In 1731, the first modern magazine, The Gentleman’s Magazine, was published in England. Edward Cave, editor of the magazine, coined the term “magazine” from the Arabic word makhazin, which meant storehouse. The magazine contained essays, poems, stories, and political commentary, so it was indeed a storehouse of knowledge and information.
Benjamin Franklin planned to publish the first American magazine, General Magazine, in 1741. However, Andrew Bedford beat him to it by publishing The American Magazine three days earlier. The magazine, which lasted for only three months, covered the activities of colonial America. The first women’s magazine, The Lady’s Magazine, was published in 1770. The magazine featured embroidery patterns as well as literary stories and fashion advice.
In 1845, publisher Rufus M. Porter created Scientific American, a weekly magazine highlighting new patents, inventions, and theories. When the magazine’s readership declined after World War II, three partners who were planning to start a new science magazine bought the assets for Scientific American and merged the two magazines together. As a result, Scientific American is now the oldest continually operating magazine in the United States.
National Geographic was published in 1899, and soon became famous for its awe-inspiring color photographs. Reader’s Digest was created in 1922, and is now loved for its cultural commentary and enriching stories. The first weekly news magazine, TIME, began in 1923. Today, it is one of the most famous and well-respected magazines in the United States. The first magazine for adolescents, Seventeen, was founded in 1944. TV Guide, now famous for its listings of popular shows, began in 1953.
While magazines initially covered broad topics, they began focusing more on niche audiences as time went on. The invention of Rolling Stone in 1967 proved that special interest magazines could become incredibly successful. Today, magazines are read by millions of people around the globe. They continue to live up to their meaning by being wonderful storehouses of information.