First issue of Life is published On November 23, 1936, the first issue of the pictorial magazine Life is published, featuring a cover photo of the Fort Peck Dam by Margaret Bourke-White. Life actually had its start earlier in the 20th century as a different kind of magazine: a weekly humor publication, not unlike today’s The New Yorker in its use of tart cartoons, humorous pieces and cultural reporting. When the original Life folded during the Great Depression, the influential American publisher Henry Luce bought the name and re-launched the magazine as a picture-based periodical on this day in 1936. By this time, Luce had already enjoyed great success as the publisher of Time, a weekly news magazine. From his high school days, Luce was a newsman, serving with his friend Briton Hadden as managing editors of their school newspaper. This partnership continued through their college years at Yale University, where they acted as chairmen and managing editors of the Yale Daily News, as well as after college, when Luce joined Hadden at The Baltimore News in 1921. It was during this time that Luce and Hadden came up with the idea for Time. When it launched in 1923, it was with the intention of delivering the world’s news through the eyes of the people who made it. Whereas the original mission of Time was to tell the news, the mission of Lifewas to show it. In the words of Luce himself, the magazine was meant to provide a way for the American people “to see life; to see the world; to eyewitness great events … to see things thousands of miles away… to see and be amazed; to see and be instructed… to see, and to show…” Luce set the tone of the magazine with Margaret Bourke-White’s stunning cover photograph of the Fort Peck Dam, which has since become an icon of the 1930s and the great public works completed under President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. Life was an overwhelming success in its first year of publication. Almost overnight, it changed the way people looked at the world by changing the way people could look at the world. Its flourish of images painted vivid pictures in the public mind, capturing the personal and the public, and putting it on display for the world to take in. At its peak, Life had a circulation of over 8 million and it exerted considerable influence on American life in the beginning and middle of the 20th century. With picture-heavy content as the driving force behind its popularity,the magazine suffered as television became society’s predominant means of communication. Life ceased running as a weekly publication in 1972, when it began losing audience and advertising dollars to television. In 2004, however, it resumed weekly publication as a supplement to U.S. newspapers. At its re-launch, its combined circulation was once again in the millions. 1859 Billy the Kid born The infamous Western outlaw known as “Billy the Kid” is born in a poor Irish neighborhood on New York City’s East Side. Before he was shot dead at age 21, Billy reputedly killed 27 people in the American West. Billy the Kid called himself William H. Bonney, but his original name was probably Henry McCarty. Bonney was his mother Catherine’s maiden name, and William was the first name of his mother’s longtime companion–William Antrin–who acted as Billy’s father after his biological father disappeared. Around 1865, Billy and his brother traveled west to Indiana with their mother and Antrin, and by 1870 the group was in Wichita, Kansas. They soon moved farther west, down the cattle trails, and in 1873 a legally married Catherine and William Antrin appeared on record in New Mexico territory. In 1874, Billy’s mother died of lung cancer in Silver City. Billy soon left his brother and stepfather and took off into the New Mexicosagebrush. He worked as a ranch hand and in 1876 supposedly killed his first men, a group of reservation Apache Indians, in the Guadalupe Mountains. According to legend, it was not long before Billy killed another man, a blacksmith in Camp Grant, Arizona. Billy the Kid, as people began calling him, next found work as a rancher and bodyguard for John Tunstall, a English-born rancher who operated out of Lincoln, New Mexico. When members of a rival cattle gang killed Tunstall, in 1878, Billy became involved in the so-called Lincoln County War. Enraged at Tunstall’s murder, Billy became a leader of a vigilante posse of “regulators” sent to arrest the killers. No arrests were made, however. Two of the murderers were shot dead by Billy’s posse, and a worsening blood feud soon escalated into all-out warfare. After Billy’s gang shot dead Lincoln Sheriff Bill Brady, who had sanctioned Tunstall’s murder, Billy’s enemies conspired with the territorial authorities to do away with the regulators. In July 1878, the rival gang surrounded the house where Billy and his gang were staying just outside of town. The siege stretched on for five days, and a U.S. Army squadron from nearby Fort Stanton was called in. Still, Billy and his gang refused to surrender. Suddenly, the regulators made a mass escape, and Billy and several of the other regulators miraculously managed to shoot their way out of town. After more than two years on the run, Billy was arrested by Lincoln Sheriff Pat Garrett, a man Billy had previously befriended before Garrett became a lawman. In April 1881, Billy was found guilty of the murder of Sheriff Brady and was sentenced to hang. On April 28, two weeks before his scheduled execution, Billy wrested a gun from one of his jailers and shot him and another deputy dead in a daring escape that received considerable national attention. On the night of July 14, 1881, Garrett finally tracked Billy down at a ranch near Fort Sumner, New Mexico. He gained access to the house where Billy was visiting a girlfriend and then surprised him in the dark. Before the outlaw could offer resistance, Garret fired a bullet into his chest. Billy the Kid was dead at age 21.