Vicarious Windows

Capturing the spirit of our past through vintage magazines & ads


Vicarious Windows is a digital museum and a unique way to study and appreciate history.

When we look back on the past, we have the luxury of knowing how it all turned out. We narrowly define its customs, styles, attitudes and expressions as just one phase in a long series of transformations leading up to our time.

But imagine the perspective of someone experiencing it all for the first time. Imagine holding a magazine from 1940. How did the person who first held this in their hands, over 80 years ago, experience the news, commentary and advertisements within? What inspired and discouraged them, informed them and amused them?

I’ve been collecting vintage magazines for many years, as a means to discover the spirit of the historic periods that most interest me.

I also look for things that would strike us oddly today, given advancements made in science, technology and a more progressive culture. Not so much to judge our ancestors for being unenlightened, but simply as a curiosity. After all, this was all they knew, and who knows what our own grandchildren will one day hold us accountable for?

This website is an attempt to digitally preserve and share these memories, along with commentary and historic background to orient readers to the slice of time they’ve stepped into.

Use the subject menu to search through different themes, like fashion, technology and gender. Or, explore different events, such as World War 2 or the Space Race. Use the search tool to find keywords within the text. Or simply pick a year, and experience it for the first time alongside your ancestors.

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