Phelps is the latest local on `Time' front

Magazine covers through the decades feature Md. links

August 04, 2004|By Stephanie Shapiro | Stephanie Shapiro,SUN STAFF

With his appearance on the cover of Time magazine this week, 19-year-old uber-swimmer Michael Phelps joins a gallery of heroes, artists and at least one rogue with Maryland connections who have graced the front of the weekly publication since its 1923 debut.

In its Aug. 9 Olympics preview issue, Phelps' life story, from water baby to amphibious wonder, is told in the shadow of swimmer Mark Spitz, who won seven gold medals in 1972. Whether or not Phelps can snag eight gold medals is a "long shot," the Time article says, "but no one is better prepared to do it."

From a Marylander's point of view, though, the fact that Phelps' pool-perfect body represents the height of America's Olympic aspirations in Greece this month is pretty cool, no matter how many medals he may win. Consider Phelps' illustrious company, those who have lived in the Free State at one time or another, and who have also merited Time cover stories.

On Jan. 23, 1971, the cover line "Rebel Priests: The Curious Case of the Berrigans," signaled a lead story about Daniel Berrigan and his late brother Philip, leaders of the Catonsville Nine who fought military might with daring protests that often landed them in jail. Philip Berrigan lived in Jonah House, a Baltimore commune of war resisters, until his death in 2002. Though he spent time in Maryland, Daniel Berrigan lives in New York.

The late urban-planning visionary who created Columbia, Eastern Shore native James Rouse, made the cover on Aug. 24, 1981, with the bright headline: "Cities Are Fun!"

The future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, born in Baltimore in 1908, appeared on the magazine's cover on Sept. 19, 1955. It was the year after his challenge of school segregation, which resulted in the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education decision.

On May 13, 1966, Marylander Sargent Shriver made the cover as the point man caught in the "Crossfire in the War on Poverty." Shriver, one-time Peace Corps director, was the cover story again on Aug. 14, 1972, when he and presidential hopeful George McGovern were nominated to run on the Democratic ticket. That McGovern has also lived in Maryland makes that issue's cover a bonus twofer - for those who are counting.

Although their cover appearances may not have coincided with the years they lived in Maryland, a few well-known writers also have preceded Phelps in newsstand legend.

On Sept. 11, 1933, Baltimore avant-garde intellectual Gertrude Stein made the cover, pictured in profile overlooking a European landscape. Stein was followed on October 22, 1934, by muckraker Upton Sinclair, author of The Jungle, who was born in Baltimore in 1878.

A cigar-chomping, 5 o'clock-shadowed John Dos Passos, whom some Baltimoreans may remember toiling in the Peabody Library, made the Time cover on August 10, 1936. Dos Passos, author of the genre-defying USA trilogy, died in Baltimore in 1970.

One notable journalist with a current Maryland address got on the cover by way of a surrogate. On March 29, 1976, Robert Redford appeared with Dustin Hoffman. They were recognized for their lead roles in All the President's Men, the cinematic account of Watergate, in which they played Bob Woodward, who has a home in Maryland, and Carl Bernstein, the journalists who uncovered the 1973 scandal.

Convivial Baltimore native, author and former Sun reporter Russell Baker was the cover boy on June 4, 1979, with the headline: "The Good Humor Man."

Although she wasn't portrayed on Time's cover, the contributions of Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, were recognized in three cover stories in 1980, 1989 and 2002. Carson, who taught zoology at the University of Maryland, died at her Silver Spring home in 1964.

A clutch of musicians with Maryland ties have also appeared on Time's cover, including opera singer Rosa Ponselle on Nov. 9, 1931. You might say that opera singer Lily Pons, celebrated on the Time cover on Oct. 17, 1932, can be considered a Maryland resident on a major technicality. In 1932, a Maryland post office in Frederick County was named after her, giving her at least an address here.

Jump to Oct. 27, 1986, when Talking Heads front man and 1970 Lansdowne High School graduate David Byrne, "Rock's Renaissance Man," made the front, with this exhaustive cover line: "Singer, Composer, Lyricist, Guitarist, Film Director, Writer, Actor, Video Artist, Designer, Photographer."

Baltimore debutante Wallis Warfield Simpson, whose marriage to Edward VIII denied him the British throne, was Time's woman of the year in 1937.

Speaking of notoriety, disgraced vice president and former Maryland Gov. Spiro Agnew landed on Time's cover seven times from 1968 to 1973. It was probably three times more than he would have preferred, given the Watergate nature of the last three appearances.

At least two other athletes who lived in Maryland led Time magazine. On Oct. 18, 1963, it was the Naval Academy's star quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner, Roger Staubach. And on April 26, 1976, Time celebrated the new baseball season with a caricature of the Baltimore-born Babe, perched on top of Yankee Stadium.

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