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Popular Culture Studies

A Note about Pop Culture Databases

The databases on this page are divided into two categories; the Primary Source databases are those that contain the full-text of popular literature materials (comic books, pulps), but not necessarily scholarly analysis, since they are put together by fans on the Internet. The Research Databases include rare materials that are usually preserved in libraries or specialized collections.  

Primary Sources Art zines, some in full-text, accompanied with artists/authors annotations and a separate section for bibliographies. 

The Digital Comic Museum: Download public domain golden age comics.

A Free Website for Periodicals, Books, and Videos: Browse by Periodicals, then by Genre/Topic (SF/ Fantasy/ Horror; Mystery /Crime/ Adventure; Western; or Romance periodicals). Maintained by Ron Unz.

Independent Voices (1960s-1980s): Index and some open access to independent alternative press, covering feminists, dissident GIs, campus radicals, Native Americans, anti-war activists, Black Power advocates, Latinos, gays, lesbians and more. 

Munseys: Pulp Ficition: A collection of full-text books. Registered users can download.

The Pulp Magazine Archive: The Internet Archive. Includes whole issues for watching and downloading.

Today’s Political Cartoons: State, local, national, and international cartoons, from the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists.

Underground and Independent Comics, Comix, and Graphic Novels: A scholarly, primary-source database focused on adult comic books and graphic novels. Includes full-text works as well as interviews, criticism, and journal articles. Browse by characters, genres, subjects, authors and publishers, as well as series and titles.

Pepines, "La historieta popular mexicana, fuente y llave privilegiada e insustituible de nuestro imaginario": Comics, adventure books, Westerns, and many more popular books from Mexico( Spanish) from the collections of the National Autonomous University in Mexico (UNAM). 

Science Fiction

Project Gutenburg's Science Fiction Bookshelf

eFanzines: Science Fiction Fanzines Online: An aggregating website for online fanzines. Edited by Bill Burns.

Cover Browser: Covers of comics, books, and more.

Candy Wrapper ArchiveCataloged, annotated, and digitized wrappers, collected by a private collector. 1900s-current.

Vintage Paperback Book Index (Bowling Green State University): Scanned cover art images of vintage paperback books.

CharacTour: An online database for fictional characters; may be searched by character's history, interests, skills, etc.

Comiclopedia: An illustrated artist compendium of over 12,000 comic artists"; managed by Lambiek, Europe's first antiquarian comic shop.

Grand Comics Database: A a nonprofit, Internet-based organization of international volunteers. The database covers all printed comics throughout the world.

PulpFest: A yearly gathering of pulp fans and scholars in Columbis, Ohio (founded 2008).

The Pulp Magazines Project: An open-access digital archive and preservation hub, including biographies of pulp authors, artists, and their publishers.

The Pulp Net: "A fan-produced website devoted to the pulp magazines of the 1890s through the 1950s." Includes bibliographies, articles (not scholarly), and many links.

ZineWiki: "The Zine Encyclopedia that anyone can edit" lists zine titles, collections, distribution services, and more.

Research Databases

American Popular Culture

Ad*Access: Historical images and database information for over 7,000 advertisements printed in U.S. and Canadian newspapers and magazines, covering five main subject areas: Radio, Television, Transportation, Beauty and Hygiene, and World War II, providing a coherent view of a number of major campaigns and companies through images preserved in one particular advertising collection available at Duke University (1911–1950).

Archive of Americana: Early American books, pamphlets, broadsides and rare printed materials, covering American history, literature, culture, and daily life. 

Center for Research Libraries, Popular literature collections: Scholars and researchers from CRL member institutions have free and unlimited use of the CRL collections through interlibrary loan. ASU Library is a member institution.

Documenting the American South: Primary sources from the Southern Collections at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Includes a "Going to the Show" section that documents the experience of movie going since motion pictures were introduced in North Carolina to the the end of the silent film era (1896-1930).

The Sixties: Primary Documents and Personal Narratives, 1960 to 1974: This database documents the key events, trends, and movements in 1960s America—vividly conveying the zeitgeist of the decade and its effects into the middle of the next. Through letters, diaries, memoirs, and oral histories; accounts from official, radical, and alternative organizations; posters, broadsides, pamphlets, advertisements, and rare materials; and Universal newsreel footage of the times, the collection tells the story of the Sixties. With The Sixties, researchers will now have personal accounts by the people who experienced events firsthand.

Southern Cultures: Some of the materials (not refereed) may apply to popular culture studies. "Explores the history, politics, folklore, literature, art, and social structures of the South, addressing common themes and conflicts among mainstream and alternative cultures in the South. Includes sections on food, music, sports, and contemporary trends." (UrlichWeb). Center for the Study of the American South, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

British Popular Culture

Nineteenth Century Collections Online (NCCO): British Theatre, Music, and Literature: High and Popular Culture (Archive 3). Popular Literature in 18th and 19th Century Britain: The Barry Ono Collection of Bloods and Penny Dreadfuls; The Sabine-Gould and Thomas Crampton Collections (Ballad and Braodside Material).

English Broadside Ballad Archive: This database makes broadside ballads of the 17th century fully accessible as texts, art, music, and cultural records. University of California at Santa Barbara, Department of English.

Chinese Popular Literature

Database of Chinese Popular Literature: Popular literary works, and popular documents and materials of successive dynasties from the Qin-Han Dynasties to the early years of the Republic of China, including novels, scripts for story-telling, theatrical texts, story songs, storytelling in southern dialects, common saying stories, rare books, and treasure volumes.

Paperbacks, Comic Books, Graphic Novels

Vintage Paperback Book Index (Bowling Green State University): "Contains bibliographic indexing, indexing of the cover art, and scanned cover art images of vintage paperback books held at the Bowling Green State University."

Underground and Independent Comics, Comix, and Graphic Novels: A scholarly online collection for researchers and students of adult comic books and graphic novels.

Film and Media

American Film Scripts: Includes authorized versions of screen play with bibliographic information about the writers and movie characters. 

Film Indexes Online: Provides access to the catalogs of the American Film Institute (AFI Catalog) and the British Film Institute (Film Index International). Film Index International indexes films released from 1900 to the present and includes information on over 115,000 films and over 57,000 personalities. The AFI Catalog provides a detailed view of American feature films produced during the last century. Full production and cast information is provided, as well as plot summaries and notes. The AFI Catalog covers over 46,000 films from 1893-58 and from1961-70, as well as listings of the top ten films from 2000 to 2003.

Media History Digital Library: Access collections of classic media periodicals that belong in the public domain for full public access.

Popular Music Studies Database: Based on the bibliographic project of Philip Tagg (University of Montreal), with collaboration with the Istituto Interculturale di Studi Musicali Comparati of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini in Italy. Interface in English.

Cornell University Hip-Hop Collection (CHHC): "The mission of the (CHHC) is to collect and make accessible the historical artifacts of Hip Hop culture and to ensure their preservation for future generations."

Hip-Hop Radio Archive: "aims to digitize, preserve, share, and contextualize recordings of hip-hop radio from the 1980s and 1990s from commercial, college, community, and pirate stations of all sizes, telling the stories of the shows and the people that made them." Not affiliated with either the Internet Archive or Cornell's Hip-Hop Collection.

The Romance Project:  Explore the origins and influences of popular romance as told in novels, films, comics, advice books, songs, and Internet fan fiction. Co-sponsored by the American Library Association, Blueberry Hill Productions, International Association for the Study of Popular Romance, Library of Congress Center for the Book, and Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (George Mason University).

Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Database: Developed at Texas A&M University, this online index to history and criticism material provides access to over 54,000 individual items.  The database is searchable by author, title, imprint, and subject terms.

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