Every Week Essays

Every Week’s Demise

by Melissa Homestead

Although Joseph Knapp created both Associated Sunday Magazines and Every Week, he did not exercise entire control over Every Week. In May 1916, he assumed more control by becoming president of the Every Week Corporation and “remov[ing] his offices” there. He was, concurrently, chairman of the Crowell Publishing Company’s executive committee. [note 1] Five months later, the Crowell Publishing Company purchased Every Week Corporation, adding Every Week to its portfolio of magazines, namely the Woman’s Home Companion, the American Magazine, and Farm and Fireside. [note 2] As it boasted to advertisers, together its magazines reached every class of consumers: women (the Companion), men (the American), farmers, and “the whole family” (Every Week). [note 3] Crowell also consolidated editorial offices in 1917, moving Every Week from its offices at 95 Madison Avenue to Crowell’s offices at 381 Fourth Avenue.

Having full control of Every Week gave Crowell the power to shut the magazine down. The board of the Crowell Publishing Co. voted Every Week out of existence in May 1918, over the objections of Knapp, the only member of the board who voted to continue the magazine. [note 4] The final issue (which would have been produced in late May) appeared on June 22nd. “Under the conditions that the war has produced,” a notice signed “The Crowell Publishing Company” explained, “it seems to us wise to suspend the publication of Every Week.” Citing paper and other material shortages produced by the war, the notice suggested it was better to go out on top than to languish without proper resources. Acknowledging the unusual extent to which the magazine has developed a “living, breathing personality,” the notice continues,

So we take leave of what has been to us—the publishers—not merely a property, but a real friend, and object of affection and a source of pride. There is nothing in the record of Every Week to be sorry for. It has been a clean magazine, a magazine of ideals, a magazine of helpfulness and high thinking. No other editorials have been more widely quoted or have better expressed the spirit of true, clean Americanism. Its picture pages have almost established a new fashion in the treatment of pictures in American periodicals. It has been packed with an amount of fact and helpful information that is astonishing in its variety and interest considering how slender the pages at the disposal of its editors. If we were to do it again we would not do otherwise: if we were to have another weekly after the war, it would be Every Week—not something different.
Having lost both Every Week and ASM, Knapp managed to launch yet another Sunday syndicated magazine in 1935, This Week, which lasted far longer than ASM, ceasing publication in 1969. Every Week, despite its popularity and Bruce Barton’s later celebrity, all but vanished from the public and historical consciousness, with few libraries having collected and preserved it because of its large format and fragile pulp paper. This digital edition makes it accessible again to scholars, teachers, students, and general readers.

1 “Joseph P. Knapp Heads ‘Every Week’ Corporation,” Printers’ Ink, 18 May 1916, 20. [back]

2 Crowell Publishing Company, Advertisement, Printers’ Ink, 19 Oct. 1916, 70. [back]

3 Crowell Publishing Company, Advertisement, Printers’ Ink, 2 Nov. 1916, 14-15. [back]

4 Bruce Barton to David A. Balch, 4 Sep. 1956, Bruce Barton Papers, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, WI. [back]

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