Abstract: Henry Luce and Twentieth-Century Consumer Culture

William R. Childs


Alan Brinkley's The Publisher: Henry Luce and His American Century (2010) led me to ask the question, Why are Henry Luce and Time Inc. not more central to the modern America narrative and the concerns of business and consumer culture historians? Brinkley's biography suggests how the journalist's life was connected to many themes in modern U.S. history. Business and consumer culture historians could connect Luce and his firm to the American consumer culture by focusing on the publisher's business model and management style, how he and his magazines interacted with intellectuals who criticized the consumer culture even as they participated in it, and how both the news and advertising content of Time Inc.'s magazines sold the notion of modernity.

BEH On-Line Paper