Family Circle is one of the leading women's magazines in the United States. Its average paid circulation per issue for July-December 1987 was 5,773,484 (there are seventeen issues a year), and the number of advertising pages it carried in 1987 was 1,650. With advertising revenues that totaled $123,975,448 in 1987, it ranks tenth in this area among all Publishers' Information Bureau (PIB) publications. 1
But Family Circle is not only a local enterprise. In addition to the American version (which is also distributed in Canada), there are British, Australian, and Japanese versions. The British Family Circle, which began in 1964, is published under a licensing agreement, and is also distributed in Ireland. It is now a bimonthly, with a circulation of more than 800,000. The Australian Family Circle (founded in 1973) has become one of the most popular women's magazines in that country, with a circulation of about 400,000; it is published seventeen times a year, and is distributed in New Zealand as well. The Japanese version of Family Circle came out in 1978, under license of the Blue Chip Stamp Company of Japan. Family Circle and its international versions are now part of the New York Times Magazine Group, a large communications conglomerate that has diverse interests in magazines, newspapers, and television and radio stations.
Family Circle was first published on 9 September 1932. It was conceived by Harry Evans, a former film critic and managing editor of the old Life* magazine, and financed by Charles Merrill, of Merrill Lynch and Company. Family Circle began as a weekly tabloid; Evans's idea was to bring out a publication whose purpose would be to help boost retailers' sales, especially in the expanding supermarket business. The tabloid was sold to retailers, who then distributed it for free to all customers. 2