Enter “The Magazine Rack,” the Internet Archive’s Collection of 34,000 Digitized Magazines

Before we kept up with culture through the internet, we kept up with culture through magazines. That historical fact may at first strike those of us over 30 as trivial and those half a generation down as irrelevant, but now, thanks to the Internet Archive, we can all easily experience the depth and breadth of the magazine era as something more than an abstraction or an increasingly distant memory. In keeping with their apparent mission to become the predominant archive of pre-internet media, they’ve set up the Magazine Rack, a downloadable collection of over 34,000 digitized magazines and other monthly publications.

Magazines haven’t gone away, of course, and at the Internet Archive’s Magazine Rack you can do just what you might have done at a traditional magazine rack: flip through brand new issues of publications like Tech Advisor, Aviation History, and America’s Civil War. But quite unlike a traditional magazine rack, where recency was all, you can also read back issues — in some cases quite far-back issues, stretching all the way to the mid-18th century. The London Magazine, or, Gentleman’s Monthly Intelligencer vol. XXII for the Year 1753, the oldest magazine on these digital shelves, offers such articles as “Remarkable accidents,” “Danger of the empire’s being without a head,” and “Life and character of Christina, queen of Sweden.”

As British magazines of the past go, it also delighted me personally to find in the Magazine Rack many issues of Computer and Video Games (also known as CVG) which did much, given its inexplicable availability at the library of the Seattle suburb where I grew up, to shape my worldview. Other titles catering to “nerdy” interests, broadly speaking, have — perhaps predictably — been archived with a special extensiveness: computer and gaming magazines have their own vast sections, but the collections of early Scientific American, sci-fi fan magazine Starlog, vintage men’s magazines (some, of course, NSFW), and the long-running amateur radio journal 73 Magazine come not far behind.

The Magazine Rack also contains plenty of publications of the kind we tend to reference here on Open Culture, including quite a few titles devoted to pulp fiction, the influential Moebius- and H.R. Giger-featuring “adult fantasy magazine” Heavy Metal, the Hugo Award-winning science fiction magazine IF, and the made-for-PDF-format international art magazine Revolutionart. Spend enough browsing time there and you’ll remember — or learn — that, especially in the print-saturated twentieth century, magazines didn’t just let us keep up with the culture, they helped create it.

Related Content:

A Digital Archive of Heavy Metal, the Influential “Adult Fantasy Magazine” That Featured the Art of Moebius, H.R. Giger & More

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

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

Download the Complete Archive of Oz, “the Most Controversial Magazine of the 60s,” Featuring R. Crumb, Germaine Greer & More

Enter the Pulp Magazine Archive, Featuring Over 11,000 Digitized Issues of Classic Sci-Fi, Fantasy & Detective Fiction

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

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

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Comments (4)
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  • Warren Jones says:

    The title you have chosen for this website is “The Magazine Rack.” With that title, I naturally expected to be able to find some magazines; however, I see none. Where are they?

  • Roz says:

    Whenever you see “The Magazine Rack” mentioned in the article, you can click the hyperlink and it takes you to the Magazine Rack website which has all the magazines you’re looking for. It’s not on this website. This website just talks about the other website which has the magazines.

  • GLENN Slaby says:

    Have learning disability. Can we/someone verbally discuss how to use the site. Those like me muss so much because of issues not if our doing. Thanks

  • Robert Launer says:

    I am looking of the entire issue of Money Magazine the covered electronic banking in 1985

    It should be in one of the following months(???): March ,April, May, June, July
    (Not sure exactly when)

    It is important to me, as I am one of the people interviewed about the new online banking system access.

    Need to get a copy in any format of either the actual issue or the entire 1985 year.

    I moved to South Africa in 1990, and was part of the country’s transition team from 1990 to 1994.
    Also, one to the developer’s of electronic banking, payments and collection systems, B2B, B2C, eForex, eBucks.com, etc.

    Attached find my business card and full details of my work.

    Side Note: Moving to South Africa in 1990, I needed to bring my library of books and documents, so I put them all on Microfiche. I have been working with computers and IT since 1965.

    –Full Details at URL:
    –Emotions & Feelings Journals: http://www.shorturl.at/jGMQU
    –Leveraging AI in Psychometric Assessment(14Apr2020): http://www.shorturl.at/abFVW
    –Health and Wellness: http://www.shorturl.at/MPZ15

    I can process documents in any format or media.

    Shipping/cost to South Africa is not an Issue, as I have been getting items from all over the world. We can discuss the options, as needed.

    Looking forward to getting the magazine.


    Robert Launer
    PNI, NLP, CCTP, MSCEIT-EQ, EQ-i, MLE, FIE, LPAD, PPA, Baby Millennial
    PH Chronic Disease Management
    IT Systems, Integration, Networks
    SAQA and SETA Assessor, Moderator, Program Creator and Trainer
    Cognitive Apprenticeship Development

    ☎/✆ +27-(0)827-TOP-GUN (867-486) / Fax: 0866-713-446
    E-mail: rlauner@netactive.co.za / rlauner@cask-aid.com / cask-aid@netactive.co.za

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