Nelson Rockefeller and TIME co-founder Henry R. Luce at the laying of the cornerstone of the new TIME & LIFE building, 1959.
Laurance Rockefeller and TIME co-founder Henry R. Luce at the laying of the cornerstone of the new TIME & LIFE building, 1959.Walter Daran—The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images
Nelson Rockefeller and TIME co-founder Henry R. Luce at the laying of the cornerstone of the new TIME & LIFE building, 1959.
Construction of the Time & Life Building at Avenue of the Americas and 50th Street, 1957.
Aerial view of the Rockefeller Center complex of buildings, at the center of which is the tallest, the RCA Building. In the foreground is the nearly completed Time-Life Building (1959, Harrison, Abramovitz, & Harris), where the company moved after its residence in the Time & Life Building at 9 Rockefeller Plaza.
Construction of the Time & Life Building at Avenue of the Americas and 50th Street, 1959.
High rise view of the new Time & Life building under construction, 1960.
Laurance Rockefeller and TIME co-founder Henry R. Luce at the laying of the cornerstone of the new TIME & LIFE build
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Walter Daran—The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images
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Inside TIME's Time Capsule

Correction appended, November 19

TIME departs for new offices next week, moving from its midtown Manhattan home of 55 years to a new building in Lower Manhattan. And we're really clearing out: a copper time capsule that was sealed during a ceremony on June 23, 1959, and placed in the building's 800-lb. cornerstone, is scheduled to be retrieved from the spot where it's spent the last half a century.

The 30 lbs. of documents inside include

  • Two LIFE books, a photographic history of World War II and a cookbook, to represent the publication's "interest in the arts of war and of peace."
  • Copies of recent issues of each Time Inc. publication, including the Mar. 16, 1959, issue of TIME. (You can read that whole issue here, in the TIME Vault.)
  • Program logs from the radio and TV stations that TIME owned.
  • A brochure about paper, from a Time Inc.-owned pulp and paper company.
  • Documents relating to the company's founding, including the 1922 TIME prospectus, a letter from Henry Luce relating to the launch of Sports Illustrated and a wartime pony edition of TIME, of the type provided for soldiers in World War II to keep abreast of the news.
  • Samples of some of the noteworthy art that had been reproduced in the pages of LIFE.
  • Documents about how the magazines were printed.
  • Several speeches given by Henry Luce on the subject of journalism.
  • Information about the company's history, including the first annual report, the booklet given to job applicants and a directory of personnel.
  • Microfilm information about Rockefeller Center.
  • "Red pencil preferred by original TIME editors, still in use."

The original idea was that when the capsule was opened in 2023, on the company's 100th birthday, the items would be replaced or supplemented with contemporary documents, then resealed for opening in 2123. That plan may well still happen—just not where its creators imagined.

This isn't the first move for TIME. In March of 1960, as TIME and the other Time Inc. publications completed their move to New York City's Time & Life Building, publisher James A. Linen summed up the experience then. "Moving a magazine is like ordering 100,000 gallons of alphabet soup, to go," he wrote. "Last week, in Manhattan, it went."

Next week, in Manhattan, it will go once again.

Read more: A Tour of the TIME & LIFE Building of the 1960s

Correction: A caption in the original version of this gallery misidentified the person pictured with Henry Luce at the cornerstone ceremony. He is Laurance Rockefeller.

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