Briton Hadden

Briton Hadden

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Briton Hadden was the co-founder of Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

 magazine with his Yale
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

 classmate Henry Luce
Henry Luce
Henry Robinson Luce was an influential American publisher. He launched and closely supervised a stable of magazines that transformed journalism and the reading habits of upscale Americans...

. He was Time's first editor and the inventor of its revolutionary writing style, known as Timestyle. Though he died at 31, he was considered one of the most influential journalists of the twenties, a master innovator and stylist, and an iconic figure of the Jazz Age
Jazz Age
The Jazz Age was a movement that took place during the 1920s or the Roaring Twenties from which jazz music and dance emerged. The movement came about with the introduction of mainstream radio and the end of the war. This era ended in the 1930s with the beginning of The Great Depression but has...


Early life

Hadden got his start in newspaper
A newspaper is a scheduled publication containing news of current events, informative articles, diverse features and advertising. It usually is printed on relatively inexpensive, low-grade paper such as newsprint. By 2007, there were 6580 daily newspapers in the world selling 395 million copies a...

 writing at Brooklyn's Poly Prep Country Day School
Poly Prep Country Day School
'Poly Prep Country Day School is headquartered in the Dyker Heights section of Brooklyn, New York. Initially founded as part of the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute, Poly Prep now offers classes from the nursery grade to 12th grade, occupying buildings on two campuses...

, where he wrote for the school magazine, the Poly Prep, and distributed a hand-written, underground sheet to his classmates that was called The Daily Glonk. Moving to the Hotchkiss School
Hotchkiss School
The Hotchkiss School is an independent, coeducational American college preparatory boarding school located in Lakeville, Connecticut. Founded in 1891, the school enrolls students in grades 9 through 12 and a small number of postgraduates...

, Hadden wrote for the Hotchkiss Record, a weekly newspaper. After an intense competition, Hadden was elected the chairman of the newspaper and Luce the assistant managing editor. Hadden then turned the Record from a weekly into a bi-weekly.

At Yale, Hadden was elected to the staff of the Yale Daily News
Yale Daily News
The Yale Daily News is an independent student newspaper published by Yale University students in New Haven, Connecticut since January 28, 1878...

 and later served as the paper's chairman twice (1917-1918 and 1919-1920). Luce was the News' managing editor
Editing is the process of selecting and preparing written, visual, audible, and film media used to convey information through the processes of correction, condensation, organization, and other modifications performed with an intention of producing a correct, consistent, accurate, and complete...

 the second time. Also at Yale, Hadden was a brother of Delta Kappa Epsilon
Delta Kappa Epsilon
Delta Kappa Epsilon is a fraternity founded at Yale College in 1844 by 15 men of the sophomore class who had not been invited to join the two existing societies...

 (Phi chapter) and a member of Skull and Bones
Skull and Bones
Skull and Bones is an undergraduate senior or secret society at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. It is a traditional peer society to Scroll and Key and Wolf's Head, as the three senior class 'landed societies' at Yale....

. It was during a break from school, when Hadden and Luce traveled south to Camp Jackson, South Carolina as ROTC officer candidates, that they began seriously discussing the idea of creating a magazine that would condense all the news of the week into a brief and easily readable "digest."

Early career

After receiving his bachelor's degree
Bachelor's degree
A bachelor's degree is usually an academic degree awarded for an undergraduate course or major that generally lasts for three or four years, but can range anywhere from two to six years depending on the region of the world...

 from Yale in 1920, Hadden wrote for the New York World
New York World
The New York World was a newspaper published in New York City from 1860 until 1931. The paper played a major role in the history of American newspapers...

, where he was mentored by one of New York's most famous and accomplished newspaper editors, Herbert Bayard Swope
Herbert Bayard Swope
Herbert Bayard Swope was a U.S. editor, journalist and intimate of the Algonquin Round Table. Swope spent most of his career at the New York World newspaper. He was the first and three time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Reporting...

. In late 1921, Hadden wrote to Luce, who had recently been let go by the Chicago Daily News
Chicago Daily News
The Chicago Daily News was an afternoon daily newspaper published between 1876 and 1978 in Chicago, Illinois.-History:The Daily News was founded by Melville E. Stone, Percy Meggy, and William Dougherty in 1875 and began publishing early the next year...

, and suggested that they both go to work for the Baltimore News. In Baltimore, they spent their nights working on the idea of a news magazine, which, at first, they planned to call Facts.

Founding of Time Magazine

In 1923, Hadden and Luce co-founded Time magazine. Hadden and Luce served alternating years as the company's president, but Hadden was the editor for four and a half of the magazine's first six years, and was considered the "presiding genius." In its earliest years the magazine was edited in an abandoned beer brewery, subsequently moving to Cleveland in 1925, and returning to New York in 1927. For the next year and several months, both Time and The New Yorker
The New Yorker
The New Yorker is an American magazine of reportage, commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons and poetry published by Condé Nast...

 were edited at 25 W. 45th Street in Manhattan. Thus the two greatest magazine editors of the 1920s — Briton Hadden and Harold Ross
Harold Ross
Harold Wallace Ross was an American journalist and founder of The New Yorker magazine, which he edited from the magazine's inception in 1925 to his death....

 — worked in the same building.

Illness and death

In December 1928, Hadden became ill. He died two months later, most likely of streptococcus viridans
Streptococcus viridans
Viridans Streptococcus is a pseudotaxonomic non-Linnaenan term for a large group of commensal streptococcal bacteria that are either α-hemolytic, producing a green coloration on blood agar plates , or nonhemolytic...

, which had entered his bloodstream, causing septicemia and ultimately the failure of his heart. Before he died, Hadden signed a will, which left all of his stock in Time Inc. to his mother and forbade his family from selling those shares for 49 years. Within a year of Hadden's death, Luce formed a syndicate, which succeeded in gaining hold of Hadden's stock.


Luce took Hadden's name off the masthead of Time within two weeks of his death. In the next 38 years, he delivered more than 300 speeches around the world, mentioning Hadden four times. Luce acquired control of Hadden's papers, and he kept them at Time Inc., where no one outside the company was allowed to view the papers as long as Luce lived. Throughout his life, Luce repeatedly claimed credit for Hadden's ideas in public speeches and in Time magazine.

Luce presided over the growth of the Time-Life
Life (magazine)
Life generally refers to three American magazines:*A humor and general interest magazine published from 1883 to 1936. Time founder Henry Luce bought the magazine in 1936 solely so that he could acquire the rights to its name....

 empire, and donated funds towards the construction of a building at 202 York Street in New Haven, Connecticut
New Haven, Connecticut
New Haven is the second-largest city in Connecticut and the sixth-largest in New England. According to the 2010 Census, New Haven's population increased by 5.0% between 2000 and 2010, a rate higher than that of the State of Connecticut, and higher than that of the state's five largest cities, and...

that would eventually become the Yale Daily News new home. The office is today called the Briton Hadden Memorial Building.

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