In the late 1900's, during World War I, a young American was injured and spent 6 months in a French Hospital. While there, the idea for a magazine was born that may have popularized content curation.
January 1920 saw the birth of the first modern age content curated magazine: The Reader's Digest.
The magazine, conceived intuitively by an American army soldier, Dewitt Wallace, who had been wounded in France during world war I, wanted to be a critical selection of the best articles that had come out in print recently, which were also edited, reviewed and summarized.
"...when Wallace was sitting in that hospital, reading old American magazines, he began to envision a new publication.
He noticed that many of the articles were interesting, but too long or poorly written. He devoted his hours to removing superfluous words and other editing, working to summarize, review and revise the articles.
Once discharged, Wallace retuned to St. Paul and spent six months poring over the magazines and articles within the Minneapolis Public Library. He looked for "evergreen" content - articles that, even ten years later, would still be applicable and interesting to readers."
The official tagline for the Reader's Digest read: 31 Articles Each Month From Leading Magazines, Each Article of Enduring Value and Interest, In Condensed and Permanent Form.
"The first issue of Reader's Digest, which appeared in February, 1922, was printed on plain white paper stock, and included no illustrations or advertisements.
Inside, the opening article was "How to Keep Young Mentally." This was followed by such diverse selections as "Love--Luxury or Necessity?" "Watch Your Dog and Be Wise," "Whatever Is New for Women Is Wrong," and "Is the Stage Too Vulgar?" The enormous success of this issue, and those that followed, demonstrated the thirst readers had for interesting and succinct articles and information."
Read more about the story of the Reader's Digest here: http://www.thesocialmediahat.com/blog/was-content-curation-born-french-hospital-95-years-ago-08142013