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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Harpers (Magazine)

"Harper’s Magazine made its debut in June 1850, the brainchild of the prominent New York book-publishing firm Harper & Brothers. The initial press run of 7,500 copies sold out immediately, and within six months circulation had reached 50,000...

"Over the years, the magazine's format has been revamped, its general appearance has evolved considerably, and ownership has changed hands. In 1962, Harper & Brothers merged with Row, Peterson, & Company to become Harper & Row (now HarperCollins). Some years later the magazine became a separate corporation and a division of the Minneapolis Star and Tribune Company. In 1980, when the parent company announced that Harper’s Magazine would cease publication, John R. (Rick) MacArthur and his father, Roderick, urged the boards of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Atlantic Richfield Company to make a grant of assets and funds to form the Harper's Magazine Foundation, which now operates the magazine.

"In 1984, Harper’s Magazine was completely redesigned by editor Lewis H. Lapham and MacArthur, who had become publisher of Harper’s Magazine and president of the Foundation. Recognizing the time constraints of the modern reader, the revived magazine introduced such original journalistic forms as the Harper’s Index, Readings, and the Annotation to complement its acclaimed fiction, essays, and reporting. Throughout the years Harper’s has received eleven National Magazine Awards, among many other journalistic and literary honors. " [1]

Harpers and tobacco

In 1954, during the first "health scare" about cigarettes, the Tobacco Industry Research Committee and public relations company Hill & Knowlton worked with a well-known science writer named Leonard Engel, to place a pro-industry article in Harpers Magazine. The article was titled, "Do We Have to Give Up Smoking?" and fueled doubt about the link between smoking and disease. A H&K memo that discussed the article said,

Engel's article will not be solely a defense against the cigarette attacks, but will attempt to analyze the charges in the light of the widely prevalent skepticism concerning the extent to which cigarette smoking can be implicated [in causing disease]. On balance it should lend weight to the industry's contention that there is no proof of the charges and that there are many other factors that enter strongly into the increasing incidence of lung cancer.[2]

H&K succeeded in placing the article in Harpers. The article examined "the case against cigarettes" and "evidence on the other side," and arrived at the conclusion that "the case against cigarettes is by no means proved." Engel wrote, "A substantial body of evidence points strongly to the fact that cigarettes have little or perhaps nothing to do with cancer of the lung."[3]

H&K mailed copies of Engel's article to all doctors in the U.S. under age 65, as well we opinion leaders, media outlets, etc.[4]


Web: http://harpers.org/

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. About, Harpers, accessed October 22, 2008.
  2. Hill and Knowlton Tobacco Industry Research Committee Information Activities, August and September, 1954 Memorandum. October 7, 1954. Philip Morris Bates No. 2072420801/0805
  3. Hill and Knowlton Inc. Leonard Engel Article In December Harpers Magazine Memo/correspondence. November 8, 1954. Bates No. 961007584
  4. Hill and Knowlton Leonard Engel Article In December Harper s Magazine Memo/correspondence. Nov. 19, 1954. Bates No.961007583

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