Saturday Review (U.S. magazine)

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Saturday Review
EditorNorman Cousins, 1942–1971, 1973-1977
CategoriesU.S. culture; book, music, and movie reviews; education
Circulation660,000 (peak)
FounderHenry Seidel Canby
First issue 1920 (1920-month)
Final issueJune 1986
CountryUnited States

Saturday Review,[1] previously The Saturday Review of Literature,[2] was an American weekly magazine established in 1924. Norman Cousins was the editor from 1940 to 1971.[3] Under Cousins, it was described as "a compendium of reportage, essays and criticism about current events, education, science, travel, the arts and other topics."[1]

At its peak, Saturday Review was influential as the base of several widely read critics (e.g., Wilder Hobson, music critic Irving Kolodin, and theater critics John Mason Brown and Henry Hewes), and was often known by its initials as SR. It was never very profitable and eventually succumbed to the decline of general-interest magazines after restructuring and trying to reinvent itself more than once during the 1970s and 1980s.


Cover of December 5, 1925, with the original name

From 1920 to 1924, Literary Review was a Saturday supplement to the New York Evening Post.[4] Henry Seidel Canby established it as a separate publication in 1924. Bernard DeVoto was the editor in 1936–1938. In 1950, John Barkham became book reviewer there.[5] Until 1952, it was known as The Saturday Review of Literature.[4]

The magazine was purchased by the McCall Corporation in 1961.[1]

Saturday Review reached its maximum circulation of 660,000 under Cousins's editorship.[2] Longtime editor Norman Cousins resigned when it was sold, along with McCall Books, to a group led by the two co-founders of Psychology Today, which they had recently sold to Boise Cascade. They split the magazine into four separate monthlies[6] and renamed the publishing company Saturday Review Press, but the experiment ended in insolvency two years later. Former editor Cousins purchased it and recombined the units with World, a new magazine he had started in the meantime. Briefly it was called SR World before it reverted to Saturday Review. Saturday Review Press was sold separately to E. P. Dutton. The magazine was sold in 1977 to a group led by Carll Tucker, who sold it in 1980 to Macro Communications, the owner of the business magazine Financial World. It was insolvent again in 1982 and was sold to Missouri entrepreneur Jeffrey Gluck. A new group of investors in 1984 resurrected it briefly. According to Greg Lindsay writing for Folio twenty years later, most people consider 1982 "the year Saturday Review died".

Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione acquired all properties in 1987 and used the title briefly from 1993 for an online publication at AOL.


In December 2010, business columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer Joseph N. DiStefano reported in his blog that John T. Elduff of JTE Multimedia planned to "revive" both Collier's and Saturday Review as print and online magazines — mainly print, "for Americans 55 to 90". Both would "have a liberal share of attention to research" and look like they did in the 1950s.[7]

In 2011, JTE Multimedia made use of the Saturday Review name with its Web site, Saturday Review–Drug Trials,[8] to report on clinical drug research, focusing on inconclusive and adverse trial results.[9] The site disappeared in 2016 with its home page essentially unchanged since its launch date.


  1. ^ a b c Eric Pace (December 1, 1990). "Norman Cousins, 75, Dies; Edited The Saturday Review". The New York Times. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Eric Pace (December 2, 1990). "Norman Cousins Is Dead at 75;Led Saturday Review for Decades – Obituary". The New York Times. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  3. ^ Greg Lindsay (February 1, 2003). "A great one remembered... Saturday Review". Folio: The Magazine for Magazine Management. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
  4. ^ a b Wood, James Playsted (1956). Magazines in the United States (2nd ed.). New York: The Ronald Press Company. OCLC 333074.
  5. ^ Saxon, Wolfgang (20 April 1998). "John Barkham, 90, Prolific Book Critic Focusing on History". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  6. ^ Philip H. Dougherty (April 2, 1980). "Saturday Review May Become a Monthly". The New York Times.
  7. ^ DiStefano, Joseph N. (December 14, 2010). "Berwyn Publisher to revive Collier's, Saturday Review mags". Retrieved 2012-01-13. says the blog "feeds" his newspaper column.
  8. ^ "Saturday Review–Drug Trials". Archived from the original on 7 January 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  9. ^ "Linked-In company page for Saturday Review-Drug Trials". Retrieved 7 January 2014.