Boxoffice is one of the film industry’s most respected business journals, and they’ve recently put more than 3,000 back issues of the magazine online, free, as pdfs. Better still, they post five new back issues of the journal every week. It’s a fascinating look back at film history, and right now covers the years 1925 -2010, with a few years missing in the middle, but nothing major.
As the site says: “Welcome to the home for nearly 3000 back issues of Boxoffice Magazine, the theatrical film business’ premier trade publication since 1920. Each week we post five issues from our vast archive which covers everyone from John Barrymore to Drew Barrymore. (Before 1933, Boxoffice was published under different names in various parts of the U.S.)
Once, you had to go to a library and spend days digging through the stacks to find what you wanted; now, here it is, all at your fingertips, the complete commercial history of American film in the 20th century, and the start of the 21st. This is what the web was made for; free access, no ads, a complete and unabridged historical record. Essential reading, and lively browsing, as well.