Cosmopolitan Magazine Subscriptions, History


It’s interesting to look back at cosmopolitan magazine’s origins, looking at their first subscription number (in the range of 25,000), into what it has become now.  Its almost astonishing how content has evolved over the years – from a one-time family magazine back in the late 19th century – to what it is now; exclusive demographics for women.


Before the cosmopolitan magazine experienced worldwide success, its early founders and editors (Schlicht & Field) went out of business just 2 years after the company’s launch.  Only after E.D. Walker, the former editor of Harper’s Monthly bought the rights to Cosmopolitan magazine did the business really take off.  He was not satisfied with the old way of doing things, with the innovative sense that he introduced book reviews, fiction series, and color illustrations to magazines.

Just a year later after Cosmopolitans boomed in popularity, ED Walker sold the company to John Brisben Walker, who quickly hired some of the nation’s top writers.  He then opened a free correspondence school, which he had to withdraw as soon as just 2 weeks more than 20,000 people signed up.

Cosmopolitan Magazine Subscription

Cosmopolitan magazine was later sold to William Randolph Hearst in 1905.  He began expanding the magazine by hiring top writers, and investigative journalists.  Some of the best articles written came from the recruiting sense of William Hearst, he hired Alfred Henry Lewis, David Graham Philips, Ida Tarbell, Upton Sinclair, Sinclair Lewis and George Bernard Shaw, all of who went on to write some of the most famous articles for their time.

Over the past decade, the magazine went from tight articles to short novels and stories, sales soared (1.7 Million copies in circulation) and more than 5 million in advertising revenue in 1930.  Cosmopolitan magazine proved a tremendous success, after sales of The Second World War magazine topped the 2 million mark.  Unfortunately demand for magazine content declined in the 50s, the number of circulations plummeted to more than a million, although the decline in subscription revenue of cosmopolitan magazines is still a lucrative undervored endeavor, even today Cosmopolitan is one of the most subscribed magazines in the world.