Read 1,000 Editions of The Village Voice: A Digital Archive of the Iconic New York City Paper

After The Vil­lage Voice announced this week that it was fold­ing its print oper­a­tion, a cou­ple peo­ple com­pared the ven­er­a­ble NYC rag’s demise to the end of Gawk­er, the snarky online tabloid tak­en down by Hulk Hogan and his shad­owy financier Peter Thiel. For too many rea­sons to list, this com­par­i­son seems to my mind hard­ly apt. There’s a ges­ture toward the Voice’s pro­fane unruli­ness, but the alter­na­tive week­ly, found­ed in 1955, tran­scend­ed the blog age’s sopho­moric nihilism. The her­met­ic con­tain­er of its newsprint sealed out froth­ing com­ment sec­tions; no links fer­ried read­ers through rivers of per­son­al­ized algo­rithms.

The Voice pub­lished hard jour­nal­ism that many, includ­ing Voice writ­ers them­selves, have rue­ful­ly revis­it­ed of late. Its music and cul­ture writ­ers like Nat Hentoff, Lester Bangs, Sasha Frere-Jones, Robert Christ­gau and so many oth­ers are some of the smartest in the busi­ness. Its colum­nists, edi­tors, and reviewers—Andrew Sar­ris, J. Hober­man, Robert Siet­se­ma, Tom Rob­bins, Greg Tate, Michael Mus­to, Thu­lani Davis, Ta-Nehisi Coates—equally so.

In its over six­ty-year run, Voice writ­ers sat in the front rows for the birth for hard bop, free jazz, punk, no wave, and hip-hop, and all man­ner of down­town exper­i­men­tal­ism in-between and after.

Amongst the many remem­brances from cur­rent and for­mer Voice staff in a recent Esquire oral his­to­ry, one from edi­tor and writer Camille Dodero stands out: “The alt-weekly’s pur­pose was, in the­o­ry, speak­ing truth to pow­er and the abil­i­ty to be irrev­er­ent, and print the word ‘fuck’ while doing so.’” Mis­sion accom­plished many times over, as you can see your­self in Google’s Vil­lage Voice archive, fea­tur­ing 1,000 scanned issues going all the back to 1955, when Nor­man Mail­er found­ed the paper with Ed Fanch­er, Dan Wolf, and John Wilcock. There are “blind spots” in Google’s archive of the Voicenot­ed John Cook at the erst­while Gawk­er. In 2009, his “search­es didn’t turn up any cov­er­age of Nor­man Mailer’s 1969 cam­paign or the Stonewall riots… and there’s not much on Rudy Giuliani’s may­oral bid.” Many years lat­er, months and years in the Google archive remain blank, “no edi­tions avail­able.”

The Voice has had its own blind spots. Writer Wal­ter Troy Spencer referred to Stonewall, for exam­ple, as “The Great Fag­got Rebel­lion” and used a phrase that has per­haps become the most weari­some in Amer­i­can Eng­lish: “there was most­ly ugli­ness on both sides.” This anti-gay prej­u­dice was a reg­u­lar fea­ture of the paper’s first few years, but by 1982, just as the AIDS cri­sis began to fil­ter into pub­lic con­scious­ness, the Voice was the sec­ond orga­ni­za­tion in the US to offer extend­ed ben­e­fits to domes­tic part­ners. It became a promi­nent voice for New York’s LGBTQ cul­ture and pol­i­tics, through all the buy­outs, cut­backs, and unbeat­able com­pe­ti­tion that brought it to its cur­rent pass.

The paper also became a voice for the most inter­est­ing things hap­pen­ing in the city at any giv­en time, such as the goings on at a Bow­ery dive called CBGB in 1975. Char­ac­ter stud­ies have long been a Voice sta­ple. Lester Bangs’ write-up of Iggy Pop two years lat­er cut to the heart of the mat­ter: “It’s as if some­one writhing in tor­ment has made that writhing into a kind of poet­ry.” Back in ’75, Andrew Sar­ris wrote a rather jaw-drop­ping pro­file of Hervé  Vil­lechaize (in which he begins a sen­tence, “The prob­lem of midgets….”).  …. the more I look through Voice back issues, the more I think it might have been a Gawk­er of its time, but as one­time colum­nist Har­ry Siegel tells Esquire, “what made it unique depends a lot on the age of who you’re ask­ing. It was a very dif­fer­ent paper in dif­fer­ent decades. It was valu­able enough for a long time that peo­ple paid mon­ey to read it.”

Indeed its first issue cost 5 cents, though by the non­de­script cov­er, above, you wouldn’t guess it would amuse or tit­il­late in the ways the Vil­lage Voice became well-known for—in its columns, pho­tos, car­toons, and lib­er­tine adver­tis­ing and clas­si­fieds. But most peo­ple these days remem­ber it as “free every Wednes­day,” to prof­fer dance, film, the­ater, music, restau­rants, to line sub­way cars and bird­cages, and to open up the city to its read­ers. The Voice is dead, long live the Voice.

Enter the dig­i­tal archive of the Voice here.

Writ­ings from the Voice have been col­lect­ed in these antholo­gies: The Vil­lage Voice Anthol­o­gy (1956–1980) and The Vil­lage Voice Read­er.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

A Com­plete Dig­i­ti­za­tion of Eros Mag­a­zine: The Con­tro­ver­sial 1960s Mag­a­zine on the Sex­u­al Rev­o­lu­tion

Down­load 36 Dadaist Mag­a­zines from the The Dig­i­tal Dada Archive (Plus Oth­er Avant-Garde Books, Leaflets & Ephemera)

Enter a Huge Archive of Amaz­ing Sto­ries, the World’s First Sci­ence Fic­tion Mag­a­zine, Launched in 1926

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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Comments (32)
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  • Clyde Smith says:

    As a North Car­olin­ian I loved The Vil­lage Voice for many rea­sons and had a print sub­scrip­tion for years in the 80s.

    They affect­ed pol­i­tics prob­a­bly more than once but a key mem­o­ry is their fea­ture on the Greens­boro Mas­sacre in 1979.

    They helped raise the nation­al pro­file of a tru­ly heinous attack on anti-Klan activists when far too many were buy­ing into the bogus notion of a shoot out and let­ting the cops off the hook though they were clear­ly involved.

    Thanks VV!

  • Betty Cooper says:

    Fash­ion Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy around 1975, Eddie Moore of Harlem had a fash­ion show there and the Vil­lage Voice cov­ered it. I was one of the mod­els and i am try­ing to find that issue. Thank you some­thing to share with my grand­kids

  • Ivy Boteler says:

    I am inter­est­ed in the orig­i­nal JAF car­toons pub­lished in the Voice dur­ing the 60’s.

  • Ralf Schernikau says:

    I am search­ing for scans of the month­ly “Pazz&Jop Prod­uct Report” col­umn pub­lished 1979 and 1980 in Vil­lage Voice. Who can help?

  • Van Ge says:

    I am look­ing for the Voice arti­cle June 22 1982 about Jerzi Kosin­s­ki called :

    “Jerzi Kosin­ski’s Taint­ed Words”

    by Geof­frey Stokes and Eliot Fre­mont-Smith


    If not to the paper edi­tion arti­cle itself, I would high­ly appre­ci­ate a link to the orig­i­nal text of the arti­cle.

    Any­one ?


  • Adolphe Latorre says:

    I’m look­ing for and arti­cle on P.P.O.W gallery in the east vil­lage in 1985 point of view show

  • David Hernandez says:

    Look­ing for the arti­cle by Philip Nobile, “Alex Haley’s Hoax: How the Cel­e­brat­ed Author Faked the Pulitzer Prize-win­ning ‘Roots,’ ” Vil­lage Voice, Feb­ru­ary 1993

  • Elena Marinou says:

    I am inter­est­ed in the arti­cle of Peter Schjel­dahl, “Sys­tems ’66”, Vil­lage Voice, Sep­tem­ber, 1966. It is a text of great impor­tance to me for my phd research. I would appre­ci­ate if some­one has it and is will­ing to share.

  • John Schneider says:

    Look­ing for Car­man Moore’s review of Har­ry Partch con­cert enti­tled “Blo-bou to Chromelodeon: The Audi­ence Catch­es Up”, VV, Sept. 12, 1968 pp.40, 42, 62. It’s for an upcom­ing CD release. Help!

    John Schnei­der
    PARTCH Ensem­ble
    Venice Beach, CA

  • Julie Brown says:

    Hi why can’t I see the clas­si­fied pages in 1981?

  • Joel Mandelbaum says:

    Am search­ing archives for issues in Decem­ber 1971. How can I retrieve them.

  • Peter says:

    I am seek­ing any Vil­lage Voice from MAY 1998 — I’m seek­ing a show list­ing for the music venue Tramps

  • Andy says:

    An entire year of the Vil­lage Voice, 1968, is miss­ing. Can some­body load it in, please?

  • Astrid says:

    I’m look­ing for two Hentoff arti­cles from 1983 (sep­tem­ber 6 and sep­tem­ber 20) any­one?

  • Jeff Rowe says:

    Look­ing for the Frances Fitzger­ald arti­cle on the Viet­nam war that appeared in 1966

  • Daria says:

    I would appre­ci­ate if some­one would upload the full year 1966 as it’s per­ti­nent to my research. Thank you.

  • John Soto says:

    I am work­ing on a Mar­ket­ing Research project assign­ment. I have to locate con­cert ads in mar­ket­ing for a sub­ject band. I chose U2 as my sub­ject band. Can you pos­si­bly send me the con­cert ad I need from the Vil­lage Voice archives for this show?

    U2 @ The Ritz, New York on Nov 20–22, 1981.

    Thank you!

    John Soto

  • Clark says:

    Yes, please!

  • Patricia Coleman says:

    I am look­ing for 1991!

  • Yolanda Williams says:

    Look­ing for Iggy Pop pho­to on Hal­loween 1986 night in Low­er Manhattan’s West Vil­lage for my research.
    Thank you.

  • Crescent Moon says:

    I am search­ing for an arti­cle writ­ten by AJ Ben­za on the Haitians in the club scenes dur­ing the 90s.

  • Robert Hull says:

    Hi Ralf,

    I was once an active “rock crit­ic” from the era, so I clipped most of these columns and have them. I am only miss­ing about 10 month­ly reports. Have you had any luck track­ing these down since 2019? Please respond at

    Best regards,

  • John Soto says:

    I am doing school research and I need­ed to review issues of VV from 1980’s. Can I do that under this archive? How can I sign up and is there a cost? Please let me know as soon as pos­si­ble. Thank you.

    John Soto

  • Ryan says:

    I have the Sept 1966 Vil­lage Voice. I do not see the arti­cle you men­tion.

  • MadameSalon says:

    god, i don’t believe some of these com­ments! Instead of actu­al­ly going to Google Books i.e. fol­low­ing the link, you inun­date this page with ques­tions and entreaties. You act like he is the one who is sup­posed to find the issues and arti­cles you want! WTF!!!The man gave the link for you to use to access the archives! USE IT!!!

    Josh Jones, who post­ed the link above, CAN’T give you direc­tions or assis­tance with the Voice archives on Google Books. For that, guys and dolls, ASK GOOGLE.

    I noticed that some of the issues are only a few pages long. Why this is is some­thing only the uploader can explain. Again, CONTACT GOOGLE. If that does­n’t work, con­tact the Voice, they do still have a site.

    Search­ing Google Books is free of charge. How­ev­er, there is a cost as with all “free” ser­vices online: Google will faith­ful­ly track and record every­thing you do, even if you don’t have a Google mail account or a YouTube account. Also, Google gets sus­pi­cious if you spend a half hour or more look­ing for some­thing. Whilst brows­ing the archive, sud­den­ly I got a mes­sage say­ing “we have detect­ed unusu­al activ­i­ty from your brows­er.” it then demand­ed I do one of those ludi­crous and annoy­ing “find the bicy­cles in each pho­to” secu­ri­ty checks so it knew i was not a “robot”. You have been warned. Cheers.

  • David Keller says:


    I am work­ing on some lin­er notes for a reis­sue Nim­bus West album by Horace Tap­scott called “Dis­sent or Descent”. Towards that end, I am won­der­ing if you can pro­vide me with the spe­cif­ic date which Mr. Tap­scott played a solo con­cert in ear­ly June of 1984 at Cobi Nar­i­ta’s Jazz Cen­ter of New York on Lafayette Street.

    I was Horace’s man­ag­er and book­ing agent at the time and believe that this date was right around June 9, 1984. If mem­o­ry serves, Gary Gid­dins put this con­cert in the list­ings pri­or to this per­for­mance.

    Please respond if you can with the clip of Gid­dins’ list­ing. I can’t quite fig­ure out how to use this web­site to do this research.

    Many thanks indeed for your help.

    David Keller

  • Les Ericson says:

    I wrote many arti­cles for the Vil­lage Voice in the late 70s and ear­ly 80s. Most famous­ly my arti­cle about Scott Mered­ith and his rip-off lit­er­ary agency would end up in a back and forth bat­tle with Scott and a threat of $1 mil­lion law­suit (which did not occur). I do have a pho­to­copy of this but can’t find this arti­cle enti­tled The Big Bait any­where on line. Where is it?

  • Dina Mazzaferro says:

    I am look­ing for The Jan­u­ary 1997 Com­plete Vil­lage Voice Per­son­als as this is an Anniver­sary Gift as that is how it is met and are mar­ried 25 yrs. Please text me or email me back. Thank you!

  • David Frazier says:

    Look­ing for any New York Vil­lage Voice news­pa­per from 81 to 83 clas­si­fied sec­tion. There was a prayer in the back some­where in the clas­si­fieds look­ing for the prayer if I see it I’ll rec­og­nize it. Thank you 🙏 appre­ci­ate any and all assis­tance

  • David Frazier says:

    This is David F. Sor­ry it may be in the Per­son­als sec­tion not the clas­si­fieds sec­tion again Thank you 🙏 it’s impor­tant

  • George Fosgate says:

    Look­ing for a Feif­fer car­toon from 1973 (pos­si­bly August 19). 2 guys in a bar and one says some­thing about drink­ing caus­ing brain dam­age.

  • Sue Hagedorn says:

    Look­ing for Daniel Berri­g­an’s Let­ter to the Weath­er­men” that was sent to the Vil­lage Voice in August 1970, but per­haps not pub­lished until lat­er in 1970 or the begin­ning of 1971.

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