About the Initiative

The Cover-to-Cover Initiative is an effort by collecting information about which libraries have complete, cover-top-cover runs of original issues of modernist periodicals.

The mission of the MJP is to digitize entire issues of modernist journals; this includes covers, preliminary matter and advertisements, which provide evidence about readership, the commercial milieu of the time, and the interplay between graphic images and textual content. To date, the MJP – working with university libraries at Brown, Tulsa, Princeton, Chicago,and Wisconsin – has made cover-to-cover digital editions of the magazines such as The New Age, Poetry, and Scribner’s available for use by scholars and students and students everywhere.

The Challenge

In the course of our work we have discovered what we call the “hole in the archive”: library catalogues often indicate that they have extensive runs of modernist periodicals, but what they actually have are bound copies without the advertising.

Library catalogues typically do not distinguish between cover-to-cover runs of magazines and those that have had advertisements stripped out. Without actually looking at the library holdings, in most cases, it is not possible to tell if they are complete.

In fact, library holdings of periodicals from this era typically lack the original paper covers and advertising pages, which were routinely discarded during binding, as Ellen Gruber Garvey noted in 1999 in The Serials Librarian (37.1 p. 83). This hole is especially commonplace with the large-circulation magazines, whose issues frequently included a hundred or more pages of advertisements; but it is often the case with the “little” magazines as well—and though they included fewer advertising pages, their loss is still dismaying.

As the study of modernism has begun to emphasize the intricate relationship between art and the commodities that shaped the culture of the time, this lacuna in the historical record has become more critical and more damaging to scholarship. It also poses a special challenge to the MJP, given its commitment to reproducing cover-to-cover runs of magazines.

How to Contribute

  • Examine the list of twenty magazines the MJP is interested in.
  • Check your institution’s holdings of these titles.
  • Physically survey your holdings to determine if they include covers, preliminary matter and advertisements.
  • Contact us directly with your survey information and we will add the information to our list.

The Core List

1. Scribner's Magazine (1887-1939):
  • The MJP has completed its edition of Scribner’s, with cover-to-cover copies of every issue from 1910 through 1922 except for the following five issues, which we haven’t been able to locate: Dec. 1910 (48.6), Jan. 1911 (49.1), Aug. 1911 (50.2), July 1912 (52.1), Aug. 1912 (52.2)
  • Princeton has collected 1910-1922 on behalf of the MJP.
  • FSU: v. 1-79, 81-105 (originals, covers in 26, 27, 31, 68, 72, 101-104, and ads in 32, 45, 48, 70, 72, 73, 92, 99, 100-104)
  • Utah: v. 1 (1887) – v. 105 (1939) no ads no covers
  • IU (Lilly): v. 75, 95, 100, 102-104 covers; v. 74-77, 79-80, 87, 95-105 ads
  • Maryland: some ads (off-site)
2. The Crisis (1910-1940):
  • IU (Lilly): v. 1-47 ads, v. 2-47 covers [a closer look reveals that IU’s holdings lack the following ten issues prior to 1923: v. 8 no. 4, v. 9 no. 2, v. 24 (nos. 1-6), v. 25 (nos. 1-2)]
  • UMiss: lacks v. 8-41 and v. 17 is incomplete

Status: Some Not Yet Located: v. 8 no. 4, v. 9 no. 2, v. 24 (nos. 1-6), v. 25 (nos. 1-2)

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