Biography and History

Story magazine was founded in 1931 by journalist and editor Whit Burnett and his first wife, Martha Foley. The inaugural April/May 1931 issue of Story (167 copies) was printed on an old mimeograph machine in Vienna, Austria, and featured short stories by new authors. In 1933, the printing of Story was moved to New York City. Burnett and Foley created The Story Press in 1936. By the late 1930s, Story's circulation had reached as high as 21,000 copies. Authors discovered and published by Story in those early, fruitful years included Joseph Heller, J. D. Salinger, Tennessee Williams, and Richard Wright. Story also published the early work of such authors as Carson McCullers, William Saroyan, and Ludwig Bemelmans, and sponsored numerous awards, including W.P.A., Armed Forces, and an annual college fiction contest.

Beginning in 1942, Burnett's second wife, Hallie Southgate Burnett, collaborated with him on both The Story Press and Story, with the latter publishing the early work of Norman Mailer, Truman Capote, and John Knowles. In the early 1950s, Story was briefly published in book form. The original magazine format returned in 1960, and endured until publication was suspended in 1967 due to a lack of funds. However, Story's name continued to live on through the Story College Creative Awards, of which Whit Burnett was director from 1966 to 1971.

After a twenty-year hiatus, Story was revived as a quarterly magazine by publisher Richard Rosenthal and editor Lois Rosenthal, also a husband and wife team, who fulfilled their promise to Whit Burnett that they would relaunch Story one day. This new version of Story was published from 1989 to 1999, under the auspices of F & W Publications in Cincinnati, Ohio. Story was a five-time finalist and two-time winner of the National Magazine Award for fiction, and had a circulation of over 40,000 subscribers. The Rosenthals carried on the Story tradition of publishing a mix of well-known authors, such as Andrea Barrett, Barry Lopez, Joyce Carol Oates, and Carol Shields, and new authors, such as Junot Díaz, Elizabeth Graver, and Abraham Rodriguez. In late 1999, owing to the impending sale of F & W Publications, the Rosenthals made the decision to end their stewardship of Story with the publication of a final Winter 2000 issue.

Source: From the finding aid for C0104

  • Archives of Story Magazine and Story Press. 1931-1999 (inclusive).

    Call Number: C0104

    Consists of the fairly complete working business files of the original Story and other related publishing ventures of owner-editors Martha Foley and Whit and Hallie Burnett, and the new Story author files of Richard and Lois Rosenthal. Included are editorial and personal correspondence, business and financial records, and artwork.

  • Archives of Story Magazine and Story Press. 1931-1999 (inclusive).

    Call Number: C0104

    Consists of the fairly complete working business files of the original Story and other related publishing ventures of owner-editors Martha Foley and Whit and Hallie Burnett, and the new Story author files of Richard and Lois Rosenthal. Included are editorial and personal correspondence, business and financial records, and artwork.