Frank Luther Mott

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Frank Luther Mott (April 4, 1886 in Rose Hill, Iowa – October 23, 1964 in Columbia, Missouri) was an American historian and journalist, who won the 1939 Pulitzer Prize for History for his book, A History of American Magazines.

Early Years[edit]

Mott was born in Rose Hill, Iowa. His parents were Mary E. (Tipton) and David Charles Mott, publishers of the weekly What Cheer, Iowa Patriot.[1] The Mott family owned a print shop in Keokuk County. He was a practicing Quaker.

Academic career[edit]

Mott taught English at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa and was the head of the Journalism Department at the University of Iowa (UI) for 20 years until his appointment as dean of the University of Missouri (MU)'s School of Journalism in 1942.

Mott may have coined the term photojournalism in 1924,[2] Mott was influential in the development of photojournalism education: the first photojournalism class was taught at UI during his tenure, and the first photojournalism program, directed by Clifton C. Edom, started at MU in 1943 upon his request.

His textbook on American Journalism: A History of Newspapers in the United States through 250 years 1690 to 1940[3] (1941 and later revised editions covering through 1960) was the standard resource in courses on the history of journalism.

His book, A History of American Magazines (1938), won the 1939 Pulitzer Prize for History, and Volume 4 won the Bancroft Prize in 1958.

Mott served as president of Kappa Tau Alpha in 1937–1939. He died in Columbia, Missouri.

Select bibliography[edit]

  • Editor, Interpretations of Journalism: A Book of Readings with Ralph D. Casey, 1937.
  • 1938: A History of American Magazines, 1741-1850; A History of American Magazines, 1850-1865 (1938): 1865-1885., link from American Council of Learned Societies Humanities E-book.
  • "Trends in newspaper content." The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (1942): 60-65. in JSTOR
  • "Facetious News Writing, 1833-1883." Mississippi Valley Historical Review (1942): 35-54. in JSTOR
  • Jefferson and the Press (Louisiana State University Press, 1943)
  • "The Newspaper Coverage of Lexington and Concord." New England Quarterly (1944): 489-505. in JSTOR
  • "Newspapers in presidential campaigns." Public Opinion Quarterly 8.3 (1944): 348-367. Online
  • Golden Multitudes: the Story of Best Sellers in the United States, 1947.
  • The news in America Harvard Univ Press, 1952.
  • A History of American Magazines: 1885-1905 Vol. 4. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1957.
  • The Old Printing Office with John DePol, 1962.
  • American Journalism, a History, 1690-1960, 1962.



  1. ^ "Papers of Frank Luther Mott". University of Iowa Libraries Manuscript Register. University of Iowa Libraries. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  2. ^ Stroebel, Leslie D. and Richard D. Zakia. The Focal Encyclopedia of Photography. Boston: Focal Press, 1993. - This is greatly contested; others claim it was Clifton C. Edom, Henry Luce, or various other photojournalists.
  3. ^

External links[edit]