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Life (magazine)

American magazine / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Life was an American magazine published weekly from 1883 to 1972, as an intermittent "special" until 1978, and as a monthly from 1978 until 2000. During its golden age from 1936 to 1972, Life was a wide-ranging weekly general-interest magazine known for the quality of its photography, and was one of the most popular magazines in the nation, regularly reaching one-quarter of the population.[1]

Quick facts: Editor, Former editors, Categories, Frequency...
A cover of the earlier Life magazine from 1911
EditorGeorge Cary Eggleston
Former editorsRobert E. Sherwood
CategoriesHumor, general interest
PublisherClair Maxwell (1921–1942)
Total circulation
First issueJanuary 4, 1883; 140 years ago (1883-01-04)
Final issue2000 (2000)
CountryUnited States
Based inNew York City, New York, U.S.
LanguageEnglish Edit this at Wikidata

Life was independently published for its first 53 years until 1936 as a general-interest and light entertainment magazine, heavy on illustrations, jokes, and social commentary. It featured some of the most notable writers, editors, illustrators and cartoonists of its time: Charles Dana Gibson, Norman Rockwell and Jacob Hartman Jr. Gibson became the editor and owner of the magazine after John Ames Mitchell died in 1918. During its later years, the magazine offered brief capsule reviews (similar to those in The New Yorker) of plays and movies currently running in New York City, but with the innovative touch of a colored typographic bullet resembling a traffic light, appended to each review: green for a positive review, red for a negative one, and amber for mixed notices.

In 1936, Time publisher Henry Luce bought Life, only wanting its title: he greatly re-made the publication. Life (now stylized in all caps) became the first all-photographic American news magazine, and it dominated the market for several decades, with a circulation of more than 13.5 million copies a week at one point. Possibly the best-known image published in the magazine was Alfred Eisenstaedt's photograph of a nurse in a sailor's arms, taken on August 14, 1945 during a VJ-Day celebration in New York's Times Square. The magazine's role in the history of photojournalism is considered its most important contribution to publishing. Its profile was such that the memoirs of President Harry S. Truman, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and General Douglas MacArthur were all serialized in its pages.

After 2000, Time Inc. continued to use the Life brand for special and commemorative issues. Life returned to regularly scheduled issues when it became a weekly newspaper supplement from 2004 to 2007.[2] The website, originally one of the channels on Time Inc.'s Pathfinder service, was for a time in the late 2000s managed as a joint venture with Getty Images under the name See Your World, LLC.[3] On January 30, 2012, the URL became a photo channel on[clarification needed][2][4]