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Harper's Magazine

From Academic Kids

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An issue of Harper's Magazine from 1905
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Another issue, from November 2004

Harper's Magazine (or simply Harper's) is a monthly general-interest magazine covering literature, politics, culture, and the arts. It is the oldest continuously-published monthly magazine in the United States, with a current circulation of slightly more than 200,000. Its editor is Lewis H. Lapham.

Harper's was launched in June 1850 by the New York City book-publishing firm Harper & Brothers. The initial press run of 7,500 copies sold out immediately, and within six months circulation had reached 50,000.

The earliest issues consisted largely of material that had already been published in England, but the publication soon began to print the work of American artists and writers. It subsequently published commentaries by prominent politicans from both sides of the Atlantic, such as Winston Churchill and Woodrow Wilson.

In 1962, Harper & Brothers merged with Row, Peterson, & Company to become Harper & Row (now HarperCollins). Later, the magazine became a separate corporation and a division of the Minneapolis Star and Tribune Company. In 1980, when the parent company announced that Harper's would cease publication, John R. MacArthur and his father, Roderick, urged the boards of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Atlantic Richfield Company to establish the Harper's Magazine Foundation, which now operates the magazine.

In 1971, Lapham joined the magazine as managing editor, serving as editor from 1976 until 1981; in 1983, he resumed his position, which he continues to hold.

In 1984, Lapham and MacArthur — now publisher and president of the foundation — redesigned Harper's and introduced the popular Harper's Index (a list of statistics chosen and arranged, often for ironic effect), Readings, and the Annotation to complement its fiction, essays, and reporting.

Under the leadership of Lapham and MacArthur, the magazine continues to publish literary fiction by such authors as John Updike and George Saunders, and has emerged as a particularly vocal critic of America's domestic and foreign policies. Lapham's monthly Notebook columns have lambasted Bill Clinton's administration as well as the administration of George W. Bush, and since 2003, the magazine has paid special attention to the war in Iraq, with long articles on Fallujah and the post-war reconstruction of Iraq. Other feature stories have covered the debate over abortion, cloning, and global warming.

Notable contributors

Reference

  • An American Album: One Hundred and Fifty Years of Harper's Magazine, a 712-page illustrated anthology with an introduction by Lewis H. Lapham and a foreword by Arthur Schlesinger Jr.

External links

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