The first printing of Judge was in October 29, during the great depression 1881. It was sixteen pages long and printed on quarto paper. While it did well initially, it soon had trouble competing with its rival, Puck. . By the 1900s the magazine has become successful and has reached a circulation of 100,000 by 1912.
Harold Ross was an editor of Judge between April 5 and August 2, 1924. He used the experience on the magazine to start his own in 1925, The New Yorker. The success of the New Yorker as well as the depression put a lot of pressure on the magazine. It became a monthly magazine in 1932 and ceased circulation in 1936.