Atlantic Monthly sets its archive free

The fantastic Atlantic Monthly magazine has dropped its paywall effective today, switching its archives (which stretch all the way back to 1857!) to an ad-supported model. First the New York Times, then the Atlantic -- as someone who's spent the past eight years linking to stuff, I love this -- MORE STUFF TO LINK TO. Thanks, Atlantic Monthly!
Beginning today, is dropping its subscriber registration requirement and making the site free to all visitors.

Now, in addition to such offerings as blogs, author dispatches, slideshows, interviews, and videos, readers can also browse issues going back to 1995, along with hundreds of articles dating as far back as 1857, the year The Atlantic was founded.

We're pleased to bring The Atlantic before a broader online audience. We hope that the quality of its writing, the trenchancy of its insights, and the depth and thoughtfulness of its reporting will inspire many of our online readers to join the Atlantic family by becoming print subscribers.

Let the archive mining begin -- post your best Atlantic archive gems to the comment thread. Link (via The Consumerist)



  1. The study of this archive could take a while. This is the sort of treasure trove for the study of recent history. And think of all the sub-catagories within that archive. I wonder how long it will take to have the archive hyper-linked. If it was a managed archive, readers could offer hyperlinks from one issue to the other. So if you wanted to look up a specific writer or subject, all the articles over the years would show up. Has National Geographic done this?

  2. My three immediate links:

    Two classic Atlantic articles by Tracy Kidder: Flying Upside Down and The Ultimate Toy, both of them from The Soul of a New Machine (1981), still the best case study (and, come to think of it, introductory text book) on leading techies I have ever read.

    Lastly, of course, Vannevar Bush’ classic proto-web article As We May Think. Published in 1945, at a time when computers were measured in square meters and calculations per second…..

  3. Cory wrote:

    The fantastic Atlantic Monthly magazine has dropped its paywall effective today, switching its archives (which stretch all the way back to 1857!) to an ad-supported model. First the New York Times, then the Atlantic…

    I dunno. I’ve run into this meme before (maybe even here!) that the NYTimes was going free online, but if you try a search for NYTimes articles pre-1980, they still want $3.95 per article.

    Which, of course, is their right (it’s their site), but I’m not sure they quite deserve the praise they seem to have been getting.

  4. Oh, and while I’m being a Wet Blanket&#174, if I’m not mistaken, Cornell University’s Making of America digital archive has had the Atlantic Monthly from 1857-1901 up on line for quite awhile already.
    Making of America

    Worth checking out in its own right.

  5. Never forget that The Atlantic has Christopher Hitchens on its payroll. And believe me, as the benificiary of a gift subscription, I can tell you that it bleeds over into all areas of the magazine. Let the peruser beware…

  6. Reviews:

    LOLITA. “It is one of the funniest serious novels I have ever read; and the vision of its abominable hero, who never deludes or excuses himself, brings into grotesque relief the cant, the vulgarity, and the hypocritical conventions that pervade the human comedy.”

    ON THE ROAD. “The book is most readable. It disappoints because it constantly promises a revelation or a conclusion of real importance and general applicability, and cannot deliver any such conclusion because Dean is more convincing as an eccentric than as a representative of any segment of humanity.”

    SCARLET LETTER. “Discreet readers will not construe me too literally when I venture the opinion that the day of dead or galvanized fiction is coming to an end. Let the circulating libraries have no misgivings; nothing is more certain than that, for many a day and year to come, their shelves will groan, as of yore, with admirable examples of the class alluded to. Moreover, Shakespeare lived a long while ago, and Homer and Moses longer yet; so that it might seem as if the threatened danger were safely astern of us, not to mention that, just at present, there seems to be a more than ordinary quantity of cunningly wrought waxen images on hand. As against those arguments and indications, it can only be urged that the progress of the human race probably implies much more than electricity and steering-balloons would prepare us for; and that the true conquest of matter by mind, being a religious rather than a scientific transaction is likely to be felt, obscurely and vaguely, long before it can be definitely comprehended and acknowledged.” [Where do I get me one of those steering-ballons?]

  7. My understanding of the New York Times archive is that one business unit decided to open the archive, made the announcement and dropped the charging mechanisms without checking with another business unit, which had already signed exclusive deals with vendors such as Lexis-Nexis and Proquest, who had developed their own search engines and backfiles as ‘value added’ redistributions / reenclosures of the content.

    It’s one example of an industry catering to early adopting paying customers (primarily libraries and newspapers in this case) and inadvertently screwing the Commons in the process. There’s all that good New York Times content that’s probably not covered by copyright anymore too (which is how Cornell got away with digitizing the older Atlantic content in the first place).

  8. Speaking of wet blankets, I run into a paywall when I search the “premium archive” for, let us say, “The Science of Science-Fiction” by John W Campbell Jr. in May 1948, pg. 97.

    Am I missing something? Or is the free stuff only a selected portion of the Atlantic collection? If so, your headline should perhaps read “The Atlantic Monthly sets (a portion of) its archive free.”

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