February 5, 2015

It cost you a dime and came only by mail, but on February 5, 1922, the first issue of Reader’s Digest was published. (History timeline)

The cover of the first issue described the new publication: “Thirty-one articles each month from leading magazines – Each article of enduring value and interest in condensed and compact form.”

Reader's Digest, February 1922

Reader’s Digest, February 1922

“Reader’s Digest was founded in 1922 through the joint efforts of DeWitt Wallace and Lila Bell Acheson Wallace.

….The first edition of Reader’s Digest was dated February 1922, and contained 64 pages. Its small measurements, about 5.5 inches by 7.5 inches, allowed readers to carry it in a pocket or purse and was a unique innovation among magazines at the time. The lead article was by Alexander Graham Bell and was on the importance of self-education as a lifelong habit.

DeWitt Wallace spent much of the magazine’s first year in the New York Public Library reading articles to summarize in future issues, while Lila Wallace kept her job. The first edition was judged to be a success when there were no cancellations of subscriptions after its release.”

The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc.”
Reference for Business

The following video was compiled for the magazine’s 90th anniversary:

The Reader’s Digest company has changed a great deal since 1922. Here is a link to a current overview by Bloomberg Business. The page begins with this introduction:

“The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc. operates as a multi-brand and multi-platform media and direct marketing company that educates, entertains, and connects audiences worldwide. It publishes magazines representing a portfolio of content in genres, such as food, entertainment, health, wellness, home improvement, and gardening. The company’s portfolio include magazines, books, videos, and music; specialty publications; and Websites.”

And finally, a short video from the past.

It didn’t last long, but in the 1950s there was a TV Reader’s Digest:

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