Henry Robinson Luce was one of the most influential figures in American journalism during the 20th century.
Born in Tengchow, China, on April 3, 1898, Luce was the son of the late Henry Winters Luce, a Presbyterian minister and educator who spent many years in China as a missionary. After attending an English boarding school on the China coast, Luce came to the United States at the age of 15 to enter Hotchkiss School, in Lakeville, Conn.
Upon graduation from Hotchkiss in 1916, Luce enrolled at Yale and in 1918 enlisted in the Student Army Training Corps at Camp Jackson, S.C., where he was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He returned to Yale to graduate in 1920, studied a year at Oxford and began his career in journalism on the Chicago Daily News.
In March 1923, Luce and a Yale classmate, Briton Hadden, founded Time Inc. to publish a single magazine. From an initial circulation of 9,000, that magazine, TIME, eventually grew into one of the world¿s most influential periodicals. Under Luce¿s leadership, Time Inc. went on to launch Fortune, Life and Sports Illustrated. On the strength of these and successive launches¿and following a series of strategic mergers and acquisitions¿Time Inc. evolved into what today is the world¿s largest media company: Time Warner.
Luce was married to Clare Boothe Luce (1903¿1987), the playwright, author and magazine editor. Mrs. Luce served two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, from 1943 to 1947, and was named U.S. ambassador to Italy by President Eisenhower in 1953, serving four years. Henry Luce had two sons by a previous marriage, Henry III and Peter Paul.
As a practicing newsman, Luce brought a number of significant innovations to the modern practice of journalism. His belief that the journalist must add elements of understanding, of appreciating historical and contemporary background and of knowledgeable judgment about the meaning of news has impressed itself broadly throughout American journalism. News interpretation as a corollary of news reporting, as well as the vitality of news pictures, have had widespread acceptance in modern newspapers and magazines since the appearance of TIME and Life.
TIME, Life, Fortune and Sports Illustrated, as well as the international editions of TIME and Life, were journalistic inventions in which Luce played a major role. TIME, the original publication of the group, was the joint invention of Luce and Hadden. After Hadden¿s untimely death in 1929, Luce directed the preparations that led to the publication of Fortune the following year. Luce personally headed the planning that resulted in Life as a photojournalistic magazine in 1936, the organizing of Time-Life International after World War II and the starting of Sports Illustrated in 1954.