Home of the Meredith Publications, Des Moines, Iowav
The Meredith Publications Modern, Fireproof Plants–Five stories, 123×155, with elevator, annex 25×55, built of concrete, streel reinforced where Successful Farming, Better Homes and Gardens, and The Dairy Farmer are printed each month, using latests improved up-to-date machinery and equipment.
Edwin Thomas Meredith founded the company in 1902 when he began publishing Successful Farming magazine. In 1922, Meredith began publishing Fruit, Garden and Home magazine, a home and family service publication. In 1924, the magazine was retitled Better Homes and Gardens, and the first issue cost a dime on the newsstand.
On E. T. Meredith’s wedding day, his grandfather gave him several gold pieces, the controlling interest in his newspaper, and a note that said, “Sink or swim.” After returning his grandfather’s newspaper to profitability, Meredith sold it for a profit and began publishing a service-oriented farm magazine called Successful Farming in 1902. The magazine grew quickly, from a starting circulation of 500 to more than half a million subscribers by 1914. The company had grown proportionally, from five employees in 1902 to almost 200 in 1912. In 1999 the company had more than 2,500 employees and still occupied the same building that was established as company headquarters in 1912. The building went through some expansion as well, including an $18 million renovation completed in 1980.
After serving a year as Woodrow Wilson’s Secretary of Agriculture, E. T. Meredith returned to his company in 1920 and decided to publish more magazines. In 1922 the company purchased one magazine, Dairy Farmer, and launched another, Fruit, Garden and Home. Meredith tried to make Dairy Farmer a national success for five years before merging it with Successful Farming. Unable to make a profit until 1927, Fruit, Garden and Home, a magazine similar to Successful Farming for the home and family, had start-up difficulties as well. At first, advertisers paid $450 per black-and-white page in Fruit, Garden and Home, as opposed to Successful Farming’s rate of $1,800 per black-and-white page. After a name change in 1924 to Better Homes & Gardens, the magazine’s fortunes turned around, allowing it to command $1,800 per black-and-white page of advertising by 1925. By the time of E. T. Meredith’s death in 1928, the year he was considered a candidate for the presidency.
From “International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 29″1999, Funding Universe