On 1 March 1899, Paul Elder and Morgan Shepard published “a monthly leaflet of book-notes” entitled Personal Impressions. After about six issues in leaflet form, the publication was upgraded to a monthly magazine format in March 1900, with cover artwork by Morgan Shepard. In September 1900 the magazine was renamed Impressions and given a new cover design. In March 1902 the magazine, with another new cover, was renamed Impressions Quarterly and publication was reduced to four issues per year. In March 1904 the cover was redesigned for a final time. The final issue of Impressions Quarterly was in December 1905.
Through all the changes, the contents remained fairly steady: an interesting mix of articles (usually excerpts from a book that Elder wished to highlight that month), criticism, artwork and advertisements (for both Elder’s publications and other San Francisco businesses).