Ketupa.net a media industry resource

Meredith Group

Overview

This profile considers US television broadcaster and magazine publisher Meredith.


It covers -

  • the group
  • Appleton
  • studies

The group

The Meredith group is built around Better Homes & Gardens magazine, founded by US presidential hopeful Edwin Thomas Meredith (1877-1928).

It encompasses a range of consumer magazines (including the long-lived Ladies Home Journal initially published by Curtis) and a small group of television stations affiliated with CBS, Fox and other networks.

The group has disposed of realty, printing, newspaper, book publishing, radio and cable tv operations.

In 2005 it acquired the US consumer titles (including Family Circle, Parents, Child and Fitness) of Gruner + Jahr USA for US$350 million.

Appleton

In 1960 the group, flush with cash from Better Homes, acquired book publisher Appleton-Century-Crofts (now airbrushed from Meredith's corporate site). In the previous year it had bought Replogle Globe, founded in 1930.

Appleton traced its origins to D Appleton, founded in 1831 by bookseller Daniel Appleton (1785-1849). Sons William Henry (1814-1899), John Adams (1817-1881), George Swett (1821-1878), Daniel Sidney (1824-1890) and Samuel Francis Appleton (1826-1883) continued the business, co-founding the American Book Company in 1880. Financial difficulties towards the end of the century saw the house file for bankruptcy in 1900, with reorganisation by Joseph Sears of Harper's. Appleton acquired literary publisher Stewart Kidd (est 1914) in 1924 and in 1933 merged with Century Co. (est 1881) as D Appleton-Century Co. In 1945 it unloaded its hymn book arm to Revell Publishing and in 1948 merged with F S Crofts (est 1924) as Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc.

Authors published by those houses included Edith Wharton, John Jacob Astor, Theodore Dreiser, Charles Darwin, Grover Cleveland, Herbert Spencer, Vachel Lindsay, William Dean Howells, George Bancroft, Helen Keller, Don Marquis, Josiah Royce, Thomas Hart Benton, Jean Cocteau, Emily Post, BF Skinner, Hamlin Garland, Sarah Bernhardt, Jack London, Heywood Broun, William McKinley, Stephen Crane, William Cullen Bryant, William Tecumseh Sherman, Arthur Conan Doyle, Edna Ferber, Henry George, Bram Stoker and HG Wells.

Overambitious expansion and disagreements about governance saw the group dispose of much of the Appleton-Century-Crofts operations to Prentice Hall (later acquired by Pearson) in 1974, with Charles Walther heading an MBO that acquired the Century (later New Century) science arm.

Studies

There are no major study of the group or its founder.

For the Ladies Home Journal see Reformer in the Marketplace: Edward W Bok and the Ladies' Home Journal (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Uni Press 1979) by Salme Harju Steinberg, Magazines for the Millions: Gender and Commerce in the Ladies' Home Journal and the Saturday Evening Post 1880-1910 (New York: State Uni Press of NY 1994) by Helen Damon-Moore and Inarticulate Longings: The Ladies' Home Journal, Gender & the Promises of Consumer Culture (New York: Routledge 1995) by Jennifer Scanlon.

For Appleton see Gerard Wolfe's The House of Appleton: The History of a Publishing House and Its Relationship to the Cultural, Social, and Political Events That Helped Shape the Destiny of New York City (Metuchen: Scarecrow Press 1981).