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A Guide to Primary Sources: Historical Popular Magazines

The materials listed are a sampling of resources that may prove helpful in historical research. Look, too, for collections of documents published as anthologies or for important historical texts from the many sources listed below.

Popular Magazines as Primary Sources

Time

These literary and popular publications can provide insight into the past through news reporting, analysis, opinion pieces, illustrations, and advertising. All of these magazines are shelved on the lower level, alphabetically by title.

You can either browse these magazines or search for a particular topic using the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature, a subject index to popular magazines. This index is shelved outside the electronic classroom on the main floor. A librarian will be happy to show you how to interpret the cryptic index entries.

Primary? Secondary?

The term "primary source" is defined differently by different disciplines. In the humanities, a primary source is a historical document, such as a diary, memoir, a work of art, a news account published when an event was fresh - something from the historical period under examination, unfiltered by anyone else. In the sciences, a primary source is a scientist's write-up of their research that includes their methods and results, as opposed to science journalism or a summary of research (a "review article") that has been conducted to provide an overview of research on a given topic.

A secondary source is one that has already been analyzed by someone else.Moving even further from the unfiltered event is a teriary source such as a textbook, that summarizes knowledge in general terms.

Using primary sources, whether in science or the humanities, helps a researcher get as close as possible to the subject under examination. Using primary sources can be a good way to point your reader to the raw materials of your ideas and provide an opportunity for you to do your own, original analysis.

To find historical primary sources, check out our guide to primary sources available in our library.

19th Century

Appleton's Popular Science Monthly, 1898 - 1900
This magazine provides news of scientific and technical developments.

Atlantic Monthly, 1858-present
This general interest magazine contains literary, political, and cultural commentary.

Cosmopolitan, 1890-1899
This general interest magazine contains serialized fiction, illustrations, poetry, art photographs, and essays on social and cultural issues.

The Dial, 1840-1844
This literary magazine contains poetry, short fiction, and essays.

Eclectic Magazine, 1845-1856, 1864
This magazine contains essays about foreign literature, science, and art.

Harper's, 1850 - present
This general interest periodical contains articles about politics, literature, culture, the arts, and finance.

Illustrated London News, 1855, 1863, 1868
This publication contains news articles accompanied by intricate black and white illustrations.

Independent, 1876-1928
This news and opinions magazine contains articles on current events with photographs, book reviews, and advertisements.

Littell's Living Age / Living Age, 1860-1892
This news and opinion magazine contains articles on world news and culture, book reviews, and poetry.

Nation, 1885-present
This news and opinion magazine contains editorials, book reviews, world news articles, small advertisements, and crossword puzzles.

North American Review, 1829 - present
This literary magazine contains essays, book reviews, poetry, and short stories.

Outlook, 1898-1932
This news and opinion periodical contains editorials and articles about world news, cartoons, book reviews, and small advertisements. This periodical was also titled Outlook and Independent.

The Yellow Book, 1894-1897
This literary periodical contains poetry, fiction, illustrations, essays, and art prints. Many notable authors are represented in this periodical including: H.G. Wells, George Gissing, Henry James, and William Butler Yeats.

1910-1929

Atlantic Monthly, 1858 - present
This general interest magazine contains literary, political, and cultural commentary.

American Mercury, 1924-1975
This literary magazine contains essays, satires, and short stories from some of America's most prominent writers including William Faulkner. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Langston Hughes, and Carl Sandburg.

Current History, 1919 - present
This news and opinion magazine contains articles about world events as well as book reviews, political cartoons, timelines, and maps.

The Dial, 1918-1924, 1926, 1928-1929
This literary magazine contains poetry, short fiction, and essays.

Golden Book Magazine, 1925-1935
This literary magazine contains fiction and poetry from writers such as Alexander Dumas, Henry Fielding, Anton Chekhov, and George Meredith. It also contains illustrations and advertisements.

Harper's, 1850-present
This general interest periodical contains articles about politics, literature, culture, the arts, and finance.

Hygeia, 1923-1949
This health magazine contains articles about illnesses and cures as well as many advertisements for various medicines and cosmetics. It's also a primary source for attitudes around the concept of eugenics in the United States. 

Independent, 1876-1928
This news and opinions magazine contains articles on current events with photographs, book reviews, and advertisements. This magazine will have issues shelved under "The Independent" and "The Independent and the Weekly Review."

Ladie's Home Journal, 1910-1921, 1924-1928, 1930-1941
This magazine contains short fiction, fashion and home decorating tips, recipes, and full-page color advertisements aimed at women.

Living Age, 1860-1892, 1902-1941
This news and opinion magazine contains articles on world news and culture, book reviews, and poetry. This periodical was also titled "Littell's Living Age."

Nation 1885 - present
This news and opinion magazine contains editorials, book reviews, world news articles, small advertisements, and crossword puzzles.

New Republic, 1915 - present
This news and opinion magazine contains many news articles and a few advertisements.

North American Review, 1829 - present
This literary magazine contains essays, book reviews, poetry, and short stories.

Outlook, 1898-1932
This news and opinion periodical contains editorials and articles about world news, cartoons, book reviews, and small advertisements. This periodical was also titled Outlook and Independent.

Popular Science Monthly, 1900 - 1950
A magazine that covers developments in science and technology.

Punch, 1919 and scattered volumes from later years
This general interest magazine contains satires on political and social issues, cartoons, book and film reviews, and advertisements.

Reader's Digest, 1928 - 2004
This general interest magazine contains condensed articles compiled from a number of different publications on various topics. It also contains advertisements and condensed books.

Saturday Review, 1927-1972
This literary magazine contains essays about literature, book reviews, literary advertisements, and classifieds.

Survey, 1909-1952
This magazine contains essays on world culture, social issues, and politics, as well as some photographs.

Time, 1928 - present
This news and opinion magazine contains news articles, photographs, and full-page advertisements.

World's Work, 1901-1932
This magazine contains articles on world political and social issues, portraits, and photographs.

1930-1949

American Mercury, 1924 - 1975
This literary magazine contains essays, satires, and short stories from some of America's most prominent writers including William Faulkner. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Langston Hughes, and Carl Sandburg.

Atlantic Monthly, 1858 - present
This general interest magazine contains literary, political, and cultural commentary.

American Mercury, 1924-1975
This literary magazine contains essays, satires, and short stories from some of America's most prominent writers including William Faulkner. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Langston Hughes, and Carl Sandburg.

Business Week, 1929 - present
This magazine contains articles about business news, economics, and personal finance. It also contains editorials and many full page advertisements. Its perspectives on the Crash of 1929 are interesting.

Christian Century, 1930 - present
This magazine contains news articles, book reviews, editorials, and advertisements for Christian books and educational opportunities.

Crisis, 1941 - 1960
This magazine was founded by W.E.B. Du Bois and was the official publication of the NAACP. It contains articles, poems, reviews, and essays on current affairs and history.

Current History, 1919 - present
This news and opinion magazine contains articles about world events as well as book reviews, political cartoons, timelines, and maps.

Fortune, 1930 - present
This business magazine includes articles on investing, financial strategies, and other business advice.

Golden Book Magazine , 1925 - 1935
This literary magazine contains fiction and poetry from writers such as Alexander Dumas, Henry Fielding, Anton Chekhov, and George Meredith. It also contains illustrations and advertisements.

Harper's, 1850 - present
This general interest periodical contains articles about politics, literature, culture, the arts, and finance.

Hygeia, 1923-1949
This health magazine contains articles about illnesses and cures as well as many advertisements for various medicines and cosmetics.

Ladies' Home Journal, 1910-1921, 1924-1928, 1930-1941
This magazine contains short fiction, fashion and home decorating tips, recipes, and full-page color advertisements aimed at women.

Life, 1936 - 1972, 1978 - 2000
This news and opinion magazine emphasizes photojournalism and consists predominately of black and white and color photographs with accompanying captions.

Living Age, 1960 - 1892, 1902 - 1941
This news and opinion magazine contains articles on world news and culture, book reviews, and poetry. This periodical was also titled "Littell's Living Age."

Nation, 1885 - oresent
This news and opinion magazine contains editorials, book reviews, world news articles, small advertisements, and crossword puzzles.

New Republic, 1915 - present
This news and opinion magazine contains many news articles and a few advertisements.

New Yorker, 1939 - present
This general interest magazine contains editorials, articles, cartoons, cultural event announcements, and advertisements.

Newsweek, 1937 - 2012
This news and opinion magazine contains articles with photographs and many full-page and color advertisements.

North American Review, 1929 - present
This literary magazine contains essays, book reviews, poetry, and short stories.

Outlook, 1898-1932
This news and opinion periodical contains editorials and articles about world news, cartoons, book reviews, and small advertisements. This periodical was also titled Outlook and Independent.

Popular Science Monthly, 1900 - 1950
A magazine that covers developments in science and technology.

Punch, 1919, 1931-14, 1951-1973
This general interest magazine contains satires on political and social issues, cartoons, book and film reviews, and advertisements.

Reader's Digest, 1928 - 2004
This general interest magazine contains condensed articles compiled from a number of different publications on various topics. It also contains advertisements and
condensed books.

Saturday Review, 1927 - 1972
This literary magazine contains essays about literature, book reviews, literary advertisements, and classifieds.

Survey, 1909 - 1952
This magazine contains essays on world culture, social issues, and politics, as well as some photographs.

Time, 1928 - present
This news and opinion magazine contains news articles, many photographs, and full-page advertisements.

World's Work, 1901 - 1932
This magazine contains articles on world political and social issues, portraits, and photographs.

U.S. News and World Report, 1948 - 2010
This news and opinion magazine contains news articles, photographs, and full-page advertisements.


1950-1969

American Mercury, 1924 - 1975
This literary magazine contains essays, satires, and short stories from some of America's most prominent writers including William Faulkner. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Langston Hughes, and Carl Sandburg.

Atlantic Monthly, 1858 - present
This general interest magazine contains literary, political, and cultural commentary.

American Mercury, 1924-1975
This literary magazine contains essays, satires, and short stories from some of America's most prominent writers including William Faulkner. F. Scott Fitzgerald,

Langston Hughes, and Carl Sandburg.

Business Week, 1929 - present
This magazine contains articles about business news, economics, and personal finance. It also contains editorials and many full page advertisements. Its perspectives on the Crash of 1929 are interesting.

Christian Century, 1930 - present
This magazine contains news articles, book reviews, editorials, and advertisements for Christian books and educational opportunities.

Crisis, 1941 - 1960
This magazine was founded by W.E.B. Du Bois and was the official publication of the NAACP. It contains articles, poems, reviews, and essays on current affairs and history.

Current History, 1919 - present
This news and opinion magazine contains articles about world events as well as book reviews, political cartoons, timelines, and maps.

Fortune, 1930 - present
This business magazine includes articles on investing, financial strategies, and other business advice.

Good Housekeeping, 1957 - 1992
This magazine contains articles about diet, health, product testing, and some fiction short stories. It also contains recipes and a large number of illustrated advertisements aimed at women.

Harper's, 1850 - present
This general interest periodical contains articles about politics, literature, culture, the arts, and finance.

House Beautiful 1946 - 1992
This magazine contains large color photos and home decorating tips as well as full-page advertisements.

Life, 1936 - 1972, 1978 - 2000
This news and opinion magazine emphasizes photojournalism and consists predominately of black and white and color photographs with accompanying captions.

Nation, 1885 - present
This news and opinion magazine contains editorials, book reviews, world news articles, small advertisements, and crossword puzzles.

National Geographic, 1960 -  present
This general interest magazine contains articles about world news, culture, politics, social issues, and geography. Articles are usually short with a large number of photographs.

New Republic, 1915 - present
This news and opinion magazine contains many news articles and a few advertisements.

New Yorker, 1939 - present
This general interest magazine contains editorials, articles, cartoons, cultural event announcements, and advertisements.

Newsweek, 1937 - 2012
This news and opinion magazine contains articles with photographs and many full-page and color advertisements.

North American Review, 1929 - present
This literary magazine contains essays, book reviews, poetry, and short stories.

Popular Science, 1950 - present
This science magazine contains news articles about the science and automotive industry, tips on do-it-yourself household projects and auto upkeep, buyer's guides, and many advertisements.

Punch, 1919, 1931-14, 1951-1973
This general interest magazine contains satires on political and social issues, cartoons, book and film reviews, and advertisements.

Reader's Digest, 1928 - 2004
This general interest magazine contains condensed articles compiled from a number of different publications on various topics. It also contains advertisements and condensed books.

Saturday Review, 1927 - 1972
This literary magazine contains essays about literature, book reviews, literary advertisements, and classifieds.

Survey, 1909 - 1952
This magazine contains essays on world culture, social issues, and politics, as well as some photographs.

Time, 1928 - present
This news and opinion magazine contains news articles, many photographs, and full-page advertisements.

U.S. News and World Report, 1948 - 2010
This news and opinion magazine contains news articles, photographs, and full-page advertisements.

Vogue , 1968 - 2003
This fashion magazine contains many fashion advertisements and photographs as well as fashion, beauty, and health tips.

1970-1999

American Mercury, 1924 - 1975
This literary magazine contains essays, satires, and short stories from some of America's most prominent writers including William Faulkner. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Langston Hughes, and Carl Sandburg.

Atlantic Monthly, 1858 - present
This general interest magazine contains literary, political, and cultural commentary.

American Mercury, 1924-1975
This literary magazine contains essays, satires, and short stories from some of America's most prominent writers including William Faulkner. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Langston Hughes, and Carl Sandburg.

Business Week, 1929 - present
This magazine contains articles about business news, economics, and personal finance. It also contains editorials and many full page advertisements. Its perspectives on the Crash of 1929 are interesting.

Christian Century, 1930 - present
This magazine contains news articles, book reviews, editorials, and advertisements for Christian books and educational opportunities.

Current History, 1919 - present
This news and opinion magazine contains articles about world events as well as book reviews, political cartoons, timelines, and maps.

Ebony, 1980 - present
This African American orientated magazine contains articles about contemporary topics such as politics, entertainment, personalities, and civil rights. It also includes various advertisements.

Essence, 1971 - present
An African American magazine about current issues, which includes fashion, entertainment, health, spirituality, and careers, with related advertisements.

Forbes, 1972 - present
This business magazine includes articles on corporate leadership as well as industries, marketing, law, taxes, technology, computers, communications, investments, and management performance.

Fortune, 1930 - present
This business magazine includes articles on investing, financial strategies, and other business advice.

Good Housekeeping, 1957 - 1992
This magazine contains articles about diet, health, product testing, and some fiction short stories. It also contains recipes and a large number of illustrated advertisements aimed at women.

Harper's, 1850 - present
This general interest periodical contains articles about politics, literature, culture, the arts, and finance.

House Beautiful 1946 - 1992
This magazine contains large color photos and home decorating tips as well as full-page advertisements.

Life, 1936 - 1972, 1978 - 2000
This news and opinion magazine emphasizes photojournalism and consists predominately of black and white and color photographs with accompanying captions.

Money, 1977 - present
This financial magazine contains articles on saving money and managing finances.

Nation, 1885 - present
This news and opinion magazine contains editorials, book reviews, world news articles, small advertisements, and crossword puzzles.

National Geographic, 1960 -  present
This general interest magazine contains articles about world news, culture, politics, social issues, and geography. Articles are usually short with a large number of photographs.

New Republic, 1915 - present
This news and opinion magazine contains many news articles and a few advertisements.

New Yorker, 1939 - present
This general interest magazine contains editorials, articles, cartoons, cultural event announcements, and advertisements.

Newsweek, 1937 - 2012
This news and opinion magazine contains articles with photographs and many full-page and color advertisements.

North American Review, 1929 - present
This literary magazine contains essays, book reviews, poetry, and short stories.

Popular Science, 1950 - present
This science magazine contains news articles about the science and automotive industry, tips on do-it-yourself household projects and auto upkeep, buyer's guides, and many advertisements.

Punch, 1919, 1931-14, 1951-1973
This general interest magazine contains satires on political and social issues, cartoons, book and film reviews, and advertisements.

Reader's Digest, 1928 - 2004
This general interest magazine contains condensed articles compiled from a number of different publications on various topics. It also contains advertisements and condensed books.

Saturday Review, 1927 - 1972
This literary magazine contains essays about literature, book reviews, literary advertisements, and classifieds.

Smithsonian, 1970 - present
A general magazine that includes articles about arts, environment, sciences, and popular culture.

Time, 1928 - present
This news and opinion magazine contains news articles, many photographs, and full-page advertisements.

U.S. News and World Report, 1948 - 2010
This news and opinion magazine contains news articles, photographs, and full-page advertisements.

Vogue , 1968 - 2003
This fashion magazine contains many fashion advertisements and photographs as well as fashion, beauty, and health tips.

Librarian

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Jeff Jenson
Contact:
You can find me in the College and Lutheran Church Archives, the offices above the library's main entrance.
Website / Blog Page

Looking for . . .

News reports of 20th century events? Try

Life
Newsweek
Time
US News & World Report

Opinion?

Mother Jones (left-wing)
Nation (left-wing)
National Review (right-wing)

Advertising and fasion?

Good Housekeeping
House Beautiful
Ladies Home Journal
Life
New Yorker
Vogue

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