Exacting, sometimes exhausting, is the job of editing a national magazine. Editor Merle Crowell, head of the American Magazine since 1923, last week decided to obey long-disobeyed doctor's orders. He resigned his editorship, planned a long rest.
Editor Crowell had been faithful to his post. Man and boy, writer and editor, he had labored for the American since he was 27. He is now 40. The War, temporarily interrupting his journalistic orbit, took him as a second lieutenant, left him a major. Carroty-haired down-Easter (from North Newport, Me.), no dilettante, no pedant, he admired teamwork, organization bankers.
Last week Crowell publications claimed the world's biggest (aggregate circulation: 8,000,000) group of magazines, in which the American stands second largest.*
The American, once noted as a pedestrian, commercially-minded "success-story" magazine, under Editor Crowell had been growing somewhat more sprightly, less reflective of the Alger-like business careers of button kings. Prominent among contributors in the American's November issue are Mrs. Calvin Coolidge, Biographer Emil Ludwig, Funnyman George McManus, Authors Ellis Parker Butler, Alice Duer Miller, Will Irwin. In circulation, too, has the American grown. When Editor Crowell first grasped the pencil-scepter, the American claimed a paltry 1,900,000 readers. When his weary fingers relinquished their grip, 350,000 had been added.
As Editor Crowell left the American, in came Editor Sumner Newton Blossom, onetime managing editor of the New York Daily News, editor of Popular Science Monthly. But he came not as chief editor. Said President Lee W. Maxwell of Crowell Co.: "The American will have no chief editor for the time being. The editor will doubtless emerge."
-*Average figures, first six months of 1929: Womans Home Companion (monthly) 2,400,000 The American Magazine (monthly) . 2,250,000 Colliers (weekly) .... 1,967,000 Farm and Fireside (monthly) . . 1,354,000 The Mentor (monthly) . . . 85,000