Curtis Publishing Company

Curtis Publishing Company
The Curtis Publishing Company
Industry publishing
Founded 1891
Founder(s) Cyrus Curtis
Products magazine
Services advertising
Curtis Building on Independence Mall

The Curtis Publishing Company, founded in 1891 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, became one of the largest and most influential publishers in the United States during the early 20th century. The company's publications included the Ladies' Home Journal and The Saturday Evening Post, The American Home, Holiday, Jack & Jill, and Country Gentleman. In the 1940s, Curtis also had a comic book imprint, Novelty Press.



The company was formed in 1891 by publisher Cyrus Curtis, who published the People's Ledger, a news magazine he had begun in Boston in 1872 and moved to Philadelphia in 1876. He had also established the Tribune and Farmer in 1879, from the women's section of which he fashioned the Ladies' Home Journal under the editorship of his wife, Louisa Knapp in 1883. These publications were taken under the imprimatur of the new company.

In 1897, Curtis spent $1,000 to buy The Saturday Evening Post, which would become one of the nation's most popular periodicals, known for its timely articles and stories and frequent cover illustrations by Norman Rockwell. The advent of television in the late 1940s and early 1950s encroached upon the popularity of general interest periodicals like the Post and the Journal, and in March, 1962, Curtis Publishing's president Robert A. MacNeal announced that the company had lost money for the first time since its incorporation, more than 70 years before.[1]

Perfect Film loaned $5 million into Curtis Publishing in 1968 at the request of Curtis' primary loan holder, First National Bank of Boston to exend its loans. Curtis sells for $7.3 million its Philadelphia headquarters to a real estate developer, John W. Merriam, and lease half the buildings back to pay off most of the First National loan.[2] Perfect's owner, Martin S. Ackerman was appointed president.[3] In 1968, Curtis Publishing sold the Ladies' Home Journal, along with The American Home, to Downe Communications for $5.4 million in stock.[4][5] Ackerman has Curtis sell the Downe stock for operating cash. 6 million Post subscribers are sold to Life for cash, a 2.5 million dollar loan and become a customer of Curtis' subsidaries for circulation and printing services. With all these attempts to revive the Post and lack of a purchaser, Curtis Publishing shut down the Evening Post in 1969.[3] In March 1969, the Federal Trade Commission directs Curtis to offer cash refunds for unfulfilled portions of Evening Post subscriptions.[6] Perfect Film purchased Curtis Circulation Company that same year.[3] Curtis sold The Saturday Evening Post, the last of its magazines, in 1982.

Curtis Center

The Dream Garden by Louis Comfort Tiffany

For its headquarters, the company built a building at the intersection of Sixth and Walnut Streets near Independence Hall, an example of Georgian Revival architecture.

Dream Garden

It holds a famous Tiffany glass mosaic, "The Dream Garden," made for Curtis by the Louis C. Tiffany Studios. The 260-color mosaic was based on a painting by Maxfield Parrish. In 1998, the mosaic was sold to casino owner Steve Wynn, who planned to move it to one of his casinos. This was blocked by local historians and art lovers who raised $3.5 million to prevent the move.[7]


In 2006, the building's owner, Arthur Jackson, fired the building's 40 unionized[8] janitors so they could hire other workers more cheaply.[9]

See also

External links


  1. ^ Friedrich, Otto. Decline and Fall. Harper and Row, 1970, p. 10
  2. ^ "Magazines: New Man for Curtis". Time. May 3, 1968.,9171,841264,00.html. Retrieved 6 August 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c Welles, Chris (Feb 10, 1969). "Post-Mortem". New York Magazine: pp. 32–36.,+Inc.&source=bl&ots=XukfyPaKqy&sig=YnM8PwX6QD7yy8mtgU258WcDh84&hl=en&ei=wFs8Ts78EZOLsAK50uEZ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CDUQ6AEwBTgy#v=onepage&q=Magazine%20Management%20CO.%2C%20Inc.&f=false. Retrieved 5 August 2011. 
  4. ^ Bedingfield, R. E. Curtis Publishing Sells 2 Magazines; Downe Paying $5.4-Million in Stock, The New York Times, August 15, 1968, Business and Finance section, p. 54.
  5. ^ Anonymous. Too Few Believers. Time. Friday, Aug. 23, 1968
  6. ^ "FTC Orders Refunds By Curtis". Tri City Herald: pp. 21. March 20, 1969. Retrieved 23 September 2011. 
  7. ^ Walters, Patrick (December 21, 2006). "Eakins painting to stay in Philadelphia". The Star (Toronto). Retrieved April 30, 2010. 
  8. ^ Salisbury, Stephen (2006-12-19). "Can city protect art treasures?". Philadelphia Inquirer: p. E01. 
  9. ^ Kurtz, Paul. "Curtis Bldg. Janitors Fuming After Mass Firing". KYW Radio. 

Coordinates: 39°56′53.52″N 75°9′6.48″W / 39.9482°N 75.1518°W / 39.9482; -75.1518

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