Friday, August 18, 2006

World's First Magazine

The Gentleman's Magazine was the first general-interest magazine, and the most influential periodical of its time. It was founded in London by Edward Cave in January, 1731. The original complete title was The Gentleman's Magazine: or, Trader's monthly intelligencer.

Cave's innovation was to create a monthly digest of news and commentary on any topic the educated public might be interested in, from commodity prices to Latin poetry. It carried original content from a stable of regular contributors, as well as extensive quotes and extracts from other periodicals and books.

Cave, who edited The Gentleman's Magazine under the pen name "Sylvanus Urban", was the first to use the term "magazine" (meaning "storehouse") for a periodical.

Prior to the founding of The Gentleman's Magazine, there were a few specialized journals, but no such wide-ranging publication (though there had been attempts, such as The Gentleman's Journal, which was edited by Peter Motteux and ran from 1692 to 1694).

Cave developed an extensive distribution system for The Gentleman's Magazine. It was read throughout the English-speaking world. It finally ceased publication in September, 1907.

An on-line archive of The Gentleman's Magazine from 1731 to 1750 can be found here at the Bodleian Internet Library of Early Journals.



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