The Century Company of New York City first published its magazine in 1881. Though originally known as The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, a problem with management and the death of Charles Scribner, caused the name to be changed to The Century Magazine. The first editor was Dr. Josiah Holland, but unfortunately he died before the first issue of the magazine came out. Richard Watson Gilder, an American poet, was quickly promoted from associate editor to editor, replacing the now deceased Dr. Holland.
The Century Magazine was known for excellent articles, but the series that magazine was most notated for was a three year run on the Civil War. Despite the fact that the North won the war, the magazine was extremely fair and sympathetic to both sides of the conflict. The Civil War series of articles featured over two hundred and thirty soldiers that fought during the war from both the North and the South.
The Century Magazine helped many authors receive recognition by publishing new fiction. Mark Twain, one of the most beloved authors in America was featured in the magazine with it publishing three excerpts from the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
In the first two decades of the 20th century, as magazines became cheaper and easier to publish, there was stiff competition among the journals to survive. By the twenties, The Century Magazine circulation began to decline and in an attempt to save it, the magazine merged with The Forum in 1930. The merger did not save the magazine, and The Century Magazine ceased publication that same year.