Reader's Digest: The Little Magazine, February 1922-July 1923; Reader's Digest Service, August 1923-April 1925; Reader's Digest, May 1925-present.
Vol. 1-present, February 1922-present, monthly.
Reader's Digest Association, Pleasantville, New York.
Lila Bell Acheson, DeWitt Wallace, and Louise M. Patterson, February 1922- March 1922; Lila Bell Acheson, DeWitt Wallace, and H. J. Cobberly, April 1922- May 1927; Lila Bell Acheson and DeWitt Wallace, 1927-1957; DeWitt Wallace and Kenneth Payne, 1957-1973; Hobart Lewis, 1973-1976; Edward T. Thompson, 1976-1984; Kenneth O. Gilmore, 1984-present.
16,566,650 ( 1987).
Redbook, originally a magazine of popular fiction, has become one of the leading women's periodicals in the United States. The first issue was published in May of 1903 by a group of Jewish businessmen in Chicago. Louis M. Stumer, Abraham R. Stumer, Benjamin J. Rosenthal, and Louis Eckstein, owners of millinery stores, restaurants, a drug store, and an office building, had at first attempted to buy out a fiction publication entitled the 10 Story Book. Failing in this effort, they decided to start their own periodical for profit. Trumbull White, a foreign service correspondent for the Chicago Record, was recruited to be the first editor. White projected that it would take three years to make a profit and in that time the backers might lose $100,000. The firm of Stumer, Rosenthal, and Eckstein, with assets of $1 million, directed White to proceed with the venture. 1
The first issue of Redbook, at first written Red Book, used zinc etchings to illustrate the stories. These looked cheap and were later replaced by tooled halftones. A photographic section was soon inserted at the beginning of each issue, which included well-known actresses of the day. The red cover and sketch of a woman clad in an evening gown, concluded one observer, "were more sensational in their suggestions than the contents of the stories warrant."2 An editorial in the first issue noted that the magazine was designed to be "invariably wholesome, invariably decent, invariably cheerful. " The editor concluded: "Red is the color of cheerfulness, of brightness, of gayety. It is the color of the most