Author (Your Name)

Erin Clark, Colby College

Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. History Dept.


Richard J. Moss


The turn of the 20th century in the United States was a time of new phenomena of department stores, urban living, monopolies, and millionaires. It was also the period in which the popular magazine flourished. The technology required for mass production of magazines had become a reality, the per issue cost of most publications had fallen to a reasonable level, the government had lowered postal rates, and readers had recognized the medium as uniquely suited to the discussion of intellectual matters. Magazine subscribers treasured each issue and kept them for extended periods. They were read and re-read, possibly even stored as reference material. Not all magazines were considered equal. One particular set of publications, referred to by Theodore Peterson as "quality magazines," prided themselves on maintaining the highest level of intellectual scholarship and a heightened sensitivity for issues that were important to their select middle-and upper-class readership. The inflated price of these magazines hovered closer to 35 cents than the 10 cent cost of the more plebian magazines, such as McClure's, and resulted in a slightly wealthier, and hence more educated, readership. Four magazines made up the heart of the quality magazine collection and these were Harper's Weekly, Century Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, and Scribner's Magazine.


Americanization -- History, American periodicals -- United States -- History, Journalism -- Social aspects -- United States