As with classic books of literature, vintage magazines hold a special place for collectors. From the potpourri of contents in Reader's Digest to the striking pin-ups of Bettie Page, the publications reflect the ever-changing ideas and opinions about everything that entertains and educates. Although many journals have gone digital or ceased entirely, these prints are a lovely preservation of times past.

Critical essays, now known as op-eds, generally involving political and social norms of the day, dominated the original vintage magazines in the mid-1600s. Edifying Monthly Discussions, Journal des Scavans, Philosophical Transactions, Giornale de' letterati, and Weekly Memorials for the Ingenious represented thoughts across the continents, and they gave the public a slightly lengthier alternative to short leaflets and broadsides. Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine created scholarly digests for the colonies in the early 1700s, as Europe then tailored publications for their own audiences, with titles such as Ladies Mercury, Female Tatler, and The Gentleman's Magazine.

During the late 19th century, when periodicals cost an average of 10 cents per issue, entertainment, home styling, and social commentary became additional features. Popular works included the Saturday Evening Post, Home Chat, The Strand Magazine, Cosmopolitan, and McClure's Magazine. Publishers also added advertisements and artwork to these old magazines, to boost sales and interest. By the early 1900s, well-known titles such as National Geographic, Time, Harper's Bazar (now Harper's Bazaar), and Sports Illustrated had captivated attention and garnered devoted audiences.

There's intrinsic value in looking through the publications that defined particular eras. You see capsules of what was considered ideal, controversial, or groundbreaking, along with what incurred glowing and scathing reviews. You'll find a range of options when looking to buy vintage magazines from sellers at AbeBooks, including copies enclosed in plastic sleeves, first edition supplements, and gently used rarities. Check out the breakthrough discoveries in Scientific American, pulp fiction in Smash Detective, elegant actresses gracing the covers of Movie Stars' Parade, and many more literary gems.