From GQ ancestor to E pluribus unum

US seal on Wikipedia

US seal on Wikipedia

Trivia of the day from a 2003 book review from the Financial Times:

Who would have thought, for instance, that E pluribus unum, the Latin motto on the Great Seal of the US, should have been taken from the title page of a magazine that eventually became GQ, that bible to men’s fashion?

A new one on me, but the writer and cricket aficionado, Philip Coggan (who later went off become Bagehot at the Economist) must have got it from the book he was writing about, Greenback: The almighty dollar and the invention of history by Jason Goodwin (Hamish Hamilton).

Wikipedia has several derivations, one involving a magazine. Though how you trace a line from the British title  The Gentleman’s Magazine at the time of the US revolution to
Condé Nast’s GQ, launched in 1927, looks a tad tricky. Others have made the motto link too.

Edward Cave is credited with creating the first modern magazine model in 1731 with The Gentleman’s Magazine – mainly because he is credited in Dr Johnson’s dictionary with coining the word ‘magazine’ to describe a periodical (Johnson wrote for the magazine). However, Cave copied much of his concept from an earlier periodical, The Gentleman’s Journal of Motteux, published by Peter Motteux, from 1692-4. And alongside the concept and the type, one of things he took from Motteux was his motto – E pluribus unum.

You can still visit the building where Cave worked, and see a copy of his magazine, at St John’s Gate in London’s Clerkenwell.

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