Henry Luce


Henry Robinson Luce (April 3, 1898 – February 28, 1967) was an American magazine magnate who was called "the most influential private citizen in the America of his day". He launched and closely supervised a stable of magazines that transformed journalism and the reading habits of millions of Americans. ''Time'' summarized and interpreted the week's news; ''Life'' was a picture magazine of politics, culture, and society that dominated American visual perceptions in the era before television; ''Fortune'' reported on national and international business; and ''
Sports Illustrated ''Sports Illustrated'' (''SI'') is an American sports Sport pertains to any form of competitive Competition arises whenever two or more parties strive for a common goal A goal is an idea of the future or desired result that a pe ...
'' explored the world of sports. Counting his radio projects and newsreels, Luce created the first multimedia corporation. He envisaged that the United States would achieve world hegemony, and, in 1941, he declared the 20th century would be the "
American Century The American Century is a characterization of the period since the middle of the 20th century as being largely dominated by the United States in political, economic, and cultural terms. It is comparable to the description of the period 1815–1914 ...

Early life

Luce was born in Tengchow (now Penglai),
Shandong Shandong (; alternately romanized as Shantung) is a coastal province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnati ...

China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.4 billion. Covering approximately 9.6& ...
, on April 3, 1898, the son of Elizabeth Root Luce and
Henry Winters Luce Henry Winters Luce (1868 in Scranton, Pennsylvania - 1941) was an American missionary and educator in China. He was the father of the publisher Henry R. Luce. Biography Henry W. Luce graduated from Yale University in 1892. After graduation, he st ...
, who was a
Presbyterian Presbyterianism is a part of the Reformed tradition Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Christianity, Reformed Protestantism, or the Reformed faith) is a major branch of Protestantism that follows the theological tr ...


At 15, he was sent to the US to attend the
Hotchkiss School The Hotchkiss School is a coeducational preparatory school in Lakeville, Connecticut, United States. Hotchkiss is a member of the Eight Schools Association and Ten Schools Admissions Organization.It is also a former member of the G30 Schools grou ...
Connecticut Connecticut () is the southernmost state in the New England New England is a region comprising six states in the Northeastern United States: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. It is bordered by ...
, where he edited the ''Hotchkiss Literary Monthly''. There, he first met
Briton Hadden Briton Hadden (February 18, 1898 – February 27, 1929) was the co-founder of ''Time (magazine), Time'' magazine with his Yale University, Yale classmate Henry Luce. He was ''Time''s first editor and the inventor of its revolutionary writing st ...

Briton Hadden


Nightly discussions of the concept of a news magazine led Luce and Hadden, both age 23, to quit their jobs in 1922. Later that same year, they partnered with Robert Livingston Johnson and another Yale classmate to form Time Inc. Stranded in New York City, Luce's frustration and anger expressed themselves in blatant partisanship. Luce, supported by Editor-in-Chief T. S. Matthews, appointed Whittaker Chambers as acting Foreign News editor in 1944, despite the feuds that Chambers had with reporters in the field. Luce, who remained editor-in-chief of all his publications until 1964, maintained a position as an influential member of the History of the United States Republican Party, Republican Party."Henry R. Luce: End of a Pilgrimage"
''Time (magazine), Time''. March 10, 1967
An instrumental figure behind the so-called "China Lobby", he played a large role in steering American foreign policy and popular sentiment in favor of Kuomintang leader Chiang Kai-shek and his wife, Soong Mei-ling, in their war against the Japanese. (The Chiangs appeared in the cover of ''Time'' eleven times between 1927 and 1955.) It has been reported that Luce, during the 1960s, tried LSD and reported that he had talked to God under its influence. Once ambitious to become Secretary of State in a Republican administration, Luce penned a famous article in ''Life'' magazine in 1941, called "The American Century", which defined the role of American foreign policy for the remainder of the 20th century (and perhaps beyond). He died in Phoenix, Arizona in 1967. At his death, he was said to be worth $100 million in Time Inc. stock. Most of his fortune went to the Henry Luce Foundation, where his son Henry III served as chairman and chief executive for many years.


Image:THU Luce Memorial Chapel.jpg, Luce Memorial Chapel at Tunghai University in Taiwan Luce met his first wife, Lila Hotz, while he was studying at Yale in 1919. They married in 1923 and had two children, Peter Paul and Henry Luce III, before divorcing in 1935.


He was honored by the United States Postal Service with a 32¢ Great Americans series (1980–2000) postage stamp. Luce was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame.


Further reading

* Baughman, James L. "Henry R. Luce and the Business of Journalism." ''Business & Economic History On-Line'' 9 (2011)
* Baughman, James L. ''Henry R. Luce and the Rise of the American News Media'' (2001
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* Brinkley, Alan. ''The Publisher: Henry Luce and His American Century'', Alfred A. Knopf (2010) 531 pp. *

Book review by Janet Maslin, ''The New York Times'', April 19, 2010 * Brinkley, Alan. ''What Would Henry Luce Make of the Digital Age?'', ''Time'' (April 19, 2010
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* Elson, Robert T. ''Time Inc: The Intimate History of a Publishing Enterprise, 1923–1941'' (1968); vol. 2: ''The World of Time Inc.: The Intimate History, 1941–1960'' (1973), official corporate history * Garside, B. A. ''Within the Four Seas'', Frederic C. Beil, New York, 1985. * Herzstein, Robert E. ''Henry R. Luce, Time, and the American Crusade in Asia'' (2006
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* Herzstein, Robert E. ''Henry R. Luce: A Political Portrait of the Man Who Created the American Century'' (1994). * Sylvia Jukes Morris, Morris, Sylvia Jukes. ''Rage for Fame: The Ascent of Clare Boothe Luce'' (1997). * W.A. Swanberg, Swanberg, W. A., ''Luce and His Empire'', Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1972. * Wilner, Isaiah. ''The Man Time Forgot: A Tale of Genius, Betrayal, and the Creation of Time Magazine'', HarperCollins, New York, 2006

External links

John Foster Dulles and Clare Boothe Luce link (pdf format)

The Henry Luce Foundation

Luce Center for American Art at the Brooklyn Museum – Visible Storage and Study Center
* Whitman, Alden

''The New York Times'', March 1, 1967.

Henry R. Luce Papers
at th
New-York Historical Society
{{DEFAULTSORT:Luce, Henry 1898 births 1967 deaths alumni of the University of Oxford American anti-communists American magazine founders American magazine publishers (people) American mass media owners American Presbyterians businesspeople from Yantai children of American missionaries in China Connecticut Republicans Hotchkiss School alumni New Right (United States) people from Penglai, Shandong people from Ridgefield, Connecticut Skull and Bones Society Time (magazine) people Yale University alumni