10 Things You Didn’t Know About TIME

A new book, Inside the Red Border, celebrates the magazine's 90-year history. A look at the greatest covers that never ran, the woman who has been on the magazine’s front page more than any other, and the story that unleashed the greatest number of complaints in the magazine’s history

  • Share
  • Read Later

1. TIME has pulled out its famous red X to mark the end of four men and one flag: Adolf Hitler (1945), the Japanese flag (1945), Saddam Hussein (2003—three years before the Iraqi leader’s actual death), al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (2006), and Osama bin Laden (2011).

Time Magazine Hitler


2. As of July 2013, men have appeared on the cover 4,267 times; women only 754 times.

3. Richard Nixon has graced TIME’s cover more than any other person, appearing on the front-page 55 times so far.

4. Hillary Clinton has outpaced all other women, earning 19 covers as of Oct. 2013.

5. TIME’s best-selling issue was the its Sept. 11 commemorative edition, published on September 14, 2001. It sold 3,397,721 copies on newsstands.

Time 9/11 Commemorative Issue


6. So, why the red border? TIME’s ad execs were told in 1930 that to perform better on newsstands, the magazine’s covers should have “pretty girls, babies or red and yellow.” Only one of the four seemed appropriate.

7. Three notable covers that never ran:

Time Magazine The New New Deal

The New New Deal, 2008

“The editors opted for a photo-illustration of Obama’s head on FDR instead of C.F. Payne’s painting.”


Time Magazine Bush's Last Stand

Bush’s Last Stand, 2007

“This take on the U.S. surge in Iraq was set aside for a black-and-white photo of a serviceman’s face.”

Time Magazine Gloria Swanson

Boris Chaliapin. National Portrait Gallery/Smithsonian

Gloria Swanson, 1951

“TIME planned to do a cover on Gloria Swanson if she won an Oscar for Sunset Boulevard in 1951, but she lost out to Judy Holliday.”

8. A 1973 cover on the steamy film, The Last Tango in Paris, incited the most reader’s letters in the magazine’s history: 12,191 (6,710 were cancellations and non-renewals).

9. The first TIME cover without an image (and one of the most controversial) was “Is God Dead?” published 1966.

Time Magazine Is God Dead

10. TIME didn’t change “Man of the Year” to “Person of the Year” until 1999 (though it broke the formula many times before then, beginning with Wallis Simpson as “Woman of the Year” in 1936).

For more TIME history, from war reporting to American social trends, check out Inside the Red Border.