First Year Covers: Life

In my humble opinion Life is one of the preeminent magazines in American history. From its outstanding photos to its rich and varied content, I’m rather sorry I wasn’t around for its golden age.

I should note the original incarnation of Life, which I’m not talking about here, began in 1883 as a general interest a humor magazine but was moribund by the 1920s. I’m speaking about the revived magazine, which relaunched under Henry Luce on November 23, 1936. That version is what most of us know today and it ran weekly until 1972. The publications you may see in store shelves today called Life is fine enough but it’s just not the same thing.

Here, then, is a gallery of selected Life covers from the magazine’s first year of publication, 1936-37. They features a wide range of subjects like ballet and opera, sports, famous politicians and actors, and world sites.