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Texas Monthly Magazine

Organizational History

Scope and Contents

Additional Finding Aids

Processing Notes

Series I: Editorial Files
Subseries A: Issue Files
Subseries B: Editors' Files

Appendix A: Texas Monthly Staff 1974-1979
Appendix B: Correspondence Index

Sample pages from the archives

Texas Monthly

 

Texas Monthly Magazine Archives

1972 - ongoing

900 linear feet (total)
44 linear ft., 88 document cases (processed)

Note: Additional Texas Monthly archives are received on an ongoing basis. Contact the archivist for the latest information on our holdings.

Acquisition: Gifts donated by Michael Levy and Texas Monthly , since 1994.
Access: Direct inquiries to Archivist, Albert B. Alkek Library, 601 University Drive, San Marcos, Texas 78666-4604. (512) 245-2313.

Processed by: Carolyn S. McClurkan, C.A., 2000. Funding provided by the Texas State Libraries and Archives Commission.


Organizational History:
Texas Monthly magazine was founded in 1972 by its publisher, Michael R. Levy, a 26 year-old native Dallasite who was "convinced that my state was ready for a really first class magazine that will appeal directly to the sophisticated, cosmopolitan folks that Texans have become." (Texas Monthly, Feb. 1973). Levy brought aboard 27 year-old William Broyles, Jr. as editor. Broyles assembled an editorial staff that was short on journalistic experience but imbued with curiousity, intelligence, irreverence, and literary skills. Many of Texas Monthly's early staffers were friends of Broyles from Rice University, where the intellectual climate helped set the tone for the magazine. As Broyles later wrote, "If any one quality unites these farflung efforts, it is a boundless curiosity. Most of our stories began with one of us saying "I wonder..." (The Best of Texas Monthly: The First Five Years.)

Texas Monthly's first issue was published in February 1973, and it was not an immediate commercial success, selling only about 35,000 copies. But the magazine quickly gained recognition for offering a significant departure from the rest of the state's media. Texas Monthly contained intelligent and entertaining examinations of Texas life ranging from politics, culture, art, sports, personalities, lifestyles, the environment, fashion, crime, business, education, entertainment, and travel. Along the way, the magazine began to define how Texas was emerging as a contemporary urban state while still clinging to its rural mythic past.

From its beginnings, Texas Monthly developed a reputation as a "writer's magazine," and it helped develop new generations of writing talent while also offering a welcome forum for established voices. Texas Monthly hired many young writers as full-time staff members with benefits, creating a community of professional writers centered near the magazine's home base in Austin.

In 1974, after only one year of existence, the editorial staff's efforts were rewarded with a National Magazine Award (the industry equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize) for Specialized Journalism. Since then Texas Monthly has established a solid reputation for editorial excellence, winning eight National Magazine Awards and 38 nominations- a record surpassed by only The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's and Esquire.

Texas Monthly's editorial accomplishments have been matched by its financial success. Its circulation increased from 20,000 in 1973 to nearly 200,000 by 1976. By the end of the 1970s, Texas Monthly was considered one of the top publications in the country, wielding major cultural and political influence in Texas and serving as a model for the startup of several other regional magazines across the country.

In 1981 Gregory Curtis succeeded William Broyles as Editor. By 1988 Texas Monthly was generating $23 million annually in advertising revenue and had a circulation of 307,000, reaching two and a half million readers with each issue. It has continued to win National Magazine Awards in the 1990s, and in January 2000 the Columbia Journalism Review named Greg Curtis one of the ten best magazine editors in the country. Also in January 2000, the Magazine Publishers of America presented publisher Mike Levy with the Henry Johnson Fisher Award for Lifetime Achievement in the magazine industry.

Organizationally, Texas Monthly underwent a profound change in 1998 when its owner, Mediatex corporation, primarily owned by Mike Levy, sold the magazine to Emmis Broadcasting, an Indianapolis-based communications company, for $37 million. Levy remained as publisher and Curtis continued as Editor. In June 2000 Greg Curtis announced his retirement. Chosen to replace him was Evan Smith, who has served as Texas Monthly's Deputy Editor since 1994.

Appendix A lists staff names and titles which appear in the first five years of the Editorial Series.