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American Periodical Series

Location: Microfilm AP 2 A31018


The American Periodical Series,  a microfilm project sponsored by the University of Michigan in 1941, is a collection of early American periodicals dating from 1741-1935. There are three series within the American Periodical Series (APS I – Eighteenth Century – 33 reels; APS II – 1800-1850 – 1,966 reels; and APS III – 1850-1900– 200 reels).

The 88 titles in American Periodicals, Eighteenth Century (APS I), document the origins of American magazine journalism which began in 1741 with Benjamin Franklin’s General Magazine and Andrew Bradford’s American Magazine.

The spirit of nationalism and of westward expansion is reflected in the  923 magazines covered in American Periodicals, 1800-1850 (APS II).

Readers can trace the philosophical, social, and literary background of the Civil War and Reconstruction eras through the 117 magazines represented in American Periodicals, 1850-1900 (APS III).

How to search the collection

 All of the periodicals in the American Periodical Series are cataloged in Truman’s Library Catalog  and can be searched by  title, keyword or subject. The Library Catalog record gives the location  as well as the reel number you will need.

The following guide – Hoornstra, Jean. American Periodicals, 1741-1900: an Index to the Microfilm Collections (Microfilm AP2 A3101835 1979) – is arranged in four sections:  title index, subject index, editor index and reel number index.  Each entry supplies complete bibliographic information about the title, publication volumes and dates, and publisher, plus an annotation describing the publication. The location of the periodical is given at the right, including the abbreviation of the collection (APS I, APS II, or APS III), and the reel numbers, along with volumes and inclusive dates on each reel. The subject index of this guide is an alphabetical listing of the Library of Congress subject headings assigned to the periodical titles.


Hoornstra, Jean. American Periodicals, 1741-1900: an Index to the Microfilm Collections. Ann Arbor: University Microfilms International, 1979.  (Microfilm AP2 A3101835 1979)

Mott, Frank Luther. A History of American magazines, 1741-1850. Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 1930-1968. (General Collection PN 4877 M63 1938, v. 1-5) – Volume 1 which covers the years 1741-1850 is especially relevant for the APS Series I collection. Volume 5 has a cumulative index which lists titles, editors, contributors, and topics.

Nineteenth Century Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature (1890-99) (Table B – AI3 R479) provides indexing to 51 periodicals for the years 1890-1899, with author, subject and illustrator access. These periodicals can also be searched online through Reader’s Guide RetrospectiveList of periodicals in APS II and APS III indexed in the Nineteenth Century Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature: 

Arena Living Age Political Science Quarterly
Bookman New England Magazine Quarterly Journal of Economics
Catholic World New Englander Scientific American
Century New Outlook Scribners
Critic North American Review Yale Review
Dial Outlook
Galaxy Overland

Poole’s Index to Periodical Literature ( Ref AI 3 P7 1963 -Table B) – nearly one hundred of the periodicals in APS II and APS III are at least partially indexed in Poole’s Index to Periodical Literature and Poole’s can be used to access these periodicals by topic.  Click here for the list of titles indexed in Poole’s.

For more information about this subject in our Library Catalog, check out these
Subject Categories:


Periodicals on microfilm

Time Period: 18th Century   19th Century   20th Century  

Subject keywords: Journalism, Literature