- The American Conservative - http://www.theamericanconservative.com -

Periodical Archives of the Last Two Centuries—Newly Resurrected!

I’ve recently released a website [1] providing convenient access to the digitized archives of a wide range of periodicals from the last two centuries, most of which have never before been available outside the dusty shelves of research libraries.

Although many of these are generally conservative or rightwing, such as The American Mercury [2] or Social Justice [3], many others are liberal or leftist, including IF Stone’s Weekly [4]The New Masses [5]Encounter [6], and The Reporter [7], while the majority are mainstream and relatively non-ideological.

But to some extent, all these current labels are meaningless or deceptive. Publications of fifty or a hundred years ago obviously functioned in a world of taboos and ideological contraints, but these taboos and contraints were different from those of today. Some of the sort of articles which appeared in the most mainstream of elite publications in those days would probably never see print in today’s most leftwing or rightwing magazines.

Since the vast majority of these millions of pages of content material—some of it written by the most prominent intellectual figures of those historical eras—has probably never been easily available to any living scholar, I suspect there are all sorts of fascinating research finds awaiting discovery.

Therefore, as a means of publicizing the website, I have announced a Historical Research Competition [8] with a $10,000 First Prize, for the most interesting and important research discovery based on these archives. The panel of academic judges [9] will include Andrew Bacevich, Paul Gottfried, and Tom Woods. This provides students, academics, and independent scholars with an excellent opportunity to break ground in new research areas, perhaps correcting many widely believed errors or misunderstandings, while also having a chance at winning a cash prize along the way.