Here’s an excellent Longreads list of articles on how some of the world’s illustrious magazines were founded:
Magazine nerds, here we go: A starter collection of behind-the-scenes stories from some of your most beloved magazines, including The New Yorker, Time, Entertainment Weekly, Cosmopolitan, Vanity Fair and the New York Review of Books, plus now-defunct publications like Might, George, Sassy and Wigwag.
I’ve read those on Vanity Fair and Esquire so far and it’s a minefield of inspiring stories, whether you’re a publisher, an editor, a graphics designer, photographer, writer, or anyone who’s on the brink of starting or building/rebuilding something.
On its storied essays by feature writers:
If Esquire was a magazine where novelists could apply their literary talents to nonfiction, it was also a place where a handful of journalists wrote articles that read like short stories. The writer most identified with that legacy is Gay Talese, a man whose Calabrian profile is as sharp as his tailored clothing. Having made his bones in journalism at the stylistically restrictive Times, Talese found the freedom that Esquire gave its writers “narcotic,” he says, and he particularly excelled at profiling achievers who had fallen a little—or a lot—from the pinnacle. Thus, in November 1965, at Hayes’s behest, Talese embarked on the long, harrowing trip that would lead him to produce the greatest literary-nonfiction story of the 20th century. Talese flew to Los Angeles and checked into the Beverly Wilshire Hotel to prepare for an interview the following day with Frank Sinatra.
Also, more on the Esquire article: there’s a part that mentions a traditional Chinese proverb, which also happens to be a curse,
May you live in the most interesting of times.
Boredom is underrated; sometimes, you just have to be thankful for it.