Publisher's advertisement in Collier's Weekly
(January 6, 1898) announces new features including an increase in pages, more illustrations, new departments, and the beginning of Henry James
's novella The Turn of the Screw
Photography by Jimmy Hare
on the cover of Collier's Weekly
(March 19, 1898)
Peter F. Collier (1849–1909) left Ireland for the U.S. at age 17. Although he went to a seminary to become a priest, he instead started work as a salesman for P. J. Kenedy, publisher of books for the Roman Catholic market. When Collier wanted to boost sales by offering books on a subscription plan, it led to a disagreement with Kenedy, so Collier left to start his own subscription service. P. F. Collier & Son began in 1875, expanding into the largest subscription house in America with sales of 30 million books during the 1900–1910 decade.
With the issued dated April 28, 1888, Collier's Once a Week was launched as a magazine of "fiction, fact, sensation, wit, humor, news". It was sold with the biweekly Collier's Library of novels and popular books at bargain rates and as a stand-alone priced at seven cents. By 1892, with a circulation climbing past the 250,000 mark, Collier's Once a Week was one of the largest selling magazines in the United States. The name was changed to Collier's Weekly: An Illustrated Journal in 1895. With an emphasis on news, the magazine became a leading exponent of the halftone news picture. To fully exploit the new technology, Collier recruited James H. Hare, one of the pioneers of photojournalism.
Collier's only son, Robert J. Collier, became a full partner in 1898. By 1904, the magazine was known as Collier's: The National Weekly. Peter Collier died in 1909. When Robert Collier died in 1918, he left a will that turned the magazine over to three of his friends, Samuel Dunn, Harry Payne Whitney and Francis Patrick Garvan.
Robert J. Collier won a lawsuit against Postum Cereal Company and awarded a $50,000 in damages, but in 1912 an appeals court then handed down a majority decision that Postum deserved a new trial. The Postum Company believed that Collier's weekly used magazine coverage to attack their company's products in retaliation for not advertising in Collier's after Collier's wrote against a Grape-Nuts's claim that it was an "A Food for Brain and Nerves." Postum then bought advertising pages in major newspapers in retaliation.
The magazine was sold in 1919 to the Crowell Publishing Company, which in 1939 was renamed as Crowell-Collier Publishing Company.
In 1924 Crowell moved the printing operations from New York to Springfield, Ohio but kept the editorial and business departments in New York. Reasons given for moving print operations included conditions imposed by unions in the printing trade, expansion of the Gansevoort Market into the property occupied by the Collier plant and "excessive postage involved in mailing from a seaboard city under wartime postal rates. After 1924, printing of the magazine was done at the Crowell-Collier printing plant on West Main Street in Springfield, Ohio. The factory complex, much of which is no longer standing, was built between 1899 and 1946, and incorporates seven buildings that together have more than 846,000 square feet (78,600 m2)—20 acres (81,000 m2)—of floor space.