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Primary Sources: Magazines

This guide provides information about the different types of primary source documents.

Magazines as Primary Sources

Magazines are similar to newspapers. Popular magazines (news, fashion, sports, etc.) provide a good feel for the period. Since most magazines are national in scope, there is limited coverage of local topics.  In addition to the articles, the illustrations and advertisements that are imbedded in magazines are useful primary sources especially for the study of consumerism, gender roles, material culture, history of technology, and popular culture.

Finding Older Magazine Articles

The CBC Library does not keep backfiles of any magazines except for BMA-related material. Old issues of many magazines can be found in most of our databases, including the following databases:

  • Academic Search Premier
  • ATLA Religion

Databases searches can be limited by year to search for a specific year or ranges of year. For more information on how to use the CBC databases see our library guides, Help me use StorySearch! 

Using Google to Find Magazine Articles

Google has begun an effort to digitize backfiles of magazines.  They have not publicized a list of digitized magazines but it includes Life, Billboard, Ebony, Jet, New York Magazine, Popular Mechanics and the gossip tabloid, Weekly World News plus others. New magazines appear to be added periodically. To search for these magazine articles, use the Advanced search option in  Google Books and follow this search example.