Cyrus H.K. Curtis

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Well known as the founder of Curtis Publishing Company, Cyrus H.K. Curtis established a journalistic empire in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He played a significant role in the emergence of modern magazine publishing. Some of the most well-known American writers, such as Jack London and Wilson Rawls had articles published in his The Saturday Evening Post magazine.

Cyrus Hermann Kotzschmar Curtis was born in Portland, Maine on June 18, 1850. The son of Cyrus Libby Curtis, he also was named after Hermann Kotzschmar, an exceptional choral composer. At the age of 16, Cyrus left Portland to seek his fortune.

His first periodical, The People's Ledger was first published in Boston in 1872. Later, in Philadelphia, he started another periodical called Tribune and Farmer. In 1897, he purchased The Saturday Evening Post, one of the most-influential and popular magazines in America.

The Philadelphia Public Ledger was Curtis's first newspaper venture. His papers were not as successful as his magazines; he eventually had to sell three of them at a loss. The magazines, however, greatly influenced American culture. The Ladies' Home Journal, a women's supplement to the Tribune and Farmer, was edited by his wife, Louisa Knapp, until she was replaced by Edward William Bok.

Curtis Center, home to The Saturday Evening Post, was erected by Curtis in the 1910s. The famous Curtis Island was named in memory of the publishing magnate. Throughout his life, Curtis donated money to hospitals, museums and schools.

Owing to his love of nature, Curtis established the Curtis Arboretum. The garden contains more than 300 trees of 56 varieties. It was Curtis who donated the Kotzschmar Memorial Organ to the city of Portland. The Curtis Memorial Organ, donated by his daughter, Mary Louise Curtis Bok Zimbalist, occupies the loft of Christ Church in memory of her father.

Curtis died in 1933.

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