Time Person of the Year

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Person of the Year (formerly Man of the Year) is an annual issue of the United States newsmagazine Time that features and profiles a person, group, idea or object that "for better or for worse, ...has done the most to influence the events of the year."[1]


The tradition of selecting a Man of the Year began in 1927 with Time editors contemplating newsworthy stories possible during a slow news week. The idea was also an attempt to remedy the editorial embarrassment earlier that year of not having aviator Charles Lindbergh on its cover following his historic trans-Atlantic flight. By the end of the year, it was decided that a cover story featuring Lindbergh as the Man of the Year would serve both purposes.[2]

Since then, individual people, classes of people, the computer (1982), and Planet Earth (1988) have all been selected for the special year-end issue. In 1999, the title was changed to Person of the Year.[3] However, the only women to win the renamed recognition individually have been "The Whistleblowers" (Cynthia Cooper, Coleen Rowley, and Sherron Watkins in 2002) and Melinda Gates (jointly with Bill Gates and Bono in 2005). Before that, four women were granted the title as individuals as Woman of the Year–Wallis Simpson in 1936, Soong May-ling (Madame Chiang Kai-shek) in 1937, Queen Elizabeth II in 1952, and Corazon Aquino in 1986. Several classes of people comprise both men and women or women only, namely Hungarian Freedom Fighter in 1956, "U.S. Scientists" in 1960, Twenty-Five and Under in 1966, The Middle Americans in 1969, "American Women" in 1975, "The American Soldier" in 2003, You in 2006, and "The Protester" in 2011 (represented on the cover by a woman).

Since the list began, every serving President of the United States has been a Person of the Year at least once with the exceptions of Calvin Coolidge, in office at time of the first issue, Herbert Hoover, the next U.S. president, and Gerald Ford. Most were named Person of the Year either the year they were elected or while they were in office; the only one to be given the title before being elected is Dwight D. Eisenhower, who won it in 1944 as Supreme Commander of the Allied Invasion Force, eight years before his election. He subsequently won the title again in 1959, while in office.

The December 31, 1999 issue of Time named Albert Einstein the Person of the Century. Franklin D. Roosevelt and Mahatma Gandhi were chosen as runners-up.[4]

Franklin D. Roosevelt is the only person to have received the title three times–in 1932, 1934 and 1941.

Despite the magazine's frequent statements to the contrary, the designation is often regarded as an honor, and spoken of as an award or prize, simply based on many previous selections of admirable people.[5] However Time magazine points out those such as Adolf Hitler in 1938, and Joseph Stalin in 1939 and again in 1942, and the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979 have also been granted the title.

As a result of the public backlash it received from the United States for naming the Ayatollah Khomeini Man of the Year in 1979, Time has shied away from using figures that are controversial in the United States.[6] Time's Person of the Year 2001—immediately following the September 11, 2001 attacks—was New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani, although the stated rules of selection, the individual or group of individuals who have had the biggest effect on the year's news, made Osama bin Laden a more likely choice. The issue that declared Giuliani the Person of the Year included an article that mentioned Time's earlier decision to elect the Ayatollah Khomeini and the 1999 rejection of Hitler as Person of the Century. The article seemed to imply that Osama bin Laden was a stronger candidate than Giuliani, as Adolf Hitler was a stronger candidate than Albert Einstein. The selections were ultimately based on what the magazine describes as who they believed had a stronger influence on history and who represented either the year or the century the most. According to Time, Rudolph Giuliani was picked for symbolizing the American response to the September 11th attacks, and Albert Einstein picked for representing a century of scientific exploration and wonder.

Another criticized[citation needed] choice was the 2006 selection of "You", representing most if not all people for advancing the information age by using the Internet (via e.g. blogs, YouTube, MySpace and Wikipedia).[7]

Persons of the Year[edit]

1927Charles Lindbergh and the Spirit of Saint Louis (Crisco restoration, with wings).jpgCharles Lindbergh USA1902–1974Lindbergh was, in May 1927, the first person to fly a plane non-stop from New York City, USA to Paris, France.
1928WalterChrysler.jpgWalter Chrysler USA1875–1940In 1928, Chrysler oversaw a merger of his company with Dodge, and began work on his eponymous building.
1929Owen D. Young.jpgOwen D. Young USA1874–1962Young chaired a committee which authored the Young Plan, a program for settlement of German reparations debts after World War I.
1930MKGandhi.jpgMahatma Gandhi British Raj1869–1948Gandhi was the leader of the Indian independence movement. In 1930, he led the Salt Satyagraha, a 240-mile march to protest the imposition of taxes on salt by the British Raj.
1931Laval 1931.jpgPierre Laval France1883–1945Laval was a four-time Prime Minister of France.
1932Franklin D. Roosevelt TIME Man of the Year 1933 color photo.jpgFranklin D. Roosevelt USA1882–1945Roosevelt won the 1932 US Presidential election by a landslide, defeating the incumbent, Herbert Hoover.
1933Hugh S. Johnson.jpgHugh Samuel Johnson USA1882–1942Johnson was then the director of the National Recovery Administration, an agency tasked by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt to bring industry, labor and government together to create codes of "fair practices" and set prices.
1934FDR in 1933.jpgFranklin D. Roosevelt USA1882–1945Roosevelt was President of the United States from 1933 to 1945.
1935Selassie restored.jpgHaile Selassie I Ethiopia1892–1975Selassie was the Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974. In October 1935, Italian forces invaded Ethiopia, starting the Second Italo-Abyssinian War.
1936Wallis Simpson -1936.JPGWallis Simpson USA1896–1986King Edward VIII abdicated his thrones to marry Simpson.
1937Chiang Kai-shek(蔣中正).jpgChiang Kai-shek China1887–1975At the time, Chiang was Premier of the Republic of China.
Songmayling.jpgSoong May-ling China1898–2003At the time, Soong was the wife of Chiang Kai-shek.
1938Bundesarchiv Bild 183-S33882, Adolf Hitler retouched.jpgAdolf Hitler Germany1889–19451938 saw the unification of Germany with Austria and the Sudetenland after the Anschluss and Munich Agreement respectively.
1939Portrait of Stalin in 1936.gifJoseph Stalin USSR1878–1953
1940Churchill portrait NYP 45063.jpgWinston Churchill UK1874–1965
1941Franklin Roosevelt signing declaration of war against Japan.jpgFranklin D. Roosevelt USA1882–1945
1942JStalin Secretary general CCCP 1942.jpgJoseph Stalin USSR1878–1953
1943General George C. Marshall, official military photo, 1946.JPEGGeorge Marshall USA1880–1959
1944General Dwight D. Eisenhower.jpgDwight D. Eisenhower USA1890–1969
1945Harry-truman.jpgHarry S. Truman USA1884–1972
1946James Francis Byrnes, at his desk, 1943.jpgJames F. Byrnes USA1879–1972Then-U.S. Secretary of State. His speech, "Restatement of Policy on Germany", set the tone of future U.S. policy as it repudiated the Morgenthau Plan and gave the Germans hope for the future.
1947General George C. Marshall, official military photo, 1946.JPEGGeorge Marshall USA1880–1959Wrote the Marshall Plan
1948Truman initiating Korean involvement.jpgHarry S. Truman USA1884–1972
1949Sir Winston S Churchill.jpgWinston Churchill UK1874–1965Man of the half-century
1950The American fighting-man USARepresenting Korean War troops
1951Mossadegh US04.jpgMohammad Mossadegh Iran1882–1967
1952Elizabeth and Philip 1953.jpgElizabeth IICommonwealth realms[n 1]1926–
1953Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F078072-0004, Konrad Adenauer.jpgKonrad Adenauer West Germany1876–1967
1954JohnFosterDulles.jpegJohn Foster Dulles USA1888–1959
Harlow Curtice.jpg
Harlow Curtice USA1893–1962Head of General Motors from 1953 to 1958.
1956The Hungarian freedom fighter Hungary
1957Bundesarchiv Bild 183-B0628-0015-035, Nikita S. Chruschtschow.jpgNikita Khrushchev USSR1894–1971
1958Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F010324-0002, Flughafen Köln-Bonn, Adenauer, de Gaulle-cropped.jpgCharles de Gaulle France1890–1970
1959Dwight D. Eisenhower, official photo portrait, May 29, 1959.jpgDwight D. Eisenhower USA1890–1969
1960American Scientists USARepresented by George Beadle, Charles Draper, John Enders, Donald A. Glaser, Joshua Lederberg, Willard Libby, Linus Pauling, Edward Purcell, Isidor Rabi, Emilio Segrè, William Shockley, Edward Teller, Charles Townes, James Van Allen, and Robert Woodward
1961John F. Kennedy, White House color photo portrait.jpgJohn F. Kennedy USA1917–1963
1962JohnXXIII.jpgPope John XXIII Holy See/ Italy1881–1963
1963Martin Luther King Jr NYWTS.jpgMartin Luther King, Jr. USA1929–1968
196437 Lbj2 3x4.jpgLyndon B. Johnson USA1908–1973
1965Gen William C Westmoreland.jpgWilliam Westmoreland USA1914–2005
1966The InheritorA generation: the man—and woman—of 25 and under.
196737 Lbj2 3x4.jpgLyndon B. Johnson USA1908–1973
1968Apollo 8 Crewmembers - GPN-2000-001125.jpgThe Apollo 8 astronauts USAWilliam Anders, Frank Borman, and Jim Lovell
1969The Middle Americans USAAlso referred to as the Silent Majority[8]
1970Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F057884-0009, Willy Brandt.jpgWilly Brandt West Germany1913–1992
1971Richard Nixon.jpgRichard Nixon USA1913–1994
1972Richard Nixon.jpgRichard Nixon USA1913–1994
Henry Kissinger.jpgHenry Kissinger USA1923–
1973John Sirica USA1904–1992Judge who ordered Richard Nixon to turn over Watergate-related recordings.
1974King Faisal of Saudi Arabia on on arrival ceremony welcoming 05-27-1971 (cropped).jpgKing Faisal Saudi Arabia1906–1975
1975American women USARepresented by Susan Brownmiller, Kathleen Byerly, Alison Cheek, Jill Conway, Betty Ford, Ella Grasso, Carla Hills, Barbara Jordan, Billie Jean King, Carol Sutton, Susie Sharp, and Addie Wyatt
1976JimmyCarterPortrait2.jpgJimmy Carter USA1924–
1977Anwar Sadat cropped.jpgAnwar Sadat Egypt1918–1981
1978DengXiaoping.jpgDeng Xiaoping China1904–1997
1979Portrait of Imam Khomeini.jpgAyatollah Khomeini Iran1902–1989
1980Official Portrait of President Reagan 1981.jpgRonald Reagan USA1911–2004
1981Lech walesa prezydent RP.gifLech Wałęsa Poland1943–
1982The ComputerMachine of the Year
1983Official Portrait of President Reagan 1981.jpgRonald Reagan USA1911–2004
Andropov on Lubyanka.jpgYuri Andropov USSR1914–1984
1984Peter Ueberroth.jpgPeter Ueberroth USA1937–
1985DengXiaoping.jpgDeng Xiaoping China1904–1997
1986Corazon Aquino 1986.jpgCorazon C. Aquino Philippines1933–2009
1987Mikhail Gorbachev 1987 Cropped.jpgMikhail Gorbachev USSR1931–
1988The Endangered EarthPlanet of the Year
1989Mikhail Gorbachev 1987 Cropped.jpgMikhail Gorbachev USSR1931–Man of the Decade
1990George H. W. Bush, President of the United States, 1989 official portrait.jpgGeorge H. W. Bush USA1924–
1991Ted Turner LF.JPGTed Turner USA1938–
1992Bill Clinton.jpgBill Clinton USA1946–
1993The PeacemakersPalestinian territories Palestinian Authority
 South Africa
Represented by Yasser Arafat, F.W. de Klerk, Nelson Mandela, and Yitzhak Rabin
1994JohannesPaul2-portrait.jpgPope John Paul II Holy See/ Poland1920–2005
1995Newt Gingrich by Gage Skidmore 2.jpgNewt Gingrich USA1943–
1996David Ho portrait.JPGDavid Ho Taiwan/ USA1952–Scientist, AIDS researcher.
1997Andrew Grove.jpgAndrew Grove Hungary/ USA1936–
1998Bill Clinton.jpgBill Clinton USA1946–Time Magazine held its first online poll to decide the Person of the Year. Wrestler and activist Mick Foley won with over 50% of votes. Foley was removed from the poll, and the award was given to Clinton and Starr.[9][better source needed]
Starr-large (1).jpgKenneth Starr USA1946–
1999Jeff Bezos' iconic laugh.jpgJeffrey P. Bezos USA1964–See also: Person of the Century
2000George-W-Bush.jpegGeorge W. Bush USA1946–
2001Rudy Giuliani.jpgRudolph Giuliani USA1944–
2002The Whistleblowers USARepresented by Cynthia Cooper (WorldCom), Coleen Rowley (FBI) and Sherron Watkins (Enron)
2003The American soldier USA
2004George-W-Bush.jpegGeorge W. Bush USA1946–
2005The Good Samaritans Ireland
Represented by Bono, Bill Gates, and Melinda Gates
2006You[7]Represented by the individual content creator on the World Wide Web
2007Vladimir Putin official portrait.jpgVladimir Putin[10] Russia1952–
2008Official portrait of Barack Obama.jpgBarack Obama[11] USA1961–
2009Ben Bernanke official portrait.jpgBen Bernanke[12] USA1953–
2010Mark Zuckerberg at the 37th G8 Summit in Deauville 037.jpgMark Zuckerberg[13] USA1984–
2011The Protester[14]Representing many global protest movements – for example, the Arab Spring, the Indignants Movement, Tea Party movement and Occupy Movement – as well as protests in Greece, India, Russia and 2011–12 Chilean student protests among others
2012President Barack Obama.jpgBarack Obama[15] USA1961–
  1. ^ No single flag is presented for Elizabeth II as she was in 1952 the sovereign of more than one independent state, specifically the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ceylon, Pakistan and South Africa

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Person of the Year: 75th Anniversary Celebration (Special Collector's Edition ed.). New York: Time Books. 2002. OCLC 52817840. 
  2. ^ Time (2002) p. 1.
  3. ^ First "Person" of the Year (rather than "Man" of the Year) is Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com.
  4. ^ Golden, Frederic (January 3, 2000). "Person of the Century: Albert Einstein". Time. Retrieved 2008–02–13. 
  5. ^ Time (2002) pp. 2, 79.
  6. ^ Time (2002) p. 79.
  7. ^ a b Lev Grossman (13 December 2006). "You — Yes, You — Are TIME's Person of the Year". Time. Retrieved 2012–12–20. 
  8. ^ Larsen, Roy (January 5, 1970). "A Letter From The Publisher". Time. 
  9. ^ Mick Foley Cactus Jack Pro Wrestling Legend Media Man International
  10. ^ "Person of the Year 2007". Time. 2007. Retrieved 2009–07–08. 
  11. ^ "Person of the Year 2008". Time. 2008–12–17. Retrieved 2008–12–17. 
  12. ^ Grunwald, Michael (16 December 2009). "Person of the Year 2009". Time. Retrieved 16 December 2009. 
  13. ^ Grossman, Lev (15 December 2010). "Person of the Year 2010". Time. Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  14. ^ Grunwald, Michael (14 December 2011). "Person of the Year 2011". Time. Retrieved 14 December 2011. 
  15. ^ "Person of the Year 2012". Time. 2008–12–19. Retrieved 2012–12–23. 

External links[edit]