Friday, 28 July 2017

Where to find vintage magazine covers

Next week sees the start of August and the My Vintage Cover photo challenge! If you missed the details about the challenge, you can read it all in my last post.

Today I wanted to talk about ways of finding your inspiration image, and share some useful resources.


Sometimes it's nice to just look at pictures the old-fashioned way: in a book. I'm not going to suggest you buy a book just to find an image for this challenge, but if you have a good local library, you might get lucky and find some good resources there. Fashion books with lots of images that I've borrowed from my library include: "The Australian Women's Weekly fashion : the first 50 years", "Vogue Fashion", and "The Chronology of Fashion". Nicole recommends "Vogue: The Covers", which looks awesome. Checking my library again I've just found "Cover up : the art of magazine covers in Australia"and "Front page : covers of the twentieth-century" - I'll let you know how they are!

Online resources:

You can actually do pretty well just from using a search engine and typing in "vintage magazine cover", but for something a little more curated, it's hard to beat Pinterest. The good thing about both of these options is that you will find results from the big names, like Vogue and Life and so on, but also ones you may never have heard of or wouldn't think to search for. Some of the lesser known titles I'm enjoying are The Queenslander, Woman and Home, and The Farmer's Wife. You can then always pick a publication and narrow your search down.

One of my favourite things to do with Pinterest, especially when the results aren't what I'm looking for (like when no one knows what a pillbox hat looks like, for example), is to search "Boards" instead of "Pins", to see who else has curated the mess for you.

I've created my own Pinterest board for magazine covers. It was going to be just ones that might be suitable to recreate but I'm afraid I couldn't stick to that. Maybe you have a zebra to ride, though?

And here are some of the best boards I found for a few delightful publications: Vogue, Life, Harper's Bazaar (this has editorials too, but is actually from Harper's Bazaar's account), and Cosmopolitan.

You can browse the covers of the Australian Women's Weekly online thanks to the National Library of Australia. Chatelaine magazine has a nice gallery of their covers through the years. You can find covers of The Queenslander on Flickr Commons, thanks to the State Library of Queensland.

I think, in fact, the hardest part is not finding the covers online, but narrowing your search and finding something that will suit you to recreate. If you have a decade in mind, that would be a good way to narrow your search. I also found some of the smaller publications by searching this way.

I also recommend seeing what your library gives you access to online (after not being a library member for many years I'm now addicted!), because I can access the Vogue archives through the State Library of NSW with my local library card number, as well as a number of other resources.

Edited to add: A couple of people on Instagram suggested also checking Ebay for vintage magazines. Even if you don't want to buy, there are some great cover images to look at there.

I hope this helps with some inspiration if you are thinking of joining in the challenge, and even if you aren't! I could look at vintage covers all day.

Nicole has recently done a round up of her previous recreations, so make sure you check out that post too.


  1. Oh my word, I love those last two!! There's so many beautiful pictures I'd just love to do, it's so hard to narrow it down. xx

    1. The Queenslander has lovely illustations - and I just noticed those two are by the same artist. Narrowing it down is tricky. I've picked one, but there are so many more I want to try as well!

  2. Thanks for the information. I will be checking them out.

  3. Great round up of places to look. I enjoy cover images to look at anyway. I enjoyed the one you put on Instagram today.

    1. Thanks! They are lovely to look at - I got quite distracted researching this!


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