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Maple Woods - American Decades

Explore the history and popular culture of America by decades.

A Look at History

Investigating the decades -- who was famous, what was happening, what products people used, what was popular -- can be a fascinating way to study history.


Browse the Timelines sections of these history databases, or look in the Topic Centers for information by decade.

Great Source for Decades Research

Readers' Guide can take you back in time to explore what was being reported and written about in popular magazines of the period. The Maple Woods Library has volumes of Readers' Guide back to 1900 and to the present time.

So if you are researching the 1940s, for example, you could browse through the volumes for those years and discover what subjects were being published in magazines that people were reading. Were there many articles about victory gardens and other aspects of life on the homefront during the war? What was coverage of the war like in the news magazines? What was different in the post-war years?

While this reference tool is strictly an index, you may be able to read some of the articles on microfilm (see list below).

Find Readers' Guide in the Circulation area of the library near the current issues of magazines and journals.


Magazines and newspapers can be great sources of information. Reading what was happening in a particular week or month gives you that immediacy that is so valuable in historical research. Even the ads can provide clues to what was considered important at the time. These titles, which the library has on microfilm, should be of particular interest:

Ebony 1959-current

Kansas City Star  1974-current

Life  1960-1972

Look  1960-1971

New York Times 1851-1900; 1914-1919; 1939-1945; 1966-current

Newsweek  1940-current

Saturday Evening Post  1960-1969

Time  1923-current

U.S. News & World Report  1933-current

Ask at the Reference Desk for microfilm and the location of the reader/printer.

Subject Guide