The Oldest Continuously Published Magazine in the World?June 27, 2008
Just came back from a three-day visit to Prague, the Czech Republic, and came back with a great pleasant surprise. I was told (and shown), thanks to Publisher Frank Hitzert, the oldest continuously published magazine in the world: Květy. Hitzert told me that Květy was first published in 1834 and is getting ready to celebrate its 175th anniversary next year. The oldest continuously published magazine in the United States is believed to be Scientific American which was first published in 1845, that is 11 years after Květy has been published.
After two days of seminars for Sanoma Magazines Praha, the knowledge of probably finding the oldest continuously published magazine in the world was the best gift a person like me could have ever received. It was a real answer to the tee-shirt that I bought challenging people to “Czech Me Out.” I did, and I was delighted to find Květy. Publisher Hitzert, of Sanoma Magazines Praha, shared with me some of Květy history which I do not mind sharing with you too…
The Czech magazine Květy (meaning: flowers), which will celebrate its 175th anniversary in 2009, was founded in 1834 by publisher J.H. Pospíšil. As far as we know, Květy is the oldest magazine in the world. It was first published as a quarterly, soon as a bi-monthly, and already since decades as a weekly. The magazine’s very first editor was famous playwright Josef Kajetán Tyl, author of the lyrics of the Czech national anthem. Since 1834 Květy has been published without any interruption, even during both World Wars.
The list of Květy editors and contributors reads like the „Who‘s who“ of Czech culture and science. Working for the magazine always used to be a matter of prestige. Among the contributors were Karel Hynek Mácha, Jan Neruda, Jakub Arbes, Karel Havlíček Borovský, Vítězslav Hálek, Rudolf Těsnohlídek, Božena Němcová, Alois Jirásek – still famous names in Czech history. Especially during the 19th century Květy served as a major forum of „national revival“ – when the Czech society started to emancipate from the German language domination in arts & sciences as well as from Austrian domination in politics.
In the 20th century it changed its focus more towards reportages and stories; both domestic and foreign. After 1989, the year of the Velvet Revolution, Květy continued in its best traditions, but adapting the new era quickly and successful.
Today weekly magazine Květy is well-known for its unique family concept, safeguarded by Editor-in-Chief Pavel Traub. With an average sold circulation of 115,000 copies and the most impressive readership figures (488,000 readers per week) it still maintains its number one position in its segment.
What do you think? Do you of a magazine that has been continuously published older than Květy? Let me hear from you and happy early 175th anniversary to Květy and its team.