Harvard Magazine was founded in 1898 as a four-page weekly publication called the Harvard Bulletin, priced at 8 cents a copy (subscription $2 a year). The founders included:
- James Storrow, Class of 1885, former oarsman, Harvard Overseer, and benefactor
- Augustus Peabody Gardner, 1886, who later became a Congressman
- Fred Moore, 1893, secretary of the Athletic Association of Harvard Graduates, which for the first nine years of the Bulletin life was its sponsor
- Jerome Greene, 1896, a former Crimson hand who was the Bulletin’s first editor, and
- Clarence Mann, 1899, who ran the Crimson’s business staff while serving as the Bulletin’s first business manager.
It was renamed the Harvard Alumni Bulletin in 1910, and Harvard Magazine in 1973. It has published on its current bimonthly basis since 1977. As noted in 1973, the magazine “is still published by an independent Massachusetts corporation whose president and directors are alumni of the University. It is still responsible to its subscribers, who in effect commission the editors to mine Harvard’s vast resources and to offer up their finding in a satisfying manner.”
The Bulletin was founded in 1898 to provide current University news, because the Harvard Graduates’ Magazine appeared only quarterly. Its frequency has decreased by stages during its century-plus existence, from weekly to bimonthly, “for good reasons having nothing to do with the stamina of successive editors, but rather with the realities of the magazine business.” (The shift to a bimonthly schedule in 1977 in part reflected feedback from more than 2,000 subscribers who responded to a questionnaire from the editors soliciting help in planning the magazine’s future in a difficult economy.)
What continues to set the magazine apart (as a ninetieth-anniversary column declared),
not only from other Harvard media but from almost every other university publication, is its degree of independence. Harvard Magazine, like its ancestral Bulletin, is a nonprofit enterprise incorporated under Massachusetts law and directed by its own governing boards. For 78 years paid subscriptions were the primary source of operating income, with advertising providing the balance. Since 1977 we have received a subvention from Harvard to help underwrite the cost of sending the magazine without charge to all domestic alumni. But voluntary contributions from readers still cover [one-third] of our operating expenses, and guarantee our continuation as an independent forum for all shades of opinion on Harvard affairs.
… [T]he Alumni Association, the central administration, and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences are represented on our board of directors. But corporately and editorially we remain autonomous, answerable first and last to our readers. In that respect Harvard Magazine is sui generis, and proud of it.
Editors of Harvard Magazine include the gentlemen below:
Edgar H. Wells
M.A. DeWolfe Howe
Norman A. Hall
John T. Bethell
John S. Rosenberg