The Story of Henry Luce and his Publishing Business

On April 3 in the year 1898, one of the famous giants in magazine publishing was born in Shandong, China. His name was Henry Robinson Luce, the co-founder of Time Inc., the mother company of iconic magazines that include Time, Fortune, Life, and Sports Illustrated.

Henry Luce
Henry Luce (Photo Credit:

Henry Luce was one of four children of a Presbyterian missionary. As a college student at Yale University, he became the managing editor of The Yale Daily News. Later, he proceeded to study history at Oxford University. After graduation, he worked as a reporter, starting with Chicago Daily News and then the Baltimore News.

In 1923 at the age of 22, Henry Luce founded Time, Inc. with his talented friend Briton Hadden whom he met during high school. With a starting capital of $86,000, the duo published the first edition of Time magazine, the first weekly magazine in the US. Its focus on personalities as well as its incisive coverage of timely events contributed to make the magazine an important competitor to daily newspapers for the reading public. In 1930, business magazine Fortune was launched. In 1936, it bought Life and re-launched it as a weekly photo-magazine. Life soon became one of the most popular and widely-read magazines of all times. Sports Illustrated was added in 1954.

In 1960, Henry Luce ceded corporate control of Time, Inc. In 1964, he stepped down as editor-in-chief of Time and the other three magazines.

Henry Luce died in 1967 at the age of 68.


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