With this issue—our 416th—we mark the end of an era. Last week Dick became managing editor of LIFE. He is succeeded by PEOPLE Executive Editor Patricia Ryan.
The thriving enterprise which Pat Ryan inherits owes much of its energy and health to its founding editor. A marathoner in fact (he has run the New York City Marathon three times) and in spirit (the pace and length of his days at PEOPLE set a daunting example), Dick Stolley took a germinal idea for a new magazine and made of it not only a great publishing success but also a new kind of journalism. Inspiring a youthful staff with his dedication, he managed to fashion a magazine with an exuberant voice and a fresh perspective on the way people live.
PEOPLE is not a solemn publication; it is, and is meant to be, entertaining. But Dick saw PEOPLE as something more than that; he wanted it to be informative, educational, touching. He once said the magazine should "bring ballet to businessmen, rock music to Mozart lovers, tales of ordinary people doing extraordinary things to the sophisticated and blasé." He brought to the magazine a deep sense of responsibility: to the reader, to story subjects, to the truth. In handling what he called "that most fragile of merchandise, the facts about another human being," he set a high and unswerving standard of fairness. In doing that, I believe, he set PEOPLE apart from others in this now crowded field.
For Dick, taking over at LIFE represents a homecoming. A journalist since he was 15 years old and sports editor at the Pekin, III. Daily Times, he joined the weekly LIFE as a reporter in 1953 and became, successively, a correspondent, bureau chief and, finally, assistant managing editor. LIFE is fortunate to have him back.
And PEOPLE is fortunate to have Pat Ryan to succeed him. The first woman appointed managing editor of a Time Inc. magazine in 27 years, Pat joined the company 22 years ago as a secretary at SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. While earning her degree in history from Columbia University, she rose eventually to the position of articles editor. This is her third promotion since coming to PEOPLE four years ago as a senior editor—a distinguished and sharply vertical career attributable to her acute story sense, flawless graphic and editorial tastes, and the same human sensitivity which Dick Stolley established as a hallmark of the magazine.
There has been another change on our masthead as well, this one on the business side. Richard B. Thomas, the Associate Publisher and the magazine's original Advertising Sales Director, has returned to TIME to become Associate Publisher and Worldwide Advertising Sales Director. Much of PEOPLE'S commercial success is traceable to Dick Thomas, for which we express our appreciation. His successor as Advertising Sales Director is William S. Myers, formerly of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.
To the other two Richards, Stolley and Thomas, go my gratitude and very best wishes. To Pat Ryan and Bill Myers go our highest hopes and heartiest congratulations.
Last month PEOPLE celebrated a birthday, our eighth. During all those years Richard B. Stolley has been the magazine's managing editor. He has chosen virtually every word and every picture that have appeared. In an almost literal sense, he is PEOPLE.