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magazine founded by J. A. Mitchell and E. S. Martin, young Harvard graduates, was intended to be a satirical weekly “of higher artistic and literary merit” than Puck and Judge. Life played the role of arbiter elegantiarum, and its early volumes represent the school of genteel humor. Among its artists were F. W. Attwood, E. W. Kemble, Palmer Cox, Peter Newell, Oliver Herford, and C. D. Gibson, who created his “Gibson Girl” for it; and such authors as J. K. Bangs, Agnes Repplier, and Brander Matthews wrote stories and articles. Besides being the outstanding humorous magazine of the U.S., Life was known for its reviews of books and the theater, and its editorial campaigns against vivisection, the Hearst newspapers, and other matters, as well as against Germany during World War I. After the war it was purchased by Gibson, who had Robert Sherwood edit it (1924–28), continuing the dual policy of humor and editorial crusades, now in behalf of its fresh-air camps for poor children and in opposition to the 18th Amendment. Eventually, however, the magazine lost its subtlety and was eclipsed by The New Yorker. In 1933 it became a monthly, and in 1936 Judge bought its “humorous traditions and features.”

Subjects: Literature.

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