, in retrospect, a journalistic enterprise could have preordained its date of birth, we wouldn't have done it any other way. Time Incorporated officially became a business in November, 1922. In March, 1923, "TIME, The Weekly News-Magazine" appeared on the newsstands, editorially designed "to serve the modern necessity of keeping people informed." So these next few months mark the 50th anniversary of the company. A fabulous half century, like no other in history. And today the charter of Time Inc.—to keep people informed—remains the same.
This is an article from the Oct. 2, 1972 issue
TIME was the brainchild of Henry R. Luce and Briton Hadden, both under 25, burning with curiosity, enthusiasm and energy. TIME was an invention—something completely new in journalism—and its success underwrote the development in later years of equally innovative magazines: FORTUNE, LIFE and SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. This month Time Inc. is introducing still another magazine, MONEY. Its publication affirms our belief that the public's need and appetite for news and information has not diminished.
In the half century since its founding, Time Inc. has become a broadly based communications company. Visionaries though they were, neither Luce nor Hadden could have predicted in 1922 the course their company would take. The corporate imprint of Time-Life is now on books, films, newspapers, broadcasting, cable television, recordings, audio and video cassettes, fine-art reproductions, and educational material. Apart from all this "communicating," we are also operating successfully in the fields of paper and paper products, printing materials and services, and marketing data.
So we are 50 years old, and we intend to celebrate. We are planning a series of events for the months ahead—some small and rather personal and sentimental—others on a bigger scale. In all, we hope to reach a lot of people to whom we owe thanks: not only our working colleagues within the company but also the legions of readers and believers who through the years have helped us grow.
Last Monday, in association with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, we had a premier showing of a portion of the BBC-Time-Life Films co-production America: A Personal History of the United States at historic Ford's Theater in Washington. The full series of 13 parts was written and narrated by the noted journalist-broadcaster, Alistair Cooke, and produced by Michael Gill. It will be sponsored by Xerox on the NBC Television Network starting Nov. 14.
Beginning in mid-October at New York's Carnegie Hall, Time Inc. will have the privilege of sponsoring the 1972 U.S. tour of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of London. In the course of 35 concerts, this renowned orchestra will play to audiences from New York City to Provo, Utah, from Corvallis, Ore. to Washington. Prior to its visit to the U.S., the Royal Philharmonic will have presented four gala Time-Life Concerts at Festival Hall in London. Rudolf Kempe is the conductor, assisted by the young American, Lawrence Foster. The tour is under the management of impresario Kazuko Hillyer.
Henry Luce once wrote that journalists should "tell as many of the citizens as possible, as effectively as possible, what the res publicae are and what the rational debate on those subjects is." It is in the spirit of those words that Time Inc.'s publications, utilizing their own unique resources, will this year undertake a study of the U.S. Congress, and ways of restoring that body to co-equal status with the executive branch. At the same time we will hold a series of dinner meetings in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles, at which Senators, Representatives, civic leaders, and scholars will be invited to offer their views. These meetings will lead up to a final dinner in Washington at which a full report will be made to the nation in general and Congress in particular just after Inauguration Day.
In March, Atheneum will publish The World of Time-Life: The Intimate History of a Publishing Enterprise, 1941-1960. It is the second volume of the story of this company, written by Robert T. Elson, and it is our hope that it will be regarded as an indispensable account of a major force in American journalism.
Before 1972 is over, members of the New York staff will celebrate another, more personal, anniversary—the 50th at Time Inc. for Roy E. Larsen, vice chairman of the board, and for many years its president. He was TIME'S first circulation and promotion director, the first publisher of LIFE, and the creator of the famed documentary series of the 1930s and '40s, The March of Time. At 73, Roy Larsen is not only an active member of our board of directors, but continues to contribute to our daily operations with his wisdom and good humor.
Climaxing the golden anniversary observance will be a tribute to the man whose heritage we share. The Smithsonian Institution has elected to establish the Henry R. Luce Hall of News Reporting in the Museum of History and Technology in Washington. To be opened in April, 1973, the Hall will contain the first permanent record of the impact of media on the development of our country. Its displays will range from pre-Revolutionary pamphlets, newspapers and magazines to the most sophisticated of today's news-disseminating techniques, electronic as well as print. It will be a permanent treasure of information for journalists, scholars, students, and visitors to the nation's capital—and a tangible tribute to Luce's exceptional creativity and intellectual curiosity.