Just like newspapers can be a ‘window’ into our ancestors’ lives so can periodicals / magazines read by our relatives. Reading material, especially magazines have been quite popular with the public since the mid-1800s.
Not only the interesting stories of events of the day, also social events, along with illustrations / photos of places and people. Another interesting aspect in all magazines are the advertisements, most are the everyday products used by your ancestors.
Online is a great site “Envision the Past – Library Magazines” with three sections (Part 2 and Part 3) of covering numerous magazines dating back to the mid-1800s. Some of the titles include ‘Century’, a general magazine with considerable emphasis on history, art and travel. The illustrations and presswork are excellent. The fiction is usually of high grade. There is ‘Harper’s Weekly’, with travel and popularized science, and includes frequent essays and biography. It has current events, literary criticism, humor all with illustrations. The “Lakeside Monthly’ was a Chicago magazine, published in 1869 to 1872. ‘Peterson’s Magazine’ had the fashions of the day, published between 1850s to 1890s (but not all issues are in digital format). Then there was ‘Scribner’s Monthly’ referred to as an ‘illustrated magazine for the people’.
There is a search box at the top. When you select an issue, being in digital form you can turn or scroll down each page. You can view it as if it was an open magazine page or each page single. You can also save to your computer any pages. So really get a better feel for the stories, events and articles that interested your ancestors, look over some of these magazines.
Photos: Peterson’s Magazine, fashions 1888; Peterson’s Magazine – 1853 and Scribner’s Monthly.
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