While reading a book on the early conservative movement in America, I stumbled across a reference to an article in a magazine that had gone out of print almost 50 years earlier. Since I was living near Washington, D.C. I took a trip to the Library of Congress to see if they had a copy I could read. To my amazement, I merely had to fill out a form, wait about 45 minutes, and I could view the issue in their reading room.
That was in the late 1990s. Today, thanks to Ron Unz, I merely have to click on a URL, wait about 10 seconds, and I can view that same issue from my living room.
Over the weekend, Unz announced he has made available the digitized archives of over 100 periodicals from the last two centuries, “most of which have never before been available outside the dusty shelves of research libraries.”
The archives contain many political magazines from both the right (The American Mercury, Modern Age, Social Justice) and the left (IF Stone’s Weekly, The New Masses, Marxism Today). It even includes literary journals (The Idler) and numerous pulp fiction magazines (Detective Fiction Weekly, Exciting Western, Weird Tales).
The treasure trove of content is a prize in itself, but Unz is also sponsoring a Historical Research Competition with a $10,000 First Prize, for “the most interesting and important research discovery based on these archives.”