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Research Guides

HSTAA 110: History of American Citizenship: Primary Sources: Magazines

  Essence magazine cover Life magazine cover

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Why Use Magazines


  • Coverage of national & international issues and events -- news magazines (such as Time) and politically oriented magazines (such as The New Republic) cover everything from politics to wars
  • Coverage of popular & material culture -- specialized magazines cover sports, entertainment, fashion and more.
  • Commentary, cartoons and letters to the editor provide local public opinion information
  • Photographs and other graphics
  • Advertising included in magazines are useful primary sources especially for the study of consumerism, gender roles, material culture, history of technology, and popular culture

Keep in mind

  • Magazines usually do not provide in-depth analysis nor do they provide scholarly context for an issue. They really do focus on the who, what, where and when rather than the why of an issue or event.
  • Magazines are usually national in scope so there is limited coverage of local events and issues.

Where can I find other magazines?

In addition to the online resources listed on this page the UW Libraries has a printed collection of 20th century magazines such as Time, Newsweek and the Saturday Evening Post. Just go to the AP2 section on the 4th floor of Suzzallo Library to browse these magazines.