First World War Researchers take note: over 1300 issues of Maclean’s magazines are now online in the brand new Maclean’s Archive. The issues from 1914 through 1918 feature an interesting mix of current affairs articles, opinion pieces and fictional stories. Many, such as If Canada Were Invaded (October 1914), offer a uniquely Canadian perspective however there are also many articles penned by authors and journalists from the neutral side of border.
Browsing the issues from August 1914 onwards shows that the war coverage was slow to start but that it was engaged on all fronts by early 1915. It was also interesting to see how advertisers, cautious at first, soon adapted their copy to suit the general public’s initial fascination with all things military, although perhaps not to the same degree as some of the ads appearing in the local papers.
I’ve not had time to browse all the Great War issues but I did have a peek at some of the early ones. I will definitely be back to check out Churchill: Man at the Helm (November 1914), General – The – Honourable – Sam (January 1915) and At the Front with the Princess Pats (April 1915). I was also very impressed by the colour covers from 1918, some of which I’ve featured in the screen shot above.
Access to the archive is free for the first month and then CAD$3.99 per month, not an unreasonable ask in my opinion. I noticed that some issues from 1916 and 1917 are missing however my understanding is that the desire for a Canada Day launch meant that some issues are still being worked on. I also noticed a couple of issues were missing pages but I suspect these will be dealt with before long.
The browsing interface was easy to use and Table of Contents feature was a handy alternative to flipping through the pages, although you won’t get to see all those fantastic period advertisements unless you do. There’s also a very helpful Search function that yielded 86 results for “Arthur Currie“, 374 results for “Vimy” and a pre-programmed “The Great War” search that returns 13,257 articles, 794 ads and 837 photos … hmmm, this could take a while.