Life Magazine

QUESTION:  Which magazine is considered the first to be published in British North American?
A)  Life
B)  American
C)  General
D)  Mad
ANSWER BELOW

Most everyone has heard of Life magazine.  Granted, it has not been consistently in regular distribution for decades now, but it is well regarded, and closely associated with advances in photography.  The first issue was published in 1883 and was geared towards light entertainment. For 53 years, it was a resource for light entertainment and general interest topics. Prominent writers gained national exposure, theater and movie reviews became standard fare, and it developed a loyal clientele.  

In 1936, a man named Henry Luce bought Life from its owners, to include in his growing print empire along with his Time and Fortune magazines, guiding the focus of Life towards superior photography.  A weekly, Time told its stories with images and brief captions.  It became enormously popular and, by World War II, became an incredibly important resource for Americans looking for news on events in Europe and the Pacific.  The iconic image of a U.S. Navy man kissing a woman in Times Square as part of a celebration of VJ-Day (Victory in Japan) graced the pages of Life, as did so many other unforgettable images.  The popularity of the magazine continued through the 1950's (except in Egypt, where Life was permanently banned for reasons never made public) and the '60's.  But, by 1978, sales dropped significantly and the weekly became a monthly.  By 2000, it was officially retired as a subscription magazine, releasing only what Time, Inc. refers to as "megazines," dedicated to events (including the September 11, 2001 attacks) or people (Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash, David Bowie...).  

Life still exists today, but more as an on-line entity run in conjunction with Google.com than as an independent.  Technology both helped to destroy and preserve this American institution. Tune in tomorrow to find out which special musician appears on the cover of an issue displayed in our Music Room.

ANSWER:  B)  American.  It beat Benjamin Franklin's General Magazine to press by exactly three days, back in 1741.  It's all about timing.