Frank Luther Mott

Frank Luther Mott (April 4, 1886 – October 23, 1964) was an American historian and journalist, who won the 1939 Pulitzer Prize for History for Volumes II and II of his series, A History of American Magazines.

Early years

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.

When he was 10 his father began publishing the Audubon, Iowa Republican and he assisted in the typesetting.


He did the first three years of his college education at Simpson College and then completed his bachelors degree at the University of Chicago.

Mott earned his PhD at Columbia University.

Academic career

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] He 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.

Mott was a lifelong lover of magazines, his father having hoarded them in the house.[4] His monumental series, A History of American Magazines, started as PhD work at Columbia in the late 1920s. It was projected as six volumes. However, other projects, such as American Journalism, derailed his progress. Four volumes of American Magazines carried the history up to 1905. Mott died after starting work on Volume V: 1905-1930. Volume V does not extend the history past 1905; it includes 21 of a projected 36 sketches of individual magazines, intended as the supplementary material to the 1905-1930 history. It also includes an index for all five volumes. Presumably, Volume VI would have covered the history from 1931 to Mott's present-day, plus additional supplementary materials.

Volumes II and III of 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

  • 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. ^
  4. ^ Frank Luther Mott, "Unfinished Story; or, The Man in the Carrel" in A History of American Magazines: Volume V: Sketches of 21 Magazines 1905-1930 (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1968), 331. This brief autobiographical sketch describes Mott's interest in magazines and the course of the series. Additional background information is contained in the introductions by Howard Mumford Jones and Mott's daughter, Mildred Mott Wedel.

External links

1939 Pulitzer Prize

The following are the Pulitzer Prizes for 1939

Charles A. Windle

Charles A. Windle (September 9, 1866 – January 5, 1934) was a Chicago journalist and opponent of prohibition.Windle was born in Ethel, Missouri. He became editor of William Brann's Iconoclast in 1903; the magazine changed its title to The Liberal in 1926, and Windle remained editor until his death. According to Frank Luther Mott, a historian of American magazines, Windle was "a picturesque and violent writer, in the Brann tradition". He began running anti-prohibition columns in the magazine in 1911, and continued to criticize it throughout the dry era, publishing several pamphlets in that cause, including "The Case Against Prohibition". He was one of the founders of the Association Opposed to Prohibition, and debated "Pussyfoot" Johnson, a well-known prohibitionist, in Scotland. He was married and had three sons and a daughter. His son, C. Pliny Windle, became business manager of the magazine after World War I, and then associate editor, finally taking over the magazine after his father's death.He was well-known as a campaigner for Democratic candidates, speaking extensively in Illinois and Iowa on behalf of William Jennings Bryan.

Comfort (magazine)

Comfort was a mail order magazine published in Augusta, Maine from 1888 to 1942. Published by Gannet & Morris and edited initially by William H. Gannet, Comfort was touted as "the key to happiness and success in over a million and quarter homes."In 1888, William H. Gannet created Comfort primarily as a means to advertise his patent medicine, Giant Oxien, a variant of The Moxie Nerve Food. Comfort's circulation increased from 13,000, in 1888, to 1.3 million, in 1894, which made Comfort the first publication in America to reach a circulation of 1 million. In order to handle this increase in circulation, Gannet purchased a new rotary color convertible web-fed press, which was one of the first of its kind in the country.The increase in Comfort's circulation was primarily due to its use of premiums to generate subscriptions. Premiums, essentially rewards like sewing machines or clothing, were given to people who submitted "clubs" or lists of new subscribers. As Frank Luther Mott notes in his book, A History of American Magazines, the use of the "'club' device made the solicitor virtually a local subscription agent for the periodical." Most of the time, publishers of mail-order magazines did not depend on the collection of subscription fees and instead generated income by selling their subscription lists to advertisers.The practice of not collecting subscriptions fees went against the United States Post Office Department's criteria that required publications to maintain "a legitimate list of subscribers" in order to take advantage of the low second-class mailing rate of one-cent per pound. In 1907, as a way to curb further abuse of the second-class postal rate, the US Post Office mandated that all subscription fees must be paid in advance. Many mail-order magazines could not meet this requirement and folded. The publishers of Comfort, who were more firm about collecting payment than other mail-order magazine publishers, lowered Comfort's price to 15 cents a year in order to meet with the new regulations.To prevent mail-order magazines from becoming little more than advertisement catalogs, the US Post Office also required mail-order magazines provide readers with "information of a public character, or devoted to literature, the sciences, arts, or some special industry." This regulation may explain why Comfort claimed on its front page to be "devoted to art, literature, science, and the home circle." In addition to the columns of advertisements, Comfort provided readers with various articles geared to meet the needs and interests of every member of the rural, American family. With articles like "In & Around the Home," "Comfort Sisters' Recipes," and "The Pretty Girls' Club," much of Comfort was dominated by content for women, which offered advice and information on cooking, sewing, health, and beauty. Comfort also printed articles aimed at men, although not as many, such as "The Modern Farmer" and "Automobile and Gas Engine Helps." For children, Comfort occasionally published puzzles, activities, and comics.

Another prominent feature of Comfort was its short and serialized fiction. When Comfort was first published, much of the fiction was written by William H. Gannet as a means to further plug Giant Oxien and other products displayed in the magazine's advertisements. From roughly September 1892 to April 1902, Comfort offered prizes to readers who submitted works of fiction for publication. In later years, Comfort went on to publish fiction written by more legitimate and well known authors such as Augusta Jane Evans, Mrs. Georgie Sheldon, Horatio Alger Jr., Charles Felton Pidgin, and L. M. Montgomery. The fiction published in Comfort was usually highly moral and typically fell into three genres: Adventure, Mystery, or Sentimental Romance. Additionally, Comfort printed stories for children. The Cubby Bear stories, written by Lena B. Ellingwood and illustrated by Harrison Cady, were the most regular children's fiction published in Comfort.In 1940, Comfort was sold to the Needlecraft Publishing Corporation. Needlecraft Publishing continued to publish Comfort for two years until it was combined with Needlecraft magazine, which ceased to be published soon after.

Early American Methodist newspapers

Newspapers and news magazines have always been an important source of information for Methodist Churches and their members and constituents. In the U.S.A., there have been a variety of instruments published over the years, some by General Conferences, others by Annual Conferences, others by individuals.

These are some of the early papers published by various Methodist denominations.

The Christian Advocate was the first paper published weekly under the authority of the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. It was commenced in New York City, 9 September 1826. It continued publication for many years as the first official and leading paper of the M.E. denomination.

Zion's Herald, published in Boston, actually preceded The Christian Advocate, but was not officially owned by the General Conference. It was later merged with The Missionary Journal. Later, Methodists in New England re-established Zion's Herald as a separate publication.[1]

The Missionary Journal, published in Charleston, was another publication which preceded The Christian Advocate. Neither, however, was owned by the General Conference.

The Christian Advocate and Journal and Zion's Herald was a merger of The Christian Advocate with the earlier Zion's Herald and The Missionary Journal.

The Western Christian Advocate was another early publication of the M.E. General Conference. It was published in Cincinnati especially to serve the needs of the Methodist Church as it spread westward with the frontier.

The Christian Recorder was the title of an early official periodical of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, begun in 1863. It was published in Philadelphia.The Ladies' Repository was the monthly magazine founded in 1841 by Cincinnati Methodists.

The Nashville Christian Advocate was a weekly newspaper, founded in 1836, that served as the official organ and preeminent weekly of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.

Economy Advertising Company

Economy Advertising Company is a historic building located in Iowa City, Iowa, United States. Its importance is the association this company had with John Towner Frederick, and the journal he founded and edited, The Midland. This was a literary magazine that focused on regional literature from the Midwest. It featured writers whose work was not being accepted by literary journals in the eastern U.S. that dominated national literary circles. While The Midland had several offices during its run from 1915 to 1934, Economy Advertising Company typeset, printed and bound every edition of the journal. They also provided financial support. Frederick had worked here as an apprentice when he was a student at the University of Iowa. He went on to become the first educator to organize and teach a course in American literature when he taught at the University of Iowa. Together with Frank Luther Mott, who was sometimes a co-editor of the journal, he organized the Saturday Luncheon Club, a literary forum that was a forerunner of the Iowa Writer's Workshop. When Frederick took a position at Northwestern University, the magazine relocated to Chicago. The Midland was never financially self-sufficient, and Frederick took on its deficits himself. Financial factors finally doomed it in 1933.

Economy Advertising was founded around 1896 by Samuel W. Mercer. He had this two-story brick building constructed in 1923. In addition to The Midland, Economy published hard back books under the "Clio Press" imprint, and for several years printed the State Historical Society of Iowa's journal, The Palimpsest. They also published literary works edited by Mott that included Grant Wood's Revolt Against the City. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.

Frank Mott

Frank Mott may refer to:

Frank Luther Mott (1886–1964), American historian and journalist

Frank K. Mott (1866–1958), mayor of Oakland, California

Lead paragraph

A lead paragraph (sometimes shortened to lead; also spelled lede) is the opening paragraph of an article, essay, book chapter, or other written work that summarizes its main ideas.

Legal periodical

A legal periodical is a periodical about law. Legal periodicals include legal newspapers, law reviews, periodicals published by way of commerce, periodicals published by practitioner bodies, and periodicals concerned with a particular branch of the law.The obituaries and profiles in legal periodicals may be useful to historians and biographers. Book reviews in legal periodicals may be useful to librarians. There is a Book Review Index in the Index to Legal Periodicals.

Little Mary Mixup

Little Mary Mixup was an American comic strip drawn by Robert Moore Brinkerhoff. It was widely distributed by United Feature Syndicate.

Nashville Christian Advocate

The Nashville Christian Advocate was a weekly newspaper of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. It served as the central organ of the denomination as well as the official paper of the Tennessee Conference. It was the largest and most influential of the Methodist newspapers in the South. It was founded under the name Southwestern Christian Advocate in 1836. and remained the "leading weekly" of the church after the Civil War. Prominent editors included Thomas Osgood Summers (1812-1882), Oscar Penn Fitzgerald and Elijah Embree Hoss. It continued until 1941.

Nathan Hale (journalist)

Nathan Hale (16 August 1784 – 9 February 1863) was an American journalist and newspaper publisher who introduced regular editorial comment as a newspaper feature.

New York Dramatic Mirror

The New York Dramatic Mirror (1879–1922) was a prominent theatrical trade newspaper.

Pulitzer Prize for History

The Pulitzer Prize for History, administered by Columbia University, is one of the seven American Pulitzer Prizes that are annually awarded for Letters, Drama, and Music. It has been presented since 1917 for a distinguished book about the history of the United States. Thus it is one of the original Pulitzers, for the program was inaugurated in 1917 with seven prizes, four of which were awarded that year. The Pulitzer Prize program has also recognized some historical work with its Biography prize, from 1917, and its General Non-Fiction prize, from 1952.

Finalists have been announced from 1980, ordinarily two others beside the winner.

Society reporting

In journalism, the society page of a newspaper is largely or entirely devoted to the social and cultural events and gossip of the location covered. Other features that frequently appear on the society page are a calendar of charity events and pictures of locally, nationally and internationally famous people.

The Black Cat (magazine)

The Black Cat (1895–1922) was an American literary magazine published in Boston, Massachusetts. It specialized in short stories of an "unusual" nature.

The Literary World (magazine)

The Literary World was a weekly American magazine founded in February 1847 by Osgood and Company in New York City. It closed in 1853 following a fire. It has been described as "the first important American weekly to be devoted chiefly to the discussion of current books" and is said to "contain much valuable material on the development of American literature from 1847 to 1852".The editor for the first issues was Evert Augustus Duyckinck but was succeeded in May 1847 by Charles Fenno Hoffman. During this time, the magazine's content mainly included reviews of books as well as fine arts, drama and music. In October 1848, Duyckinck and his brother George Long Duyckinck purchased the magazine and became both its publishers and its editors. They introduced travel sketches, politics, social matters and translations to the content.It was also published in volumes:

Volume I, February - July 1847

Volume II, August 1847 - January 1848

Volume III, February - December 1848

Volume IV - XIII, 1849 - 1853, regular semi-annual volumes.

Theodore L. Glasser

Theodore L. Glasser is an American academic. He is professor emeritus of communication at Stanford University, and the author of several books about American journalism. His scholarship focuses on questions of press responsibility and accountability.

Thomas Maier

Thomas Maier is an author, journalist, and television producer. His book Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love is the basis for the award-winning drama Masters of Sex which premiered on Showtime in 2013.

Most recently, he is the author of When Lions Roar: The Churchills and the Kennedys, the first comprehensive history of the two dynastic families, published by Crown. His other books include The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings, a multi-generational history of the Kennedy family and the impact of their Irish-Catholic background on their lives, and Dr. Spock: An American Life, named a "Notable Book of the Year" in 1998 by The New York Times and the subject of a BBC and A&E Biography documentary.

His 1994 book, Newhouse: All the Glitter, Power and Glory of America's Richest Media Empire and the Secretive Man Behind It, won the Frank Luther Mott Award by the National Honor Society in Journalism and Mass Communication as Best Media Book of the Year.

Maier joined Newsday in 1984, after working at Chicago Sun-Times. He's won several top honors, including the national Society of Professional Journalists' top reporting prize twice, the National Headliner Award, the Worth Bingham Prize, and New York Deadline Club. In 2002, he won the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists' top prize for a series about immigrant workplace deaths. At the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, he won the John M. Patterson Prize for television documentary making and later received the John McCloy Journalism Fellowship to Europe. He also has a B.A. in political science from Fordham University in the Bronx. He lives on Long Island, New York.

Western Rural

Western Rural was a weekly journal published in Chicago, Illinois and Detroit, Michigan. It existed between 1862 and 1901.

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