32¢ First Issue of Life Magazine
Celebrate the Century – 1930s
Issue Date: September 10, 1998
City: Cleveland, OH
Printed By: Ashton–Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed, engraved
“A picture is worth a thousand words.” Henry Luce was counting on this theory when he purchased LIFE magazine in 1935. Already the publisher of Time, Luce thought a magazine devoted almost entirely to photographs would add a new dimension to the market.
Through the magazine, Luce aimed “to see life; to see the world; to eyewitness great events.” That is just what he and his staff of photographers have done – taken fleeting moments in time and captured them forever. In 1936, Margaret Bourke-White became one of LIFE’s first staff photographers. Her images of Fort Peck Dam on the Missouri River in Montana appeared on LIFE’s first cover, which is shown on the U.S. postage stamp.
Americans have witnessed history through LIFE. We felt pain and horror, seeing photos of our troops at war in Germany, Korea, and Vietnam. We felt joy and patriotism when we saw the images of the space shuttle Voyager lift off into space for the first time; and shock and sadness when the Challenger took off for the last time.
Over the years, LIFE has taken on many different forms. It began in 1936 as a weekly picture magazine. It continues today as a monthly, still one of the largest general interest magazines in the world.