Conrad First The Joseph Conrad Periodical Archive

Current Opinion (New York, NY, USA)

July 1913
Launched as a twenty-five cent monthly in July 1888, Current Literature: A Magazine of Record and Review quickly became a major rival of two other New York miscellanies, Littell's Living Age and Eclectic Magazine. It changed its name to Current Opinion in January 1913. Editors included Frederick M. Somers (1888-91), William Geoge Jordan (1891-94); Bliss Carman (1895-96), George Washington Cable (1897), and Edward Jewitt Wheeler (1905-20).

A high-quality digest of literary gossip and news, poetry, short stories, and features on topics of the day, Current Literature enjoyed a circulation of 40,000 in the mid-1890s. In taking a stronger editorial line after 1903, it came to resemble The Review of Reviews. With magazines increasingly reluctant to allow reprints of their best articles, both the quality and circulation of Current Literature languished until the appointment of Wheeler, whose initiatives included an annual fiction competition that was to become The O. Henry Award.

The liveliness of its tone can be gauged from the titles of the following articles published in 1918: 'Spanish Dancers Who Have Made New York Sit Up and Take Notice'; 'Are Many Women Replacing Soldiers in Industrial Work?'; 'Take a Good Look at This Motor Car of the Future'; 'Memories of the Drunk That Go When They Are Sober'; and 'Now for Whale Meat and Sharkskin Shoes'. By the time of it was absorbed by The Literary Digest in 1925, Current Opinion had drawn on the latest marketing and publicity techniques in order to raise its circulation to 100,000.

Mott, Frank Luther. A History of American Magazines, Volume IV: 1885-1905. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1957. 506-10.