Before the printing press, townsfolk kept up with current events by gossiping with the milkmaid or hiding in the pant leg of the mayor. Stay informed with this Groupon.
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The year was 1902, and young Edwin Thomas Meredith was about to get married. His grandfather had a special nuptial gift to give: a handful of $20 coins to buy a controlling interest in the family newspaper, the Farmer's Tribune. Attached to the paper's debt-filled finance sheet was a note that said "Sink or swim," so E.T. Meredith strapped on his proverbial scuba flippers. Just over a decade later, subscriptions for Meredith's debut magazine Successful Farming were up from 500 to more than 500,000. In 1922, the company launched Fruit, Garden and Home—renamed Better Homes and Gardens in 1924—and a publishing powerhouse made its national debut.
More than a century after its founding, Meredith Corporation remains rooted in the old-fashioned ideals that E.T. held to on his wedding day. Their line-up, however, has evolved to suit the times. Alongside Better Homes and Gardens, Meredith publishes the creativity-inspiring magazine Do It Yourself, wellness-oriented cooking magazine Eating Well, lifestyle magazine Martha Stewart Living, regionally focused magazines such as Midwest Living and Country Life, and the Spanish-language monthlies Siempre Mujer and Ser Padres. Of course, they stick with the stuff that works, too. Successful Farming is still going strong, and Talkin' Bout Talkies only folded last year when silent pictures made a comeback. Rooted in the past, but always reaching toward the future, Meredith's magazines keep old traditions alive and vibrant.