The Dial Timeline
1840-1844 – The Dial, published in Boston and Concord, is launched as the principal journal of the Transcendentalists. Bronson Alcott proposes the title to suggest a sundial. It is edited by Margaret Fuller and Ralph Waldo Emerson.
1860 – The Dial is revived in Cincinnati as a monthly review. Edited by Moncure D. Conway, it is the first relaunch of the original magazine; it closes after a year.
1880-1913 – The Dial appears in another incarnation in Chicago, as a monthly political and literary review under the auspices of Francis F. Browne. Browne edits the magazine for over three decades, establishing The Dial as a leading publication.
1913-1916 – Death of Francis F. Browne. His family, unable to effectively manage the magazine, sells it to Martyn Johnson in 1916. The editorial staff includes luminaries such as Randolph Bourne, John Dewey, Thorstein Veblen and Harold Stearn. Johnson transforms it into a political journal, with little literary and art content.
1917-1918 – James Sibley Watson, Jr. and Scofield Thayer contribute reviews to The Dial.
1918 – In April, Thayer purchases $600.00 worth of stock to help the financially needy journal. Thayer spends several weeks, from May to June, in Chicago at The Dial offices and by June, is working as a Contributing Editor at $30 a week. In July, the magazine moves its headquarters to New York in the heart of Greenwich Village at 152 West 13th Street, where it would remain through its closure in 1929. In October, Thayer becomes Associate Editor and Secretary-Treasurer of The Dial. Thayer resigns in December, incensed over Johnson’s editorial policies. Thayer, nonetheless, honors his agreement to invest another $10,000 to help keep the magazine running.
1919 – By the fall, Johnson is unable to meet notes for $10,000 worth of stock; in November, Watson and Thayer step in and purchase the failing Dial.
1920 – The Dial is relaunched as an arts and literary review. It is the first magazine to integrate literary contributions with artwork. The inaugural issue appears in January with Scofield Thayer listed as Editor and James Sibley Watson, Jr. as President. Thayer almost single-handedly ushers in the modern era, publishing the “best” work of all the Modernist literati in the U.S. and Europe, notably T.S. Eliot, E.E. Cummings, William Butler Yeats and Ezra Pound — many for the first time. And he introduces little-known artists such as Brancusi, Cezanne, Chagall, Delauney, Matisse, Picasso and Schiele through the pages of The Dial.
1920-1923 – Gilbert Seldes serves as Associate and Managing Editor.
1921 – The Dial Award is launched, establishing a model for honoring the work of writers that has since been adopted by most major literary awards. The June 1921 issue announces the creation of the Dial Award, $2,000 to be presented to one of its contributors, acknowledging his/her "service to letters" in hopes of providing the artist with "leisure through which at least one artist may serve God (or go to the Devil) according to his own lights." At the time, the $2,000 award would allow a generous lifestyle for a year. Sherwood Anderson receives the first award.
1922 – Color appears in The Dial with a reproduction of Franz Marc’s Horses in the September frontispiece. Color plates were printed in Berlin, first by Herwarth Walden and later by Julius Meier-Graefe, and tipped in at the printers in the U.S. T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land is published in November and in January he receives The Dial Award.
1923 – Dial literary critic Van Wyck Brooks receives The Dial Award. Thayer launches the "Dial dinners". Inspired by the European "salons", these weekday dinners were hosted by Thayer in the top-floor dining room at the Dial offices for magazine contributors and staff.
1924 – Publication of the folio Living Art, the best of modern art, compiled by Scofield Thayer. The extensive and cutting-edge Dial Collection is exhibited at the Montross Gallery in New York, the Worcester Art Museum, and the Hillyer Art Gallery at Smith College. Marianne Moore receives The Dial Award.
1924-1925 – Alyse Gregory serves as Managing Editor.
1925-1926 – Thayer's last Comment (editorial) appears in May 1925. He resigns from his active duties as Editor in June 1926. Appointment of Marianne Moore as Acting Editor. Thayer will continue to contribute poems on occasion, and will financially support the magazine until it closes.
1925 – E.E. Cummings, whose first post-college publication was in The Dial, receives The Dial Award. The Harvard Advocate pays tribute to The Dial in April by choosing Thayer's magazine as the subject of its annual parody issue.
1926 – On receiving The Dial Award, William Carlos Williams, the Pulitzer prize-winning poet recalled that the “Award was an epoch making event for me, it put me on my feet.”
1927-1929 – Marianne Moore is listed on the masthead as Editor, and Scofield Thayer, as Advisor.
1927 – Ezra Pound, contributor and Paris correspondent, receives The Dial Award.
1928 – Kenneth Burke, long-time contributor, is the last writer to receive The Dial Award.
1929 – Final issue of The Dial (July). The raison d’etre of The Dial, to promote Modernism, was a success. The Museum of Modern Art was founded that same year. Modernism had become mainstream.