Using the Time Magazine Archives for Historical Research

Time Magazine began in 1923 as an approach to the news by highlighting people and current events Elisa Gayle Ritter . For the last century, it has provided a snapshot into the American life. Just like other news media, it can be invaluable in research as it allows you to travel back in time to any week since 1923. But the difference between Time Magazine and other sources is that Time provides every issue it ever printed in its online archives – for free!

Archived Time Magazine articles provide a window into the past. Many historical works were written after the fact. These can help you get a good picture of how things were in retrospect, but they aren’t the same as how events were perceived at the time. In many ways, it’s like a newspaper though newspapers are usually difficult to find for free online.

By using the search bar, you can find specific topics. For example, suppose that you were researching classic Disney films. A simple search of “Disney Snow White” would suffice. But here’s the thing: the archives display the newest articles by default. Disney’s Snow White has come up repeatedly in Time Magazine – as a comparison to other animated films, as a reference to Walt Disney’s vision, and more. If you’re trying to see what people thought about Snow White when it was released in 1937, then recent articles aren’t very helpful. In this case, refining your search within a specific time frame works best. Just above the search results, the ability to search within a time window is available.

Alternatively, you can browse the archives using the “Cover” link. Of course, this displays the most recent cover, but you can refine your search by date and jump right to a specific issue. Once you click the cover, all you will really see is the image that was featured on the cover that week, but the “Inside This Issue” link allows you to browse the table of contents and read any article that you find interesting.