Cengage Learning

Punch Historical Archive, 1841-1992, 1st Edition

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    • Nearly 200,000 pages

The History of Punch

The only full archive of Punch available digitally, Gale's electronic archive presents the iconic British magazine on its award-winning NewsVault platform. Often noted as the most famous magazine of humor, Punch published some of the finest comic writers in the English language - from W.M. Thackeray to P.G. Wodehouse. Its celebrated cartoons swayed governments and captured the vast shifts in life over two centuries. Recording the impact of rapid technological and social change and commenting on momentous events at home and abroad, Punch is an unrivaled resource for 19th and 20th-Century political and social history.

This collection includes the complete run of the magazine and features meaningful search functionality that enables searching across years. Only Gale NewsVault's collection enables serious research and study of the rich Punch archives.


From 1841 to 1992, Punch was the world's most celebrated magazine of humor and satire. From its early years as a campaigner for social justice to its transformation into national icon, Punch played a central role in the formation of British identity – and how the rest of the world saw the British.

The full-text searchable online archive of Punch ─ Punch Historical Archive, 1841–1992 ─ is now available for scholars, students, and researchers to explore. The archive is an unrivaled resource for researching and teaching 19th and 20th century political and social history on key themes such as World War I and World War II; wars and conflicts; colonialism, imperialism, the impact of new technology; public health, conservation, and environmentalism; social change; and the role of women.

Available as a stand-alone or via Gale's award-winning NewsVault platform, Punch Historical Archive includes:

  • Approximately 7,900 issues (200,000 pages) from all volumes of Punch between 1841–1992
  • Includes Almanacks and other special publications, as well as prefaces, epilogues, indexes, and other specially produced material from the bound volumes
  • Images originally published in full color appear in full color within the archive

An intuitive online platform offers users multiple search paths including:

  • Basic search
  • Advanced search by index types: article title, keyword, entire document, caption, or contributor
  • Limit searches by publication date, article type, illustration type, or special issues
  • Research tools include specially commissioned essays by scholars
  • Browse by issue, special issue, or contributor
  • All articles and image captions are fully text searchable with hit-term highlighting

Detailed Overview

Gale is pleased to be collaborating with Liverpool John Moores University on the transcription of the Punch contributor ledgers from 1843-1919. With contributions to the magazine unattributed to 1902, information from the ledgers will be incorporated into the Punch Historical Archive, allowing users to identify contributors and better understand the nature of the magazine and the Victorian periodical press.

Key research themes that can be investigated through the Punch Historical Archive include:

• World War I and World War II: Historian Asa Briggs wrote that the World War II numbers of Punch 'recapture the mood of the period perhaps more evocatively than any other source.'
• Wars and Conflicts: Conflicts from the Crimean War to the Cold War, looking in the 20th century at the roles of new international organizations.
• Colonialism, Imperialism, and End of Empire: From Ireland to India, the zenith and decline of the British Empire.
• Impact of New Technology and Modernity: Reactions to urbanization and industrailization, new forms of transportation, technology and communiation, scientific theories of evolution, and the atomic age all appeared in the pages of Punch.
• Public Health, Conservation, and Environmentalism: The rapid growth of the city and the spread of the railways led to rising concerns in Punch over pollution, public health, and protecting fragile landscapes in the 19th century, to the environmentalism of the 1960s and 1970s.
• Social Change: Punch was an acute observer of a changing society documenting family life, Thirties unemployment, the Welfare State, postwar immigration, shifts in fashion, leisure, and entertainment.
• Role of Women: Researchers will find a wealth of material on women's equality, the 'New Woman,' suffragettes, women in the workplace, and women during two world wars.

More Information: Fact Sheet (PDF, 2 MB)

More Information: The Cartoons of Punch (PDF, 491 KB)

More Information: Essays (PDF, 253 KB)

More Information: Sample Searches (PDF, 1 MB)

More Information: The Writings of Punch (PDF, 389 KB)


Reviews & Testimonials

"This is an important publication reflecting the culture of its times. It will be very valuable to have the illustrations represented in color, in addition to text which can be searched along with other historical digital collections from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries."

— eDesiderata, Center for Research Libraries


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News & Press

Punch Historical Archive goes online
Read full article on Times Higher Education website

Punch Archive gives satirical look at history
Read full article on Information World Review website

Punch magazine digital archive will help researchers study First World War
Read full article on Centenary News website

10 amazing Punch magazine sketches from 1859 to 1981
Read full article on BBC History Magazine website

Sex, Silliness and Good Old British Pluck (written by Griff Rhys Jones)
Read full article on The Lady website