Now Screening: New Yorker Digital Archive
Ever since its launch in 1925, the New Yorker has been a fixture of newsstands, coffee tables, and commuter bags, offering news coverage, short fiction, and its signature cartoons to borough residents and the world that surely revolves around New York City. The New York Public Library recently acquired the New Yorker Digital Archive, a database that provides access to every issue of the New Yorker, often including new issues days before their print release. Every article, ad, and cartoon is available in its original full-color format, so you can flip through the digital pages just like you would a physical copy. And since this resource is available remotely, you can read the New Yorker from home, school, or anywhere else in the world with an internet connection and your library card.
The New Yorker has achieved some memorable moments over its 90 years of publication. Here I’ll point out some of my favorites and share how to find these and other features in the digital archive.
Some of America’s best fiction first appeared in the New Yorker. The legendary Shirley Jackson—we celebrate the 100th anniversary of her birth this year—published several pieces here, including her most famous work, “The Lottery.” Some short stories went on to become bestselling novels. Others, like Annie Proulx’s "Brokeback Mountain," were adapted to film.
Non-Fiction and Reportage
The New Yorker’s non-fiction touches on politics, art, literary society, and a wide range of other topics. Some favorites are its published entries from Jack Kerouac's journals, Susan Orlean's "Orchid Fever" (eventually becoming The Orchid Thief and, sort of, Adaptation), and its profile of a new fashion it-girl named Chloe Sevigny. Here at the Library, we are especially fond of the first excerpt from Robert Caro's The Power Broker, since he researched this text in our own Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. And the magazine is deservedly lauded for its August 31, 1946 full-issue coverage of the Hiroshima bombing. More recently, Kathryn Schulz’s “The Really Big One” caused a stir among readers in its discussion of seismic threats to the Pacific Northwest, and George Saunders' "Trump Days" explored the campaign trail in this tumultuous and baffling election year.
Probably the most famous cover of the New Yorker, other than those featuring mascot Eustace Tilley, is the View of the World from Ninth Avenue. This bird’s-eye view of the United States as a land of New York, LA, and not much else became a symbol of derision for the self-absorption of New Yorkers and East Coast elitists generally that was simultaneously embraced as a point of pride by the very people it lampooned. It’s a fitting image for a publication sometimes criticized for highbrow snootiness.
I can’t fail to mention that the Library has graced the cover of the New Yorker several times. We even hold a collection of covers in our Manuscripts & Archives Division.
Accessing the Archive
You can find links to the New Yorker Digital Archive in our online catalog and our list of Articles & Databases. Opening the database will bring you to its home page, pictured below. (If you’re outside the library, you will be asked at this point to log in with your library barcode number and PIN.)
Navigating the Archive
The home page displays brief instructions, the most recent issue of the New Yorker, and at the bottom of the screen, the menu bar.
From here, you can select any issue of the New Yorker (or view all of their covers) by clicking “Browse Issues.” Issues are organized chronologically. Once you’ve opened an issue, you can turn its pages with the arrows to the left and right of your screen. You can also:
Type a specific page number into the menu bar’s text box to go directly to that page.
Click “This Issue” to find a specific section within the issue, like the Table of Contents, Goings On About Town, or the Cartoon Caption Contest.
As you read, you can click on any page to zoom in for larger text, and click again to zoom back out.
Searching the Archive
Click “Search” in the menu bar to look for a particular word or phrase within the complete text of the digital archive. The site will search the currently-open issue in one tab and all other issues in a second tab. If you’re searching for a phrase, do not include quotation marks — just the words you want in the correct order. Unlike many of our other databases, you cannot fine-tune your search by fields like Author, Title, and Document Type. However, we do have CD-ROM copies of 1925-2005 issues of the New Yorker that support this advanced searching at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, in the Main Reading Room and the Microform Room.
Saving Your Research
Click “Print” in the menu bar to select one page or multiple pages from the currently-open issue for printing. If your computer has a “Print to PDF” option, you can use this feature to save these pages as a PDF file.
If you would like to create a direct link to a specific page in the New Yorker, navigate to that page in the digital archive, then copy the URL that displays in your browser’s address bar. These are permanent URLs that will not change or expire.
For More on the New Yorker
For more information on the history and art of the magazine, consider:
The Library’s Manuscripts & Archives Division holds institutional records for the New Yorker, as well as individual papers from contributors, like Andy Logan and Joseph Mitchell, and employees, such as Eleanor Gould Packard, Frances Kiernan, and James M. Geraghty.