America’s oldest literary magazine (established in 1815), the North American Review is, among magazines of all types, second in age only to the Saturday Evening Post. As such, the NAR is a national treasure of thought and discussion. Since the North American Review has been such a lively participant in the great national discussion of what is American, scholars regularly study the NAR to understand our past and present day. A wide variety of researchers find their interests intersecting with the NAR at some point. Those of us working on the present-day magazine feel honored to be connected with such a rich tradition in American letters. We provide the following information in an effort to aid your research efforts.
For researchers seeking specific articles or writers, we recommend that you contact your local reference librarian. Even if your local library doesn’t have the North American Review on site, your local library may be able to locate and obtain copies of articles through interlibrary loan services. Of course, the Rod Library at the University of Northern Iowa has a complete run of the North American Review, as do many other university libraries in the United States.
For researchers located near a college or university library, you may be able to do your own research with the following online and print indexes: Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature (1900-1939); Social Sciences & Humanities Index (1965-1974); Humanities Index (1974- ); Gale Expanded Academic and Infotrac databases (1989- ); EBSCO Academic Search databases (1993- ). The 19th century issues of the NAR are fully searchable and browsable online through Cornell University (see below). Reference librarians at Rod Library will assist with research questions about the NAR using the resources available to them. Researchers may send NAR-related questions to Rod Library through the email form at <>. Also there are some NAR materials in the Rod Library Special Collections area. These date back to the late 1960s when the NAR moved to the University of Northern Iowa campus.
For researchers looking for original manuscripts, ephemera, or artifacts, we cannot help you much. The magazine came to the University of Northern Iowa in 1968. Also, due to space limitations we cannot preserve this type of material for the years the magazine has been at the university. The Houghton Library at Harvard University holds a selection of NAR manuscript materials from the mid-19th century. Also, the Library of Congress has some NAR manuscript materials from the late 1890s to 1910. We encourage researchers to contact one of these repositories if interested in the years that are covered.
One boon for the nineteenth-century researcher is that every page of the North American Review from 1815 to 1900, as well as many other nineteenth-century publications, is available at the Cornell University Library in web-accessible, facsimile format. This content is in public domain, so no permissions are required. The website also offers a variety of viewing options from facsimile to plain text for easy inclusion in word processing documents. To access the Cornell University Library Making of America collection: <>.
Research and the North American Review
the NAR is published by the university of northern iowa