Archive for January, 2022


“This Magazine Idea Will Never Work… And Other Myths…” Reader’s Digest At 100. A Mr. Magazine™ Musing.

January 28, 2022

After more than two years of hearing that his magazine idea The Reader’s Digest will never work, DeWitt Wallace, with the help of his wife Lila Bell Acheson, launched the magazine in February 1922. Today the magazine is celebrating its centennial year with the February 2022 issue… and as Paul Harvey used to say, “and now you know the rest of the story.” Enjoy

A replica of the February 1922 issue of Reader’s Digest that was produced in 1972 to celebrate the magazine’s 50th anniversary. From the Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni magazine collection.

Reader’s Digest is 100, or should I say The Reader’s Digest is 100.  In reality, The Reader’s Digest is 102 years old.  The founder, DeWitt Wallace produced his first issue in January of 1920 and shopped it around with all the major magazine publishers in New York City.  The response was, with no exception, this magazine will never work.  

The mission of The Reader’s Digest, as he called it back then, was summed up on the cover of the magazine and in his very first editorial.  On the cover of the January 1920 issue the concept of the magazine was stated clearly:  

“31 articles each month from leading magazines.  Each article of enduring value and interest. In condensed and permanent form.”

A replica of the January 1920 issue of Reader’s Digest that was produced in 1972 to celebrate the magazine’s 50th anniversary. From the Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni magazine collection.

The manifesto of the magazine was published on the very first page of the magazine.  It read:

The Reader’s Digest:

  1. The easiest way in which to learn something really worth while every day.
  2. Because of its “boiled down” interest and pocket size – the most practical and pleasant means of utilizing old moments.
  3. The one magazine containing articles only of such permanent and popular interest that each issue will be of a great value a year or two hence, as on the date of its publication.
  4. The Magazine of 100% Educational Interest – no fiction, no advertisements, no articles on purely transient topics and no articles of limited or specialized appeal.
  5. The Reader’s Digest in condensing its articles, eliminates the unessential and less interesting “filler” which is found in many magazine articles—often simply that reading matter may accompany the advertisements.
  6. The one magazine that is preeminently worth keeping—and binding—for future reference and enjoyment. If it is desired to remove any article, this is an easy matter, there being but one article on a page.
  7. The biggest magazine value – regardless of price – on the market. You find one or two articles, perhaps, of enduring interest in the ordinary magazine.  The Reader’s Digest contains 31 such articles in each issue – “one a day” – each one a “feature” article digested from some periodical.
  8. The Reader’s Digest believes that a thing really worth reading is worth remembering – which is possible in most cases only if the article is kept for occasional reference in the future.  For this purpose, the numbered sub-heads at the beginning of the articles will be found helpful.  Many of the “popular” magazines are too bulky to preserve – and not worth it for the little good matter which they contain.

Needless to say, all the aforementioned reasons to why The Reader’s Digest is a good proposed magazine, did not convince the major publishing houses in New York City to give it the green light.  Disappointed, DeWitt Wallace decided to give up his idea and shelved the January 1920 issue of the magazine.

In 1921 he married Lila Bell Acheson, a sister of one of his college classmates, and she happened, as the story goes, to see the copy of The Reader’s Digest DeWitt produced.  She loved the idea and convinced her newly married husband to publish the magazine on their own with some financial help from her brother.  The first regularly published issue of The Reader’s Digest came out in February 1922.  A new tag line was added to the magazine, “The Little Magazine.” 

Instead of DeWitt Wallace as Editor alone, the masthead carried four names as editors in the following order:  Lila Bell Acheson, DeWitt Wallace, Louise M. Patterson, and Hazel J. Cubberley.  The issue carried an editorial signed by Lila Bell Acheson in which she showed her skills of condensing the eight points DeWitt Wallace wrote in that preview issue to only four points.  She wrote under the heading A Word of Thanks:

“The Reader’s Digest has been made possible by you, and by other charter subscribers who have responded during the past four months to a letter telling of our proposed plan.

            In behalf, not only of ourselves, but of all those who have felt that the fulfillment of our plan would fill a very general need, we thank you.  Without your advance support – and that of other charter subscribers – this magazine could not have materialized.

            We believe you will find The Reader’s Digest of even greater value and interest than you had anticipated. These features will no doubt appeal particularly:

  1. Thirty-one articles each month – “one a day” – condensed from leading periodicals.
  2. Each article of enduring value and interest – today, next month, or a year hence; such articles as one talks about and wishes to remember.
  3. Compact form; easy to carry in the pocket and to keep for permanent reference.
  4. A most convenient means of “keeping one’s information account open” – of reading stimulating articles on a wide variety of subject.

In 1972, The Reader’s Digest, in celebration of its 50th anniversary reprinted both first issues of the magazine and housed them in a nice blue box with gold ink touting The First Of Fifty Years.   Today Reader’s Digest celebrates its Centennial Issue celebrating the “first of 100 years” with many more to come.

I guess the moto of this story is when someone tells you this idea will never work, take that as a good sign that this idea will not only work, but it work very well indeed.

The Centennial issue of Reader’s Digest Feb. 1922

Congratulations Reader’s Digest and here’s to the next 100 years.


“Cover Testing” Is Nothing New In The Magazine Media World… A Mr. Magazine™ Musing

January 24, 2022

In the 1990s I wrote a column for Folio: magazine entitled Double Vision: The Split Covers Trend. Little I knew then, that the split cover trend was anything but new at that time. I was reminded of my column when I saw Woman’s Day utilizing a split cover with its most recent issue.

For its Jan/Feb issue the magazine utilized a split cover. One with the traditional nameplate and the other with a very small Woman’s Day and a big Celebrate nameplate. In addition, a skyline cover line is missing from one of the two covers. Take a look:

But, as I mentioned earlier, cover testing I found out, is nothing new. Digging through my magazine collection I found two examples dating as far back as 1955 and 1963 respectively. Good Times, the Samuel Roth magazine, tested two different cover pictures with the same cover line, while Sexology magazine tested a new name Personal with the exact same cover lines. Take a look:

In short, there is nothing new under the sun when it comes to magazines and magazine media. What’s new is the ability to dig through the treasure of those printed magazines and show case them to help preserve the past, present and future of the magazine media (more on that at a later date).

As always, I welcome any comments, corrections, additions to this blog entry or any other blog entires on the Mr. Magazine’s™ blog or website. Until the next entry, go buy a magazine or two and enjoy the experience that only magazines can provide. All the best,

Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni, Ph.D.


Reader’s Digest, The Ring, Better Homes & Gardens, Harvard Business Review & The Magazine Antiques Join The Magazine Media Centennial Club. A Mr. Magazine™ Musing

January 17, 2022

Celebrating The Magazine Media Centennial Club… Mr. Magazine™ Identifies 54 Magazine Media Brands That Are Now 100 Years or Older.

How many media brands you know of are celebrating at least one hundred years of existence? Four magazines join the magazine media centennial club this year: Reader’s Digest (started Feb. 1922), The Ring and The Magazine Antiques that were also started in January of 1922, and Better Homes & Gardens which started as Fruit, Garden And Home in July 1922, and Harvard Business Review that celebrates its centennial in October of this year.

I have compiled a list of 54 magazine media brands that are at least 100 years old. Some are even 200 years plus. To be included in my list the magazine must still be published in print and is still available for the general public to subscribe to it or to buy it on the newsstands. All the magazines listed are United States of American based and published magazines.

Here is what I call the Magazine Media Centennial Club in alphabetical order:

Magazine Name Year It Was Founded

  1. American Cinematographer 1920
  2. American Legion 1919
  3. Architectural Digest 1920
  4. Barron’s 1921
  5. Bed Times 1917
  6. Better Homes & Gardens 1922
  7. Billboard 1894
  8. Bowlers Journal International 1913
  9. Cosmopolitan 1886
  10. Farm Journal 1877
  11. Forbes 1917
  12. Good Housekeeping 1885
  13. Harper’s 1850
  14. Harper’s Bazaar 1867
  15. Harvard Business Review 1922
  16. House Beautiful 1896
  17. National Defense 1920
  18. National Geographic 1888
  19. New Jersey League of Municipalities 1917
  20. Philadelphia magazine 1908
  21. Popular Mechanics 1902
  22. Popular Science 1872
  23. Progressive Farmer 1866
  24. Reader’s Digest 1922
  25. San Diego magazine 1886
  26. Scholastic 1920
  27. Scientific American 1845
  28. Signs of the Times 1874
  29. Scout Life (Boys Life) 1911
  30. Scouting 1913
  31. Success 1897
  32. Successful Farming 1902
  33. Sunset 1898
  34. The Atlantic 1857
  35. The Crisis 1910
  36. The Furrow 1895
  37. The Magazine Antiques 1922
  38. The Nation 1865
  39. The New Republic 1914
  40. The New York Times Magazine 1896
  41. The Old Farmer’s Almanac 1792
  42. The Progressive 1909
  43. The Ring 1922
  44. The Rotarian 1911
  45. The Saturday Evening Post 1821
  46. The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 1893
  47. The Watchtower 1879
  48. Town & Country 1846
  49. Vanity Fair 1913
  50. Variety 1905
  51. Vogue 1892
  52. Westways 1909
  53. Writer’s Digest 1920
  54. Yachting 1907

I welcome any additions, notes, or corrections regarding my attempt to document the Magazine Media Centennial Club. Feel free to email me at Last update Jan. 28, 2022

Until next time, join me wishing Reader’s Digest, The Ring, The Magazine Antiques, Harvard Business Review, and Better Homes & Gardens a happy 100th birthday and Success magazine a happy 125th birthday. Onward and forward.

Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni, Ph.D.


A Magazine Is Worth 1,000 Websites: A Mr. Magazine™ Celebration Of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Memorial Day. From The Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni Magazine Collection.

January 16, 2022
Jet magazine. Issues from 1953 to 1969. From the collection of Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni

Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2022 will be observed on Monday, Jan. 17. As a magazine person, the only way I know how to celebrate any event, holiday, birthday, is through going into my boxes of magazines and finding reasons to celebrate. MLK’s birthday is no exception. I am working on my collection of pocket magazines of the 40s, 50s, and 60s of the last century. Pocket magazines are the little tiny magazines (4×6) that were inspired by the mini devotional magazines like Daily Word and The Upper Room and were made popular by Fleur Cowles who helped launch Quick magazine in 1949. More than 70 other titles followed Quick, including but not limited to Jet, Tempo, Focus, Picture Week, and many others.

For this blog I searched my collection of pocket magazines and decided to showcase my collection of African American pocket magazines and the magazines that carried African Americans on their covers back in the 40s, 50s, and 60s of the last century. It should be noted that Quick magazine (1949 – 1953) carried 10 covers from its 200+ covers with African American on their front page.

Quick magazine (1949 -1953). The African American Covers. From the collection of Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni.

Join me on a pictorial journey in time as we look at those covers and keep in mind if it is not ink on paper, it is not a magazine.

The Negro Review, then the New Review 1954. From the collection of Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni
The variety of African American magazines that were published in the 50s. From the collection of Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni.
A Pocket Celebrity Scrapbook magazine celebrating Nat King Cole and Lena Horne. From the collection of Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni.
Tempo magazine’s solo African American cover in my collection. Tempo was launched June 8, 1953 that was launched right after Quick stopped publishing on June 1, 1953. From the collection of Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni.

Until the next blog, be sure to head to a newsstand near you and pick up a magazine or two. You will be living and holding history in your hands, one magazine at a time. All the best…

Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni, Ph.D.


Link2Us Magazine: The Intersection Of Faith And Popular Culture: The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Editor-in-Chief Judith Manigault.

January 12, 2022

“Although we have an online presence (and our culture does thrive on the immediacy of online engagement), there’s nothing like the print experience: sitting down with a great magazine and being transported via images, various stories, and content that teaches and inspires. Print is altogether a different thing – an actual real experience.” Judith Manigault, Editor-in-Chief, Link2Us.

Link2Us Premiere Issue Winter 2022

“At the intersection of faith and popular culture lies Link2Us, a new lifestyle publication providing readers with a blueprint for living their best and most authentic lives. The new magazine delivers fresh and engaging content, including health and wellness news, finance tips, style trends and more, with faith and inspiration at its core,” so says the press release for the last new magazine launch of 2021.  The first issue of the magazine arrived late in December at the nation’s bookstores featuring cover star and ABC’s The Bachelor alum, Madison Prewett. 

The digital entity was launched in 2019 and migrated from the womb of digital to the reality world of ink on paper.  I had the opportunity to chat with Editor-in-Chief, Judith Manigault “who birthed the magazine’s concept while on a quest to find faith-based content that spoke to the issues of everyday life in a contemporary and relevant way.”  Judith noticed a lack in print offerings that filled this faith-based contend, and decided to do something about it.

And thus, Link2Us was born. Please enjoy this conversation with Judith Manigault, founder and editor-in-chief, Link2Us.

Judith Manigault, founder and editor in chief, Link2Us magazine

Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni:  Congratulations on the launch of Link2Us newsstands’ debut. Can you please tell me about the idea behind the magazine and why did you decide to launch it in print on the newsstands now?

Judith Manigault : As a new publication, we fill a most overlooked niche: a culture hub for the 70% of adult Americans who consider themselves Christians. Historically, faith-based publications have centered their reach on ALL things spiritual but overlook prominent themes covered in mainstream outlets: note-worthy inspirational personalities, entertainment, food, fashion, travel, and more.

A few years ago, I noticed this missing link as I combed through an airport newsstand. Not one magazine bridged the gap between a world of faith and inspiration (which we all need now more than ever) and the everyday lifestyle topics that make our world a more vibrant place. So, we went to work and created a beautiful hybrid we believe millions will enjoy.

Although we have an online presence (and our culture does thrive on the immediacy of online engagement), there’s nothing like the print experience: sitting down with a great magazine and being transported via images, various stories, and content that teaches and inspires. Print is altogether a different thing – an actual real experience. It has the power to slow us down, make us pause, pay attention—and so we thought, what better time to engage the culture with a physical magazine? 

S.H.: The brand was founded in 2019. How did it evolve and what was the most challenging aspect of creating this brand?

J.M.: Well, the evolution of the brand was relatively seamless. We listened to our readers, expanded on what worked, and took the limits off of what is generally considered faith-based content. We meet the reader where they are and bring a fresh perspective to the conversation. You’d be surprised at how many folks search for a better way of thinking, being, and doing life.

S.H.: What was the most pleasant moment during this experience?

J.M.: As a promotional tactic, we asked our readers around the country to find us at their local Barnes & Nobles, Books-A-Million, and airports. Their posts and videos have been fantastic. Knowing that we have made the leap, and they can now find us across the U.S. – from California to NYC (and now Canada) – is exhilarating!

S.H.: What is the role of print in a digital age, and where does the print edition of Link2Us fit in the brand formula?

J.M.: Print is a media format that will continue to thrive as long as people have stories to tell. Readers everywhere still love to curl up with their favorite book at home, or bring their daily newspaper to their local coffee shop for a skim. Turning the pages to see what’s next (in a story, or what’s next in fashion, for example) is still incredibly exciting. Learning about the next trend or finding inspiration for the weeks ahead, especially at this particular time in our lives, is a basic human need and Link2Us is here to meet it.

S.H.: Your tagline is Link2Us and be inspired… and your motto is Next Level Faith… Can you please expand?

J.M.: “Link2Us and be inspired” was simply a way to convey our mission to inspire the masses. “Next level faith” grapples with how we see ourselves as people of faith in the world, and challenges our readers to reach new heights and create a life of faith that is more dynamic, appealing, and compelling.

S.H.: Is there anything else you’d like to add.

J.M.: While we are living in times marked by cultural, political, and social divides, the reality is that we do need each other to survive. It is my hope that Link2Us will serve as a common ground, where conversations revolve around the things that connect us, and not what separates us.

S.H.: My typical last question is what keeps you up at night?

J.M.: Believe it or not, that would be expansion. For us, the ability to talk to and reach a broader audience is of utmost importance. Launching at retail is a major step in connecting with the masses, and we are thrilled. 

S.H.: Congratulations again and thank you.


Ranger Rick Jr. Magazine: Celebrating Ten Years Of Magic Only Print Can Provide. The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Lori Collins, Editor in Chief.

January 6, 2022

“So, with our birthday edition, we’re trying to blur the lines between print and digital rather than to make them choose between them. Our hope is that kids will find it a richer, more engaging experience than any single medium can provide.” Lori Collins, EIC, Ranger Rick Jr. magazine

Ranger Rick Jr., the magazine published by the National Wildlife Federation, is  celebrating its 10thanniversary this year. To commemorate this milestone, NWF is making the February 2022 issue of the magazine a special birthday edition of the magazine.  

Ranger Rick Jr. has its origins in Your Big Backyard magazine that was established in 1979 before becoming Ranger Rick Jr. ten years ago. The magazine now shares a host of publications from the NWF from its older sibling Ranger Rick (aimed at children ages 7 + ) and younger sibling  Ranger Rick Cub (aimed at children ages 0 -4) and Zoobooks.

I reached out to Lori Collins, editor in chief of the Early Childhood Publications at the National Wildlife Federation, and asked her seven questions regarding the tenth anniversary of Ranger Rick Jr.  My questions and her answers follow:

Lori Collins, Editor in Chief, Ranger Rick Jr.

Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni: Ten years ago you launched RR Jr. in the height of the digital revolution.  Why did you decide to do that and what role does print play in this digital age when it comes to the younger generation?

Lori Collins: Both kids and adults love technology, no question about it. They like the bells and whistles. But kids, especially young ones, love the simple magic only a print product can provide. Our readers look forward to getting mail each month that is not only addressed to them, but also made just for them. It makes them feel special.

More importantly, young children like the quiet time they spend curled up with a parent, mostly at bedtime, going through the pages, looking at the pictures and reading the stories. Most parents cherish those hours with their child as well. 

S.H.:Now that the magazine is ten, what’s in store for the tenth anniversary?

L.C.: When I realized Ranger Rick Jr. was turning 10, I wanted to do something special to mark the occasion. Most importantly, I wanted whatever we chose to do to be fun for our readers. Ultimately, we took a two-pronged approach:

— For the first time ever, we included a sheet of stickers in the magazine. But the stickers aren’t meant to be decorative. Kids are asked to use them to complete features scattered throughout the issue. It’s designed for those kids that are very tactile. The activity will be fun, but it is also designed to reinforce the learning.

—Second, in addition to all the usual content you’ll find in an issue of Ranger Rick Jr. magazine, we’ve included a digital scavenger hunt. When children find and scan any of the ten birthday QR codes we’ve hidden among the pages, they’ll be taken to special web pages that feature unique, bite-sized digital activities related to content in the February issue. The only way to get to any of this online fun is through the print magazine.

S.H.: It seems that you are going beyond the content providing into the experience making, can you elaborate?

I don’t think kids make distinctions between print or digital in the same way that some adults do. Kids just want things to do—regardless of platform—that are designed specifically for them and that are fun. So, with our birthday edition, we’re trying to blur the lines between print and digital rather than to make them choose between them. Our hope is that kids will find it a richer, more engaging experience than any single medium can provide.

S.H.: How are you reaching your audience?  The traditional direct marketing pieces, online, email, etc…

L.C.: Like every publisher, our marketing team relies on multiple methods—direct mail, online ads, email blasts— to get new subscribers. It’s surprising to me—and a little disappointing given the costs—but direct mail still brings in the bulk of our orders.

Nine years ago, I was approached by the founder of the Prekindergarten Reading Encouragement Project (PREP) in Wilmington, Delaware. He asked if we would sell them copies of Ranger Rick Jr. at a reduced rate to distribute in pre-school classrooms in underserved communities in the city. Every month, children in the program receive the magazine and a Parent Reading Guide—in English and Spanish—with tips for sharing the magazine with their children. Thanks to PREP, several thousand families that didn’t previously know Ranger Rick Jr. existed now know and love it. I’m constantly looking for opportunities to replicate the success of PREP in other communities.

S.H.:  What was the major challenge you’ve faced in the last ten years and how did you overcome it?

L.C.: I get paid to write stories about animals for six-year-olds, so I feel like I have the best job in the world. My biggest challenge has been dealing with the grown-ups. It’s expensive to produce and distribute the magazine. The cost of paper and postage continue to rise. Creating digital content is not cheap. So, there’s almost constant pressure to cut corners. But I have too much respect for my young audience to make compromises that will undermine the product we deliver. That often means rethinking how we do some things. It’s OK, for example, to cut pages, providing we can find ways to make the remaining pages more fun and engaging than they were before.  

S.H.: What was the most pleasant moment in those ten years?

L.C.: Late one night about six years ago, I had a chance encounter with a fan. As I was getting in my car, I looked up and saw a man standing outside the car in front of mine flipping through a magazine. When I looked more closely, I noticed Ricky Raccoon on the back cover. 

I pulled up next to him, I rolled down my window, and asked if he liked the magazine. He was as startled by my question as I was to see him reading Ranger Rick Jr. on the streets of Washington, DC at 1am. I explained that I was the editor of the magazine and showed him my name in the masthead. He told me that his daughter absolutely loves the magazine and that she brings it with her when she comes to pick up her daddy after work. He agreed to let me take a quick picture, providing I signed their copy of the magazine. 

The encounter was completely random and unexpected and genuine. It made my night. And it may sound silly, but in all my years working at NWF, I think it was my proudest moment. 

S.H.: My typical last question, what keeps you up at night these days?

L.C.: I can honestly say, “nothing.” I’ve never been one to sweat the small stuff. 

S.H.: Again, congratulations on the tenth anniversary and thank you.


A Century Of Treasures And A Call For Action: The American Legion Weekly Jan. 6, 1922. From The Mr. Magazine™ Vault…

January 5, 2022

On this day, Jan. 6, 1922, The American Legion Weekly magazine, then starting its fourth year in publishing, carried an amazing call for action on its cover with the word YOU centered and bold. In it was an urgent call to the ex-service men and women. It stated: “You are the strength of The American Legion. It will be just as strong as you build it… To keep America the way you fought for it to be — America.”

From the collection of Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni collection. The American Legion Weekly, Vol. 4, No. 1, January 6, 1922.

The call for action continues, “No man can doubt our right to speak; for if any man has earned his citizenship, if any man has a first lien upon his country, it is the man who has offered it his life; no man can be more interested in its welfare or more jealous for its future integrity and prosperity.”

Treasures only found in ink on paper magazines… enjoy, reflect, and ponder.

Until my next blog, all the best…

Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni

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