Publishers Documenting American History

Detroit Publishing Company window, New York City

Detroit Publishing Company window, New York City

From the beginning of U.S. History, companies have been publishing magazines, newspapers, books, art, and photographs, documenting America. Though we cannot possibly list all of the organizations that have left their mark on American History, several of these companies and publishers have “contributed” to the many pages of Legends of America. Throughout the website, written words and illustrations appear that have been culled from newspapers such as the New York Times and the Tombstone, Arizona Epitaph to magazines such as Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper and Harper’s Weekly to art and photo publishing organizations. Other “contributors” include Federal organizations, such as the Farm Security Administration, The Federal Writers’ Project, and the National Park Service.

Historic Publishers & Companies:

Bain News Service (1898-1944) – Established by George Grantham Bain, a visionary who saw the potential of coupling photographs with words in newspapers and magazines. The news photo service focused on both people and events, from politics to sports, from disasters to celebrations.

Currier & Ives (1834-1907) – A successful printmaking firm headed by Nathaniel Currier and James Merritt Ives, the company produced prints from paintings by fine artists as black and white lithographs that were hand-colored. Lithographic prints could be reproduced quickly and purchased inexpensively, leading the company to describe itself as “the Grand Central Depot for Cheap and Popular Prints” and advertised its lithographs as “colored engravings for the people.” The company was based in New York City.

Detroit Publishing Company (late 1890s-1924)  – The Detroit Publishing Company was an American photographic publishing firm best known for its large assortment of photochrom color postcards and prints.

Farm Security Administration (1937-1944) – The Farm Security Administration (FSA) was created in the Department of Agriculture in 1937. This was a New Deal program designed to assist poor farmers during the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. The program hired several photographers to document rural and urban conditions throughout the United States.

The Federal Writers’ Project (1935-1939) – The Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) was a United States federal government project to fund written work and support writers during the Great Depression. It was part of the Works Progress Administration, a New Deal program established on July 27, 1935.

Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper (1855-1922) – Often referred to as Leslie’s Weekly, this was a very popular illustrated literary and news magazine published in New York for a national audience.

Harper’s Weekly (1857-1916) – An American political magazine based in New York City, it was published by Harper & Brothers and featured foreign and domestic news, fiction, essays on many subjects, and humor.

© Kathy Alexander/Legends of America, updated January 2024.

William Henry Jackson

William Henry Jackson

Also See:

Documenting American History

President Roosevelt’s New Deal

Photographers in American History

Writers in American History