|The Library of Congress > American Memory|
USING THE GENERAL COLLECTIONS
GENERAL COLLECTIONS EXTERNAL SITES
|Periodicals (Serials, Journals, Magazines, Annuals, Proceedings)
Items that are published periodically, such as magazines and journals, are a marvelous source for history of any kind, and the Library of Congress holds thousands of serial titles of value to historians of women.
Long runs of journals show changes in attitudes, in what was considered significant or marketable, and in styles of every kind—from hemlines to discourse—over an extended period. Studying many different serial titles for a given year or span of years can reveal much about the time period under examination. The span dates given for serial titles in this discussion of The General Collections indicate the holdings of the Library of Congress, not the full range of years in which the title was published.
Published bibliographies are one of the best ways to identify magazines and journals on a given subject or published at a certain time. Two useful titles are
The series Historical Guides to the World's Periodicals and Newspapers includes two descriptive volumes on women, both edited by Kathleen L. Endres and Therese L. Lueck.
Titles such as Penelope L. Bullock's The Afro- American Periodical Press, 1838-1909 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1981; PN4882.5.B8 1981 MRR Alc, N&CPR) [catalog record] give full publication histories and include geographical and chronological listings of journals.
The Ethnic Press in the United States: A Historical Analysis and Handbook edited by Sally M. Miller (New York: Greenwood Press, 1987; PN4882.E84 1987 MRR Alc, EurRR, N&CPR) [catalog record] leads to the rich periodical literature of the varied cultures that have contributed to American life.
Because many periodicals, especially older ones, lack good indexes, researchers must scan tables of contents or flip through pages of issues from an appropriate time period. This is time-consuming but sometimes it is the only way to find substantive evidence for many research topics. It is now possible to scan tables of contents of hundreds of American journals online through the Library's subscription to the database Periodicals Contents Index (see “Periodical Indexes”).
More and more old magazines are being digitized and are keyword searchable. See “The Nineteenth Century in Print” in American Memory.
Advertisements in women's journals are a source of much visual and verbal information—from the latest household appliances to fabrics, from patent medicines to Margaret Sanger's books on birth control.5 These advertisements show how women are portrayed at a given time, with intriguing variations by class, race, and region.
For one example, social debates about women and smoking and women and drinking can be explored.
Ad* Access contains images of more than seven thousand magazine advertisements that appeared between 1911 and 1955 (see General Collections External Sites).
SEARCH TIPS: Primary custody of periodicals is shared between the General Collections and the Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room, although some periodicals can be found in most reading rooms.
The general rule is that periodicals published in the past eighteen to twenty-four months are housed in the stacks of the Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room; older issues are bound and kept in the General Collections.
There are three major exceptions to this rule:
See Periodical Indexes for suggestions on how to locate articles within periodicals.[Top]
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