Until the Atlantic Monthly was founded in 1857, the NAR was perhaps the foremost magazine in the US. In 1878, it moved to New York City, where publication continued until 1940, when its production was stopped, as a result of a scandal having to do with the wartime activities of its owner. In 1964, it was officially revived by Iowa poet Robert Dana at Cornell College, who then served as its editor for four years. In 1968, when Cornell College decided to sell the magazine, it was purchased by the University of Northern Iowa (which the year before had changed from a state college to a university). Appointed as its new editor was poet and fiction writer Robley Wilson, who continued to edit the magazine until his retirement in 2000. Its current co-editors, Vince Gotera and Grant Tracey, were appointed in the same year.
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The NAR is the country’s
oldest literary magazine. The
only older magazine in the US
is the Saturday Evening Post.
The North American Review was founded in Boston in 1815 by its first editor, William Tudor (1779-1830), and other members of the Anthology Club. It was their intention to rival the leading British magazines.
Reproduced at left is a letter from one of the magazine’s distinguished early subscribers, Thomas Jefferson. Dated March 27, 1825, it asks the NAR to adjust his subscription.
The Magazine’s Historic Past
During its long history, the NAR has been edited by such well-known literary figures as Charles Eliot Norton [pictured at left], James Russell Lowell, and Henry Adams. Equally prominent people have written for the magazine, among them John Adams, William Cullen Bryant, Andrew Carnegie, Joseph Conrad, Richard Henry Dana, Henry James, William James, Chief Joseph, Abraham Lincoln, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, John Steinbeck, Mark Twain, Daniel Webster, H.G. Wells, Walt Whitman, and Woodrow Wilson.
During the same period, it has increasingly been cited for the excellence of its visual art, including its full-color covers and interior black and white story illustrations.
the NAR is published by the university of northern iowa