Harper's Magazine

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Edward Penfield promotional poster for the May 1897 issue

Harper's Magazine (formerly June 1850 – November 1900: Harper's New Monthly Magazine ; December 1900 – May 1939: Harper's Monthly Magazine ) is the second oldest magazine in the United States to be published after Scientific American . It appears monthly.


The first edition was printed in June 1850 by New York City- based book publisher Harper & Brothers. The first edition of 7,500 copies was immediately sold out , and within six months a print run of 50,000 copies was reached.

The first editions consisted largely of texts that had already been published in England , but soon began to publish the works of American artists and authors - including Horace Greeley , Horatio Alger , Stephen A. Douglas , Winslow Homer , Mark Twain , Frederic Remington , Theodore Dreiser , John Muir , Booth Tarkington , Henry James , William Dean Howells and Jack London .

The magazine covered important events of the time such as the publication of Herman Melville's novel Moby-Dick , the laying of the first transatlantic telephone cable, Thomas Edison's latest discoveries, and advances in women's rights .

Woodrow Wilson and Winston Churchill later wrote articles long before they became major politicians. Theodore Roosevelt wrote for Harper's Magazine, as did Henry L. Stimson when he justified the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima . In the 1970s, Harper's Magazine printed journalist Seymour Hersh 's investigative report on the My Lai massacre and dedicated an entire issue to Norman Mailer's The Prisoner of Sex.

In 1962 Harper & Brothers merged with Row, Peterson, & Company to form Harper & Row , in 1990 the name changed to HarperCollins after another merger . The magazine was later spun off into a separate company and became a division of the Minneapolis Star and Tribune Company . In 1980, when the parent company announced that it would stop publishing Harper's Magazine, John R. MacArthur and his father Roderick urged the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Atlantic Richfield Company to set up the Harper's Magazine Foundation, which now publishes the magazine .

In 1971 Lewis H. Lapham became editor-in-chief of Harper's Magazine.

MacArthur had become the Foundation's President and Editor when he and Lapham redesigned Harper's Magazine in 1984.


Retro-digitized Harper's Magazine is freely accessible online in several archives, including Wikimedia Commons and the Internet Archive , albeit with some loopholes. For users residing in Germany , there is a national license for access to the full text of the journal for all years up to and including 2000 Periodicals Archive Online from ProQuest .

Web links

Commons : Harper's Magazine  - collection of images, videos and audio files