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A Historical Glance at 18 Famous Magazines’ First Issues

Check out the humble beginnings of your favorite mags.

All popular magazines have come a long way to get to where they are today. It has been years and their pages have published numerous issues that give us a hint about the world before.

Today, we will go back in time and browse history through the very first issues that have been published by these well-known magazines.

#1. Time – March 3, 1923

Source: Mental Floss

The very first cover of the well-known magazine is the portrait of Joseph G. Cannon, the House Speaker at that time. Inside the pages were news bulletins, an advertisement for All America Cables, Jack Dempsey’s imaginary interviews, Italy’s Princess Yolanda and the young Emperor of China.

#2. People – March 4, 1974

Source: Mental Floss

The Great Gatsby’s Mia Farrow and The Exorcist’s Peter Blatty was featured on the first People cover. The contents highlighted the female bail bondsman’s story and the two overweight women who wanted to lose weight, so they had their mouth cemented.

#3. Wired – March/April 1993

Source: Mental Floss

Known as the ‘Rolling Stone of Technology’, Wired featured a piece about war tech. It talked about a life where computer chips are used to give brains to our appliances like the “libraries without walls for books without pages” that we all know as the ebook today.

#4. New York Magazine – April 8, 1968

Source: Mental Floss

To this day, “Tom Wolfe Tells if You’re a Honk or a Wonk” remains to be one of the most popular first pages in the entire New York Magazine history. Meanwhile, the content showed Chut-Nut ads and Canada’s plan to conquer the U.S. with Red Rose Tea.

#5. Sports Illustrated – August 16, 1954

Source: Mental Floss

The issue featured “With rhinestones flashing, our famous jeans salute the Wonderful World of Sport.” It is an advertisement for A. Harris Company Velvet Jeans.

#6. Playboy – December 1953

Source: Mental Floss

The very first issue sold about 53,991 copies and it featured Marilyn Monroe on the cover, centerfold and the articles.

#7. Nintendo Power – July/August 1988

Source: Metal Floss

Game cheat guides and everything about Nintendo games were all inside the pages of this magazine. However, the magazine has stopped publishing in 2012.

#8. The New Yorker – February 21, 1925

Source: Mental Floss

The first issue published short fiction, non-fiction and the mag’s famous cartoons. A created character named Eustace Tilley graced the first cover and had been gracing nearly every anniversary covers.

#9. Esquire – Autumn 1933

Source: Mental Floss

The first issue focused on the magazine’s mission to “become the common denominator of masculine interest” that featured the work of famous men.

#10. Rolling Stone – November 9, 1967

Source: Mental Floss

With John Lennon on the cover, this debut issue also highlighted a Monterey Pop Festival photo. Grateful Dead was likewise mentioned briefly.

#11. Newsweek – February 11, 1933

Source: Mental Floss

Formerly known as the News-Week, the cover featured the Nazis.

#12. Life – November 23, 1936

Source: Mental Floss

Fort Peck Dam photo was on the cover. One of the articles entitled “Black Widow” reminded readers that “hardly a week goes by that some newspaper doesn’t carry the account of Man Destroyed by Black Widow Bite. . .”

#13. The Atlantic Monthly – November 1, 1857

Source: Mental Floss

On its first issue, Atlantic Monthly focused hevaily on arts, politics, and literature.

#14. Fast Company – November 1995

Source: Mental Floss

The first published issue was all about a female’s success, tips about tech, business and the ins and outs of climbing the corporate ladder.

#15. ESPN The Magazine – March 1998

Source: Mental Floss

The Sports Magazine featured the four men they predicted will shape the next generation in the field of sports namely Kobe Bryant, Alex Rodriguez, Eric Lindros, and Kordell Stewart.

#16. Harper’s – June 1850

Source: Mental Floss

The first issue consisted of excerpts, poems and articles compiled from other sources into its 144 pages.

#17. Tiger Beat – September 1965

Source: Mental Floss

Tiger Beat or formerly known as Lloyd Thaxton’s Tiger Beat was a little mag that debuted in 1965 showcasing big names in the entertainment industry.

#18. Mental Floss – 2001

Source: Mental Floss

The first issue established the kind of topics that one would hardly read like dumb laws and the things you can’t sell on eBay.

These magazines may have started the way we did not imagine, knowing they have become a household name in the industry of ink and paper. We can’t deny that their humble beginnings have definitely helped shape history.


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