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managed to make some temporary contracts to increase our supply of
paper, bad paper. Then we made some long term contracts with, I
believe it was, St. Regis to give us a lot more good paper. The
circulation, of course, was allowed to just bounce up and the
subscriptions came in at a fantastic rate on Life, particularly, but
also on Time and Fortune.
We suddenly became aware of the fact that our circulation system
belonged to the Middle Ages, namely, each subscriber was listed on a
small metal plate. All these metal plates were linked together and
every week you had to take out the metal plates of those whose
subscriptions had expired and put in in the right position the metal
plate of the new subscribers. Within a few years, our subscription
lists had doubled or tripled and this equipment was absolutely
hopeless in terms of doing the trick. At one point, we had, I
believe, 3000 employees doing nothing but that in Chicago.
In other words, working in a crisis situation?
Working on this antiquated system.
It's my understanding that circulation fulfillment in and around
1945 was a big problem. It was near chaos. Is that what you're
That's what I'm talking about. It was impossible to handle
that because literally it was a hand operation and you had to add,
say, 100,000 a week and take out 20,000 a week, by hand. You can
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