Punch was one of the most popular and important newspapers of 19th Century Britain. The magazine began publication in 1841 and continued until 1992. There was a brief attempt to revive publication, but this failed in 2002. This archive seeks to catalogue digitization projects across a broad range of platforms. It forms the closest thing to a central repository of digitized editions of Punch as currently exists.
For those unfamiliar with the magazine, Punch was an illustrated satirical and political newspaper published originally by Henry Mayhew (of "The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon" fame) and engraver, Ebenezer Landells. The first edition appeared in 1841. The newspaper is best known for its amazing cartoons, really creating the idea of the political cartoon as we know it today. However, the editors insisted on a high literary content as well. The newspaper discussed topics of interest both domestically and throughout the empire. It frequently satirized politicians, particularly Benjamin Disraeli and the Conservatives. It arose during the Chartist movement and entered its golden age in the 1860s and 1870s. This is an absolutely essential source for anyone interested in Victorian social and cultural history.
What to know:
- This site is really just a repository for other digitization projects.
- There is no search feature.
- They do not have the full run of Punch. For that, you would need to visit the British Library. However, they have very good coverage from 1850 to 1922.
I am currently an Adjunct Professor of History at Lynchburg College in Virginia. I received my PhD in Modern British History from Florida State University in 2016. My research explores the way in which competing definitions of masculinity influenced army reform in the mid-nineteenth century. Civilians called for moral reforms; however, they were constantly hampered by politician and military officials' financial concerns. This work offers a number of interventions in the current historiography by exploring issues of corporal punishment, soldiers' sexuality, military suicide, and soldiers' families.