It’s interesting to look back at the origins of Cosmopolitan Magazine, seeing their first subscription numbers (in the 25,000) range, into what it has become now. Its almost amazing how the content has evolved over the years–from a one-time family magazine back in the late 19th century–to what is now; a demographic exclusive to females.
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Before cosmopolitan magazine experienced world wide success, the initial founders and editors (Schlicht & Field) went out of business only 2 years after the company’s launch. Only after E.D. Walker, an ex editor for Harper’s Monthly purchased the rights to Cosmopolitan magazine did the business really take off. He didn’t settle for the old way of doing things, with an innovative sense he introduced book reviews, serial fiction, and color illustrations to the magazine.
Only 1 year later after Cosmopolitans booming popularity, E.D. Walker sold the company to John Brisben Walker, who quickly employed some of the nation’s top writers. He went on to open a free correspondence school, which he had to retract almost immediately after only 2 weeks more then 20,000 people signed up.
Cosmopolitan magazine was later sold to William Randolph Hearst in 1905. He began to expand the magazine by employing top writers, and investigative journalists. Some of the best articles written came from the recruiting sense of William Hearst, he employed Alfred Henry Lewis, David Graham Philips, Ida Tarbell, Upton Sinclair, Sinclair Lewis and George Bernard Shaw, all who went on to write some of the most famous articles for their time.
As decades past, the magazine changed from strictly articles to short novels and stories, sales soared (1.7 Million copies in circulation) and over 5 million in advertising revenues in 1930. Cosmopolitan magazine proved to be an unbelievable success, after the Second World War magazine sales topped the 2 million mark. Unfortunately demand for the magazines content decreased in the 50s, circulation numbers crippled to just over a million, despite the reduced revenue cosmopolitan magazine subscriptions were still a profitable venture, even today Cosmopolitan is one of the most subscribed to magazines in the world.