|Editor-in-chief||Edward Kramer Thompson|
|First issue||November 23, 1936|
|Final issue||May 2000|
|Based in||New York City|
On his 100th birthday, LIFE remembers Joe DiMaggio with photos made in 1939, when the Yankee Clipper was a 24-year-old star
When the first issue of LIFE magazine appeared on the news-stands, the U.S. was in the midst of the Great Depression and the world was headed toward war in Europe.Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Partyhad taken power in Germany. In Spain, General Francisco Franco’s army was at the gates of Madrid to suppress the rebellion; German Luftwaffe pilots and bomber crews, calling themselves the Condor Legion, were honing their skills as Franco’s air arm. Italy under Fascist leader Benito Mussolini annexed Ethiopia.
Luce ignored these tense world affairs when he unveiled the new LIFE: the first issue cover depicted the Fort Peck Dam in Montana, a Works Progress Administration project, photographed by Margaret Bourke-White.
The format of LIFE in 1936 was an instant classic: the text was condensed into captions for 50 pages of photographs. The magazine was printed on heavily coated paper and cost readers only a dime. The magazine’s circulation sky-rocketed beyond the company’s predictions, going from 380,000 copies of the first issue to more than one million a week four months later.The magazine’s success stimulated many imitators, such as Look, which was founded a year later in 1937 and ran until 1971.
Luce moved LIFE into its own building at 19 West 31st Street, a Beaux-Arts architecture jewel built in 1894. It is considered a building of “outstanding significance” by the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission. Later LIFE moved its editorial offices to 9 Rockefeller Plaza.
(worth $2 today) featured five pages of Alfred Eisenstaedt’s photographs.
SEE MORE BELOW
1941 | Kappa Sigma Epsilon fraternity members toss blankets out the window of their house in preparation for a spring “blanket party” under the stars at Kansas State Teacher’s College. Originally published in the May 26, 1941, issue of LIFE.
Row upon row of WACs (Women’s Army Corps members) don gas masks for a training drill at Iowa’s Fort Des Moines. Originally published in the September 7, 1942, issue of LIFE.