S. S. McClure
He was born in County Antrim, Ireland, and emigrated with his widowed mother to Indiana when he was nine years old. He grew up nearly impoverished on a farm and graduated from Valparaiso High School in 1875. He worked his way through Knox College, where he co-founded its student newspaper, and later moved to New York City. In 1884, he established the McClure Syndicate, the first U.S. newspaper syndicate, which serialized books.
McClure created a whole new form of writing for his journalists that we still use today. Instead of demanding that his writers give him articles for his paper immediately, he would give them all the time they needed to do extensive research on their topics.
Rudyard Kipling was one writer who rejected McClure's offer of a long term contract, quoting as justification Ecclesiastes (Chapt. 33): "As long as thou livest and hast breath in thee, give not thyself over to any". Kipling was also present when McClure began to contemplate the launch of a new literary magazine. He recalled in his autobiography:
"He entered [my home in Vermont], alight with the notion for a new Magazine to be called ‘McClure’s.’ I think the talk lasted some twelve—or it may have been seventeen—hours, before the notion was fully hatched out."
He founded McClure's Magazine in 1893 and ran it successfully until 1911 when poor health and financial reorganization forced him out (and many of his writers had defected to form their own magazine). McClure's Magazine published influential pieces by respected journalists and authors including Ida Tarbell, Upton Sinclair, Burton J. Hendrick, Rudyard Kipling, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, Willa Cather, and Lincoln Steffens. Through his magazine, he introduced Dr. Maria Montessori's new teaching methods to North America in 1911. McClure was a business partner of Frank Nelson Doubleday in Doubleday & McClure, ancestor to today's Doubleday imprint. After he was ousted in 1911, McClure's Magazine serialized his ghost-written autobiography.
He died in 1949 in New York City, U.S.A.
- Charles Fanning, The Exiles of Erin: Nineteenth-Century Irish-American Fiction (2nd ed. Chester Springs: Dufour Editions, 1997), 13.
- Rudyard Kipling, Something of Myself: for my friends known and unknown, London: MacMillan and Co., 1951 (first published 1937). p. 125
- S.S. McClure, My Autobiography
- McClure Publishing Company Archives - Special Collections, University of Delaware Library
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