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(Wikipedia) - The Atlantic   (Redirected from For the ocean, see Atlantic Ocean. For other uses, see Atlantic (disambiguation). The Atlantic Editor in Chief Categories Frequency Publisher Total circulation (June 2013) Founder Year founded Company Country Based in Language Website ISSN
Cover of The Atlantic
James Bennet
Literature, political science, foreign affairs
10 issues a year
Hayley Romer
Francis H. Underwood Ralph Waldo Emerson Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Others
1857 (1857)
Atlantic Media
United States
Washington, D.C.
American English

The Atlantic is an American magazine, founded (as The Atlantic Monthly) in 1857 in Boston, Massachusetts, now based in Washington, D.C. It was created as a literary and cultural commentary magazine and quickly achieved a national reputation as a high-quality review with a moderate worldview—a reputation it has maintained for over 150 years. The magazine has notably recognized and published new writers and poets, as well as encouraged major careers. It has also published leading writers'' commentary on abolition, education, and other major issues in contemporary political affairs. The magazine has won more National Magazine Awards than any other monthly magazine.

After experiencing financial hardship and a series of ownership changes, the magazine was reformatted as a general editorial magazine. Focusing on "foreign affairs, politics, and the economy cultural trends", it is now primarily aimed at a target audience of serious national readers and "thought leaders".

The magazine''s initiator and founder was Francis H. Underwood, an assistant to the publisher, who received less recognition than his partners because he was "neither a ''humbug'' nor a Harvard man". The other founding sponsors were prominent writers, including Ralph Waldo Emerson; Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.; Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; Harriet Beecher Stowe; John Greenleaf Whittier; and James Russell Lowell, who served as its first editor.

In 2010, The Atlantic posted its first profit in the previous decade. In profiling the publication at the time, The New York Times noted the accomplishment was the result of "a cultural transfusion, a dose of counterintuition and a lot of digital advertising revenue."

  • 1 Format, publication frequency, and name
  • 2 Literary history
  • 3 Ownership
  • 4 The Wire
  • 5 CityLab
  • 6 Assessment
  • 7 Controversy and criticism
  • 8 List of editors
  • 9 List of issues
  • 10 See also
  • 11 References
  • 12 External links

Format, publication frequency, and name

The magazine, subscribed to by over 400,000 readers, now publishes ten times a year. As the former name suggests, it was a monthly magazine for 144 years until 2001, when it published eleven issues; it published ten issues yearly from 2003 on, dropped "Monthly" from the cover starting with the January/February 2004 issue, and officially changed the name in 2007. The Atlantic features articles in the fields of the arts, the economy, foreign affairs, political science, and technology. Regular contributors include James Fallows and Jeffrey Goldberg.

In April 2005, The Atlantic ''​s editors decided to cease publishing fiction in regular issues in favor of a newsstand-only annual fiction issue edited by longtime staffer C. Michael Curtis. They have since re-instituted the practice.

On January 22, 2008, dropped its subscriber wall and allowed users to freely browse its site, including all past archives. In addition to, The Atlantic''s web properties have expanded to include, a news- and opinion-tracking site launched in 2009, and in 2011,, a stand-alone website devoted to global cities and trends. According to a Mashable profile in December 2011, "traffic to the three web properties recently surpassed 11 million uniques per month, up a staggering 2500% since The Atlantic brought down its paywall in early 2008." covers politics, business, entertainment, technology, health, international affairs, and more. In December 2011, a new Health Channel launched on, incorporating coverage of food, as well as topics related to the mind, body, sex, family, and public health. has also expanded to visual storytelling with the addition of the In Focus photo blog, curated by Alan Taylor, and the Video Channel.

Literary historyFirst publication of "Battle Hymn of the Republic"

A leading literary magazine, The Atlantic has published many significant works and authors. It was the first to publish pieces by the abolitionists Julia Ward Howe ("Battle Hymn of the Republic" on February 1, 1862), and William Parker''s slave narrative, "The Freedman''s Story" (in February and March 1866). It also published Charles W. Eliot''s "The New Education", a call for practical reform that led to his appointment to presidency of Harvard University in 1869; works by Charles Chesnutt before he collected them in The Conjure Woman (1899); and poetry and short stories, helping launch many national literary careers. For example, Emily Dickinson, after reading an article in The Atlantic by Thomas Wentworth Higginson, asked him to become her mentor. In 2005, the magazine won a National Magazine Award for fiction.

Atlantic Monthly office, Ticknor & Fields, 124 Tremont Street, Boston, ca.1868

The magazine also published many of the works of Mark Twain, including one that was lost until 2001. Editors have recognized major cultural changes and movements; for example, the magazine published Martin Luther King, Jr.''s defense of civil disobedience in "Letter from Birmingham Jail" in August 1963.

The magazine has also published speculative articles that inspired the development of new technologies. The classic example is Vannevar Bush''s essay "As We May Think" (July 1945), which inspired Douglas Engelbart and later Ted Nelson to develop the modern workstation and hypertext technology.

In addition to its fiction and poetry, the magazine publishes writing on society and politics. "A three-part series by William Langewiesche in 2002 on the rebuilding of the World Trade Center generated headlines, as have articles by James Fallows on planning for the Iraq war and reconstruction."

The cover of the original issue of The Atlantic, November 1, 1857

As of 2012, its writers included Mark Bowden, Ta-Nehisi Coates, James Fallows, Jeffrey Goldberg, Robert D. Kaplan, Megan McArdle, and Jeffrey Tayler.


For all but recent decades, The Atlantic was known as a distinctively New England literary magazine (as opposed to Harper''s and later The New Yorker, both from New York City). It achieved a national reputation and was important to the careers of many American writers and poets. By its third year, it was published by the famous Boston publishing house Ticknor and Fields (later to become part of Houghton Mifflin). The magazine was purchased by its then editor, Ellery Sedgwick, during World War I, but remained in Boston.

In 1980, the magazine was acquired by Mortimer Zuckerman, property magnate and founder of Boston Properties, who became its Chairman. On September 27, 1999, Zuckerman transferred ownership of the magazine to David G. Bradley, owner of the Beltway news-focused National Journal Group. Bradley had promised that the magazine would stay in Boston for the foreseeable future, as it did for the next five and a half years.

In April 2005, however, the publishers announced that the editorial offices would be moved from its long-time home at 77 North Washington Street in Boston to join the company''s advertising and circulation divisions in Washington, D.C. Later in August, Bradley told the New York Observer, cost cutting from the move would amount to a minor $200,000–$300,000 and those savings would be swallowed by severance-related spending. The reason was to create a hub in Washington where the top minds from all of Bradley''s publications could collaborate under the Atlantic Media Company umbrella. Few of the Boston staff agreed to relocate, and Bradley embarked on an open search for a new editorial staff.

In 2006, Bradley hired James Bennet as editor-in-chief, who had been the Jerusalem bureau chief for The New York Times. He also hired writers including Jeffrey Goldberg and Andrew Sullivan. Jay Lauf joined the organization as publisher and vice-president in 2008.

The Wire

The Wire (previously known as The Atlantic Wire) is a sister site of that aggregates news and opinions from online, print, radio, and television outlets. When The Atlantic Wire first launched in 2009, it curated op-eds from across the media spectrum and summarized significant positions in each debate. Expanded to encompass news and original reporting, regular features include "What I Read", showcasing the media diets of individuals from the worlds of entertainment, journalism, and politics, and "Trimming the Times", a summary of the feature editor''s choices of the best content in The New York Times. The site previously featured The Atlantic 50, a ranked list of what the editors described as the top opinion-makers in the media, created using an algorithm based on influence, reach, and web engagement. The Atlantic Wire rebranded itself as The Wire in November 2013.


CityLab (formerly The Atlantic Cities) is the latest expansion of The Atlantics digital properties, launched in September 2011. The stand-alone site has been described as exploring and explaining "the most innovative ideas and pressing issues facing today’s global cities and neighborhoods." Featuring the work of Richard Florida, urban theorist, professor, and Atlantic senior editor, also has been described as showcasing leading voices in the urban planning and community building arenas. The Atlantic Cities was rebranded as CityLab on May 16, 2014.


In June 2006, the Chicago Tribune named it one of the top ten English-language magazines, describing it as "a gracefully aging ... 150-year-old granddaddy of periodicals" because "it keeps us smart and in the know" with cover stories on the then-forthcoming fight over Roe v. Wade. It also lauded regular features such as "Word Fugitives" and "Primary Sources" as "cultural barometers."

Controversy and criticism

The Atlantic Media Company receives substantial financial support from the Gates Foundation through the National Journal ($240,000+) to provide coverage of education-related issues that are of interest to the Gates Foundation and its frequent partner in education policy initiatives, the Lumina Foundation. Critics have suggested that this funding may lead to biased coverage and have noted the Lumina Foundation''s connections to the private student loan company Sallie Mae. Gates-funding of the National Journal is not always disclosed in articles or editorials about the Gates Foundation or Bill Gates, or in coverage of education white papers by other Lumina or Gates Foundation grantees, such as the New America Foundation.

List of editors
  • James Russell Lowell, 1857–61
  • James Thomas Fields, 1861–71
  • William Dean Howells, 1871–81
  • Thomas Bailey Aldrich, 1881–90
  • Horace Elisha Scudder, 1890–98
  • Walter Hines Page, 1898–99
  • Bliss Perry, 1899–1909
  • Ellery Sedgwick, 1909–38
  • Edward A. Weeks, 1938–66
  • Robert Manning, 1966–80
  • William Whitworth, 1980–99
  • Michael Kelly, 1999–2003
  • Cullen Murphy, 2003–2006 (interim editor, never named editor in chief)
  • James Bennet, 2006–present
List of issues
  • The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 113. Contributor Carl Sandburg Collections (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library). Atlantic Monthly Company. 1914. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 

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