Henry Luce, who was born in Tengchow, China, used to say he wished he’d been born in Oskaloosa, Iowa. “An American can always explain himself satisfactorily by citing where he comes from,” Luce said. He’d have given anything for a home town in the heartland. Oskaloosa is a mining town. Harold Ross, whose father was a miner, was born in Aspen. In 1923, Luce started Time, a magazine meant to “appeal to every man and woman in America.” Two years later, Ross launched The New Yorker, which he described—in a prospectus, in the inaugural issue, and on posters pasted all over New York—as the magazine that is “not edited for the old lady in Dubuque.” Dubuque is just a few hours’ drive from Oskaloosa and, compared with Tengchow, a mere stone’s throw from Ross’s ancestral seat. When Luce and Ross were starting out, their magazines occupied adjoining floors in a building at 25 West Forty-fifth Street, a thousand miles away from anywhere in Iowa. The distance between the editorial offices of Time and The New Yorker, though, was what’s called spitting. After the first issue of The New Yorker came out, Time printed a squib inside an issue whose cover… Read full this story
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