|ABSTRACT Kelley L. Massoni, Ph.D. Department of Sociology, 2007 University of Kansas Bringing Up "Baby": The Birth and Early Development Of Seventeen Magazine The 1940's saw the development of two important components of contemporary popular culture: the teenager as a socially-constructed subjectivity and the teen magazine. This project uses an extended case study design to analyze how the two developed in tandem through the microcosm of the first teen magazine, Seventeen. Drawing on archival materials, historical sources, oral histories, interviews, and the magazine issues, I examine Seventeen as a text, a business, a workplace, and the product of cultural agents from its birth in September 1944 through its sixth birthday in September 1950, paying special attention to two periods in its history: September 1944 to September 1945, representing the World War II period, and September 1949 to September 1950, representing the postwar period. Seventeen was the conceptual inspiration of founding editor-in-chief, Helen Valentine. Valentine, who called the magazine her "baby," envisioned a service and fashion magazine for high school girls, an idea that she sold to publisher Walter Annenberg. As the first teen magazine, Seventeen constructed the teen girl ideal in three venues: its editorial pages, promotional materials, and advertisements. Originally, Seventeen's editorial staff balanced fashion fare with advice on citizenship and careerism. Concurrently, however, Seventeen marketed teen girls as consumers to business, often through their prototype, "Teena." Advertisers responded in turn, selling not just products but a consumer role and feminine ideal to the readership. Seventeen's content and its representation of the teen girl ideal shifted rather dramatically between its birth and fifth birthday. Over time, consumer-friendly content increased, while citizenship-focused content declined as Seventeen=s discourse moved away from Valentine=s progressive model of service and citizenship and toward the more traditional model of fashion, romance and homemaking. I explain these changes by examining the social forces that exerted pressure on Valentine and Seventeen from the beginning, including the changing cultural milieu, the economic structure of the magazine industry; reader preferences; and power relations at the magazine. By Seventeen's sixth birthday, Valentine was no longer editor-in-chief, and the magazine and its teen girl ideal were moving away from their wartime service roots and into a new domesticated consumer future.