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Search 200 Years of Digitized Periodical Articles from APS Online

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February 12th, 2007

WVU researchers now have online access to a digital collection containing images of more than one thousand periodicals published between 1741 and 1900.  WVU Libraries recently purchased APS Online (American Periodical Series Online) and are making it available for research through the Library Web site at

This unique and valuable collection contains digitized images of the pages of American magazines and journals that originated between 1741, when Andrew Bradford’s American Magazine and Benjamin Franklin’s General Magazine were launched, and 1900. APS Online features over 1,100 periodicals spanning nearly 200 years-from colonial times to the advent of American involvement in World War II. Titles range from America’s first scientific journal, Medical Repository, to popular magazines like Vanity Fair and Ladies’ Home Journal.

American Periodicals Series Online chronicles the development of America across 200 years. The journals in this collection cover three broad periods:

89 journals published between 1740 and 1800 offer insights into America’s transition from a British colony to an independent nation. The journals support research for a range of academic fields. Titles include Massachusetts Magazine, which published America’s first short stories, and Thomas Paine’s Pennsylvania Magazine, which reported on inventions. One of the first mass printings of the Declaration of Independence, a letter by George Washington on the crucial Battle of Trenton, and the thoughts of Benjamin Franklin are among the highlights of content from this period.

More than 900 titles from the first 60 years of the nineteenth century showcase “the golden age of American periodicals.” General interest magazines, children’s publications, and more than 20 journals for women are among the historically-significant content that also includes the serialization of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin in National Era. Like most great literary works of the nineteenth century, this piece first appeared in a magazine. Also available are hard-to-find materials, such as Edgar Allan Poe’s contributions to the Southern Literary Messenger, as well as the first appearances of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s stories in New England Magazine, and Margaret Fuller’s contributions to the Dial.

118 periodicals published during the Civil War (1861-1865) and Reconstruction (1865-1877) eras reflect the nation in turmoil and growth, and titles from the 1880s through 1900 capture the settling of the West and the emergence of modern America. Early professional journals, including Publications of the American Economic Association and American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Proceedings, popular titles such as Scribner’s Monthly and Lippincott’s issued by publishing houses, celebrations of Americana in Ladies’ Home Journal, thoroughly-researched investigative journalism in McClure’s, and the incisive political and social commentary of Puck illustrate the variety of the American experience. Titles like Forum (1886-1930) and Forum and Century (1930-1940), and Littell’s Living Age (1844-1896) and Living Age (1897-1941), expand the range of primary source material in APS across 200 years.

Because the database contains digitized images of periodical pages, researchers can see all of the original typography, drawings, graphic elements, and article layouts exactly as they were originally published.

Access to APS Online is available to WVU students, faculty and staff.  Research assistance is available from the Downtown Campus Library Reference Desk by phoning 293-4040 x4040.  Researchers may also email their questions to Penny Pugh at


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