Penn Libraries welcomes a new e-resource to its collection, Women’s Magazine Archive I, a searchable archive of five leading women’s interest magazines, dating from the 19th century through to the 21st. Titles are:
Better Homes and Gardens (1925-present)
Good Housekeeping (1887-present)
Ladies’ Home Journal (1887-present)
All of these magazines were aimed at a female readership and thus are excellent primary sources for investigating the “women’s sphere”–from cooking and decorating to family health and parenting issues, from fashion and beauty to gardening and travel (most likely in the form of the family vacation). These magazines also touched on social issues of the day; individually or taken as a whole they represent a trove of 19th and 20th-century history and culture.
This from the Archive’s About section: “The magazines are all scanned from cover to cover in high-resolution color, ensuring that the original print artifacts are faithfully reproduced and that valuable non-article items, such as advertisements, are included. Detailed article-level indexing, with document feature flags, enables efficient searching and navigation of this content.”
A search on “lemon meringue pie” turns up 95 hits–one can compare a 1903 recipe to more recent ones. Turning to underwear, the 50s are a decisively bra-obsessed decade. A search on “bras” or “brassieres” over the decades proves no contest with the 50s putting up over hundred hits above its closest “rival” decade. A subject like addiction plays out like this: of 335 hits overall there are 36 in the 50s, 56 in the 60s, 47 in the 70s, 42 in the 80s, 77 in the 90s, and 86 from 2000-2009.
The Women’s Magazine Archive I is a Proquest Database and you know what that means: it’s sitting in a suite of many other Proquest databases Penn subscribes to, including the Vogue Archive (1892-present). If you want to select both of these files together you’ll have another iconic women’s magazine in the mix, all in the same search.