Third Group of Free Online Magazines; 1800s – 1924

The third group of vintage popular American magazines from the 19th and early 20th centuries, with descriptions and links to free online versions.

(Here are the First Group of Free Magazines, and the Second Group of Free Magazines) Each magazine entry below has links to two or three volumes.

You can find many more magazines and hundreds of issues at Century Past Magazines.

Please also see “Finding Additional Issues of Magazines” after the last magazine entry for advice on finding additional issues. For reading magazines online at the sites Internet Archive or Open Library, see the tip at the bottom of the page for enlarging text.

Most of these magazine titles have pages on Wikipedia or other websites that provide useful background information about publishers and changes in title.

Harper’s Magazine

New York
Volume 8 December 1853 – May 1854. Volume 72; January – April 1886 Go to Vol 8|Go to Vol 72

Harper’s Magazine was launched in 1850 in New York City by the publisher Harper & Brothers. Its name initially was Harper’s New Monthly Magazine , and the contents were mostly literary. The same publisher later began producing Harper’s Weekly , which was more of a news magazine reporting current events. The monthly edition is still published in 2014.

The American Agriculturalist. For the Farm, Garden, and Household

New York
Volume 4; 1847. Volume 34; 1875Go to Vol 4|Go to Vol 34

This magazine was established in 1842. In 2014 a periodical by the same name is still being published, although it could not be determined whether it is a continuation of the same magazine.

Peterson’s Magazine

City of Publication
Volume 23; January – June 1853. Volume 75; January – June 1879. July – December 1888 Fashion and Fancywork pages.

Go to Vol 23|Go to Vol 75|Go to Fashion pages

The Ladies National Magazine began publication in 1842 as a less expensive alternative to Godey’s Lady’s Book. The name was changed in 1855 to Peterson’s Magazine, and it continued under that title until 1892, ceasing publication in 1898.

Scribner’s Monthly: An Illustrated Magazine for the People

City of Publication
Volume 2; May – October 1871. Volume 20; May – October 1880. Century Magazine Vol 33; November 1886 – April 1887

Go to Vol 2|Go to Vol 20|Go to Century Vol 33

Scribner’s Monthly was a literary periodical published from 1870 to 1881 by Scribner & Co. In 1881 Charles Scribner sold his share of the company, and its name was changed to the Century Company. The magazine’s name was changed to the Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, and along with Harper’s and St. Nicholas, led the industry in the quality of its illustrations.

Finding Additional Issues of Magazines

These sites can be checked for additional issues. Normally the issues are bound into volumes, each of which contains all issues for a 6-month or one-year period. Some volumes can also be found and read on Google. Links below are for the site’s search tool rather than the home page. Note that many of these magazines changed names over the years, which will complicate a search.

All these sites are excellent sources for digitized books as well as for magazines.

Hathi Trust. Provides relatively complete runs of many magazines through approximately 1923. Issues after that are not available because copyrights have not expired. Issues at Hathi Trust can be read online. They can also be downloaded, but only in PDF format.
Go to Page

The Online Books Page. For most of these magazines the Online Books Page provides a guide to links at other sites for every volume, if available. Their preferred host site is Hathi Trust, so other sites are only referenced when a volume is not available at Hathi Trust.
Go to Page

Internet Archive. Contains a large number of magazines and many volumes, but searches are hampered by the format of search results, which presents a list of volumes for a title in random order, often without volume numbers. Patience is required to open each entry to find which volume it is. If the title you’re seeking doesn’t appear at the top of the results page, look down through the page, as results are somewhat scrambled. This site has a very good online viewer and normally enables downloads in several formats, although documents loaded onto the site many years ago may only be available in OCR text. See the tip at the bottom of the page for using the online viewer.
Go to Page

Open Library. Sister site of Internet Archive (above), and searches here often open documents that are saved in Internet Archive. It uses the same online viewer as Internet Archive and enables downloads in several formats. Because the site has many items not available for download, it is best to check the “Show only eBooks” option under the search box to avoid cluttering your results with items you can’t access. Although searches in either Open Library or Internet Archive often turn up items at the sister site, it is best to search each site. See the tip at the bottom of the page for using the online viewer.
Go to Page

Making of America at Cornell University Library. This site provides many issues of 22 19th Century American magazines, for online reading.
Go to Page

Project Gutenberg. This has limited runs of several magazines, providing download capability in a variety of formats as well as a good viewer for reading online.
Go to Page

Internet Archive and Open Library: Tips for Reading Online and Downloading

Some of our magazines are hosted by Internet Archive or Open Library. They are sister organizations and use the same online viewer application. In most cases this viewer will allow you to greatly enlarge and provide clear text if you;

1. switch from the double-page to the single-page view by using the icons in the bottom right corner, and;

2. Keep zooming in until the text snaps into a clear focus.

Using the single-page view allows you to scroll pages down with your mouse wheel.

You can download magazines from these two sites by clicking on the book name at the top-left corner of the page (in the viewer) to get to the download menu.