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Andrew HeiskellAndrew Heiskell
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at Life. Do you recall, with Thorndike becoming managing editor, Thompson as his assistant, Longwell was named something, T was made chairman of the board of editors and apparently a new structure was set up whereby instead of many departments, four divisions were formed, the news, the culture, the modern living, and all others, which would produce stories from beginning to end and then send them to the editor. Do you recall--and then, of course, in 1946 you were named publisher, I think, and there was an effort in 1946 to, quote unquote, redefine Life editorially. What happened?


Well, those are separate questions. The structural one was something that I think Thorndike dreamed up. Thorndike was made managing editor, Dan Longwell having said that he was tired and didn't want to be involved in the day-to-day operation and staying in late at night and so on. Thorndike was a rather cool, reserved, New Englandish type who was well organized and I think that was his idea of structure, because he was a considerable delegator and he tried to arrange things very rationally and that structure, I believe was mainly his. I think it was dismantled by Thompson afterwards.


According to Elson, that's why I'm asking you if you remember, to say whether it was right or wrong, in fact that structure was imposed upon him by Luce because Luce never really had all that much faith in Thorndike. Does that ring a bell or make sense?


No, that doesn't ring a bell.

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