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Title: Religion at Time Inc.: From the Beginning of Time to the End of Life
Authors: Consenstein, Eden
Advisors: Weisenfeld, Judith
Contributors: Religion Department
Keywords: corporation
Henry R. Luce
United States
Subjects: Religious history
American studies
Mass communication
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: In 1954, when an interviewer accused the media mogul Henry R. Luce of printing openly partisan journalism in his Time, Life, and Fortune magazines, Luce simply agreed. “I am a Protestant, a Republican and a free enterpriser,” he retorted. “I am biased in favor of God, Eisenhower and the stockholders of Time Inc.” Beyond his work as a media mogul, Luce was an active Presbyterian layman and a self-styled amateur theologian. This study brings Luce’s two vocations into conversation, asking what it looked like to edit a series of newsmagazines and run a massive media corporation with a “bias in favor of God.” I examine Time Inc.’s corporate archives alongside Time and Life magazines to determine how Luce’s entwined religious and political priorities found expression as news. I begin with Time Inc.’s debut in 1923 and conclude shortly after Luce’s retirement in 1964, tracing a narrative wherein Luce’s religious ambitions expanded concurrently with Time Inc.’s reach. Throughout this work, I demonstrate that Time Inc.’s news media was organized around Luce’s belief in the United States’ special role in divine providence and his confidence in the Christian value of capitalism. This history complicates two salient historiographic assumptions. First, Time Inc.’s Christian content was necessarily calibrated to appeal to many denominational communities. The corporation’s history thus invites us to blur the bright lines that often demarcate “liberal” and “conservative” Protestant cultural production. Second, my research shows that Jews and Catholics were not easily included in Time Inc.’s journalistic products and processes. In emphasizing enduring interfaith tensions at Time Inc., I unsettle narratives of increasing “tri-faith” inclusion in the twentieth-century United States.
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Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Religion

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