On this day in 1967, Henry Luce, perhaps the greatest magazine editor/publisher of the mid-20th century, died in Phoenix. Born to missionary parents in China at the turn of the century, Luce was educated at various English and Chinese boarding schools. At 15, he was sent to the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut, where, crucially, he met Briton Hadden. The two talented, ambitious young men shared a deep interest in journalism.
Luce and Hadden went on to attend Yale, where they both worked on the school paper. After graduating, they were reporters at The Baltimore News by day; at night, they conspired to start their own magazine. In 1923, they published the first issue of Time, sharing business and editorial responsibilities thereafter until Hadden’s sudden death in 1929. Luce then became head of Time Inc. and editor in chief of Time.
Henry Luce created the modern news magazine, and his run of success was staggering. He founded the first serious business magazine, Fortune, in 1930; the most successful photojournalism magazine, Life, in 1934; the first serious sports magazine, Sports Illustrated, in 1954. When he retired as editor in chief in 1964, Time Inc. published 13 editions (weekly or monthly) with a world circulation of 13 million copies an issue. Luce’s company had grown from a one-room enterprise to the world’s largest and most influential magazine publisher … in the 1960s.