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.
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.