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 upscale 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 explored the economy in depth and the world
Sports Illustrated explored the motivations and
strategies of sports teams and key players. 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
1 Early life
6 Further reading
7 External links
Luce was born in Tengchow (now Penglai), Shandong, China, on April 3,
1898, the son of Elizabeth Root Luce and Henry Winters Luce, who was a
Presbyterian missionary. He received his education in various
Chinese and English boarding schools, including the
Mission Chefoo School.
At 15, he was sent to the US to attend the
Hotchkiss School in
Connecticut, where he edited the Hotchkiss Literary Monthly. It was
there he first met Briton Hadden, who would become a lifelong
partner. At the time, Hadden served as editor-in-chief of the school
newspaper, and Luce worked as an assistant managing editor. Both went
Yale College, where Hadden served as chairman and Luce as
managing editor of The
Yale Daily News. Luce was also a member of
Alpha Delta Phi
Alpha Delta Phi and Skull and Bones. After being voted "most
brilliant" of his class and graduating in 1920, he parted ways with
Hadden to embark for a year on historical studies at Oxford
University, followed by a stint as a cub reporter for the Chicago
In December 1921, Luce rejoined Hadden to work at The Baltimore News.
Recalling his relationship with Hadden, Luce later said, "Somehow,
despite the greatest differences in temperaments and even in
interests, we had to work together. We were an organization. At the
center of our lives — our job, our function — at that point
everything we had belonged to each other."
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. Having raised $86,000 of a $100,000
goal, they published the first issue of Time on March 3, 1923. Luce
served as business manager while Hadden was editor-in-chief. Luce and
Hadden annually alternated year-to-year the titles of president and
secretary-treasurer while Johnson served as vice president and
advertising director. In 1925, Luce decided to move headquarters to
Cleveland, while Hadden was on a trip to Europe.
cheaper, and Luce’s first wife, Lila, wanted out of New York. When
Hadden returned, he was horrified and moved Time back to New York.
Upon Hadden's sudden death in 1929, Luce assumed Hadden's position.
Luce launched the business magazine Fortune in February 1930 and
acquired Life in order to relaunch it as a weekly magazine of
photojournalism in November 1936; he went on to launch House &
Home in 1952 and
Sports Illustrated in 1954. He also produced The
March of Time weekly newsreel. By the mid 1960s,
Time Inc. was the
largest and most prestigious magazine publisher in the world. (Dwight
Macdonald, a Fortune staffer during the 1930s, referred to him as "Il
Luce", a play on the Italian Dictator Mussolini, who was called "Il
President Franklin D. Roosevelt, aware that most publishers were
opposed to him, issued a decree in 1943 that blocked all publishers
and media executives from visits to combat areas; he put General
George Marshall in charge of enforcement. The main
target was Luce, who had long opposed Roosevelt. Historian Alan
Brinkley argued the move was "badly mistaken" and said had Luce been
allowed to travel, he would have been an enthusiastic cheerleader for
American forces around the globe. However, stranded
in New York City, Luce's frustration and anger expressed itself in
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 Republican
Party. An instrumental figure behind the so-called "
he played a large role in steering American foreign policy and popular
sentiment in favor of
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
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
An ardent anti-Soviet, he once demanded John Kennedy invade Cuba,
later to remark to his editors that if he did not, his corporation
would act like Hearst during the Spanish–American War. The publisher
would advance his concepts of US dominance of the "American Century"
through his periodicals with the ideals shared and guided by members
of his social circle, John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State and his
brother, director of the CIA, Allen Dulles.
Luce Memorial Chapel, Tunghai University, Taiwan.
Luce met his first wife, Lila Hotz, while he was studying at
1919. They married in 1923 and had two children, Peter Paul and
Henry Luce III, before divorcing in 1935. In 1935 he married his
second wife, Clare Boothe Luce, who had an 11-year-old daughter, Ann
Clare Brokaw, whom he raised as his own. 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. During his life, Luce supported many philanthropies
such as Save the Children Federation, the Metropolitan Museum of Art
and United Service to China, Inc. He is interred at Mepkin Plantation
in South Carolina.
He was honored by the
United States Postal Service
United States Postal Service with a 32¢ Great
Americans series (1980–2000) postage stamp. Mr. Luce was
inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in
Designed by I. M. Pei, the Luce Memorial Chapel, on the campus of
Tunghai University, Taiwan, was constructed in memoriam of Henry
^ Robert Edwin Herzstein (2005). Henry R. Luce, Time, and the American
Crusade in Asia. Cambridge U.P. p. 1.
^ Editorial (1941-02-17) The American Century, Life Magazine
^ a b c
Baughman, James L. (April 28, 2004). "Henry R. Luce and the
Rise of the American News Media". American Masters (PBS). Retrieved 19
^ Warburton, Albert (Winter 1962). "Robert L. Johnson Hall Dedicated
at Temple University" (PDF). The Emerald of Sigma Pi. Vol. 48
no. 4. p. 111.
^ Alan Brinkley, The Publisher:
Henry Luce and his American Century
(2010) pp 302-3
^ Brinkley, The Publisher:
Henry Luce and his
American Century (2010)
^ a b "Henry R. Luce: End of a Pilgrimage". - TIME. - March 10, 1967
^ "Time magazine historical search". Time magazine. Archived from the
original on 30 June 2012. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
^ Maisto, Stephen A., Galizio, Mark, & Connors, Gerald J. (2008).
Drug Use and Abuse: Fifth Edition. Belmont: Thomson Higher Education.
^ a b c Ravo, Nick (April 3, 1999). "Lila Luce Tyng, 100, First Wife
of Henry R. Luce". The New York Times. Retrieved January 16,
^ Edwin Diamond (October 23, 1972). "Why the Power Vacuum at Time Inc.
Continues". New York Magazine.
^ "Henry R. Luce". US Stamp Gallery. April 3, 1998.
Baughman, James L. "Henry R. Luce and the Business of Journalism."
Business & Economic History On-Line 9 (2011). online
Baughman, James L. Henry R. Luce and the Rise of the American News
Media (2001) excerpt and text search
Brinkley, Alan. The Publisher:
Henry Luce and His American Century,
Alfred A. Knopf (2010) 531 pp.
"A Magazine Master Builder" 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) excerpt and text search
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
Herzstein, Robert E. Henry R. Luce, Time, and the American Crusade in
Asia (2006) excerpt and text search
Herzstein, Robert E. Henry R. Luce: A Political Portrait of the Man
Who Created the
American Century (1994).
Morris, Sylvia Jukes. Rage for Fame: The Ascent of Clare Boothe Luce
Wilner, Isaiah. The Man Time Forgot: A Tale of Genius, Betrayal, and
the Creation of Time Magazine, HarperCollins, New York, 2006
Henry Luce Foundation
Luce Center for American Art at the Brooklyn Museum - Visible Storage
and Study Center
Whitman, Alden. "Henry R. Luce, Creator of Time–Life Magazine
Empire, Dies in Phoenix at 68", The New York Times, March 1, 1967.
PBS American Masters
Henry Luce at Find a Grave
Henry Luce at NNDB
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