'Saturday Evening Post' Digitizes 200-Year-Old Archives For Subscribers

The Saturday Evening Post has digitized its 200-year-old archive, containing over 3,500 covers and a half-million magazine pages featuring work from iconic writers and cover artists like Norman Rockwell and William Faulkner.

“The archives provide a wealth of rare information for the academic community, journalists, librarians, history buffs and others who want to immerse themselves in this unparalleled collection of work,” stated Joan SerVaas, CEO and president of the Saturday Evening Post Society.

The process of scanning and digitizing The Saturday Evening Post’s archive in-house took decades.

SerVaas said she first set up a tripod to start taking pictures of every cover back in the 1980s, when The Saturday Evening Post began organizing its archive.



The publication works with a number of museums and other organizations  interested in licensing its materials — a large majority of Rockwell’s work (over 300 covers) belongs to The Saturday EveningPost.

Back then, licensing of The Saturday Evening Post’s images were handled through transparencies of images that were rented for a period time for their use.

The process of saving the archives in a digital format is for “the preservation of our archive and The Saturday Evening Post,” SerVaas said.

The archives are now available to subscribers, who pay $15 a year. They can access covers by artists like Rockwell, N.C. and Andrew Wyeth and J.C. Leyendecker, and a huge trove of 20th century writers, including Ray Bradbury, Agatha Christie, Joan Didion, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Kurt Vonnegut.

It also houses some of the earliest ads for dictionaries, automobiles and microwaves.

Readers can search through the archives by year (starting from 1821), artist and theme, such as holidays or travel, SerVaas said. The magazine wants to improve the functionality of its search feature to make it easier to look for specific issues that match keywords.

SerVaas said The Saturday Evening Post's archive is especially valuable for those interested in research. “If you don’t have a past, you don’t have a present and you certainly don’t have a future.”

The Saturday Evening Post continues to license its materials and works frequently with companies that license calendars and art prints.

The publication also unveiled a new, smoother design for its website last week. One of the new features is a collection of the publication’s covers, ranging from themes like “Rainy Days” to “Back to School.”

The Saturday Evening Post has an estimated 300,000 print subscribers. Subscribers get membership to the nonprofit Saturday Evening Post Society, with exclusive curated discounts, special offers and premiums on services, ranging from insurance to 1-800-Flowers.

Next up? Digitizing the archive of The Country Gentleman, the Post's sister publication, which ran from 1831-1955.

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