Library Blog

Times Literary Supplement Historical Archive, 1902-2013

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Library provides members with access to a variety of electronic resources—magazines, historical newspapers, scholarly journals, e-books, audiobook downloads, and more. In the coming months, we will be using the Library blog to periodically highlight the digital riches available from our website. (See our previous post on Oxford Reference Online here.) To explore what we offer, click the Electronic Resources tab at the top of our home page. If you have any questions, ask at the reference desk or email To use our electronic resources, you will need your Library login. If you don’t have one, email the help desk:

Over 100 years of the Times Literary Supplement—every page, every issue—is available to Library members from our website anywhere there is an internet connection. The archive begins with the first issue in 1902 and runs through 2013. (Another year is added to the TLS digital archive annually.) The content of these back issues collectively forms one of the finest chronicles of western cultural, critical, and intellectual history available, featuring in-depth book reviews (and brief reviews, too), letters, essays, and more from some of the most influential critics of the 20th and 21st centuries. Whether you want to see how a canonical work was reviewed in the UK at its time of publication, or you are curious about digging into the works of forgotten writers, the TLS archive is an indispensable tool.  

One of the most exciting features of the TLS database is that it includes the names of contributors who until 1974 were uncredited, the result of extensive research in the TLS’s institutional archives. Search Virginia Woolf as a contributor, for example, and one can read hundreds of reviews that she wrote anonymously for the TLS, covering a wide variety of works. Her contibutions begin in 1905, roughly a decade before she published her first novel, and continue throughout her career, shedding light on her career as a writer. T.S. Eliot appears as a contributor 94 times, including about 20 appearances on the letters page. 

To get started:

  • First, login to the Library’s website (left side of screen under Marginalia)
  • Click the Electronic Resources tab on top of the web page
  • Click the link for Times Literary Supplement, which you will find under “Arts and Literature.” You will then be sent to our online catalog.
  • Click the appropriate "In Library" or "Outside Library" link, and you will be sent to the TLS Historical Archive website. You will know you are logged in as a Library member when you see “New York Society Library” in the black bar at the top of the screen.

Searching the TLS platform is straightforward and user-friendly. The Advanced Search function features a variety of options via pull-downs that can be employed simultaneously for focused searches: book title or author, contributor, article title, translator, and more. Searches can be limited by publication date and article type, including letters, advertisements, type of material under review, and more. It is recommended that you start with the Advanced Search option to focus your search. If this doesn’t yield satisfactory results try opening up your search by reducing the number of limiters, or by trying a “full-text” search. One may use the "Browse" pull-down menu to browse by book title, author, and more, or to see a comprehensive list of contributors to the TLS.

Search results display in chronological order. Click on a search result to see a page image scanned as a PDF file. Click on the text, hold, and drag your mouse up and down to scan the full text of the page. Users may use the magnifying glass icons to adjust the size of the text image on their screen. A "find" feature allows users to search a specific term within a search result. Additional icons allow users to download, scan, print, or bookmark an article of page scan. (The printing option is, unfortunately, the only shortcoming in an otherwise excellent user experience: font-sizes on print-outs can be frustratingly small.) Article citations in various standard formats (MLA, etc.) can be exported, as well.

In addition to the TLS archive, we also offer members access to complete files of The London Review of Books and The New York Review of Books, as well as Book Review Index Online Plus, Proquest’s Historical Newspapers database, and Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literatureall excellent resources for full-text book reviews or citations. For information on print sources devoted to historical book reviews in the Library collection, see our blog post “Writers in Their Time.” For assistance with any of our electronic resources, stop by the Reference Desk between 11am and 4pm, or e-mail

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