May 2, 2012

$10,000 First Prize in The Unz Historical Research Competition

Ron Unz, publisher of The American Conservative, announces:
As some of you already know, I recently released a content-archiving website,, which had absorbed most of my time and effort over the last few years. 
The website makes freely available a vast quantity of high-quality content material, including the archives of numerous important publications published during the first half of the 20th Century and earlier. Most of this important source material---millions of pages---has never previously been available to anyone except on the dusty shelves of major research libraries. 
The Wilson Quarterly recently ran a brief description of the project entitled The Periodical Table
As a means of publicizing this new website and the research value of the unique content material which it contains, I am announcing The Unz Historical Research Competition, offering a $10,000 First Prize for the most interesting and important historical research project derived from the website source materials. The competition begins today, lasts until August 31, 2012, and is open to students, academics, independent scholars, or other interested individuals, both in the United States and around the world. 
The exact details of the competition may be found on the Unz Competition website, which includes a partial listing of the periodical archives.


dearieme said...

I wonder whether someone should collect remarks that give insight but in rather a left-handed way? I have mentioned a couple of times the advantage to people living in Wales of sending their children to welsh-language schools. I've just seen this remark about a statistical study: "It makes claims that those who are taught in Welsh achieve higher grades, but this is only true if results are uncorrected for social deprivation."

Who could possibly want their children to benefit from that?

Anonymous said...

Google doesn't find the text you're quoting anywhere except on your blog. Could you give us a link?

I have to say the selection of publications at is really interesting! The front page shows only 24 publications, but this short list includes American Renaissance and CIS Backgrounder. Further in, Ramparts Magazine, Reason, and The Mises Review share a page with Ranch Romances, Real Western, and New Love Magazine? I mean, WTF???

(Also, your link to is broken).

Anonymous said...

The site is quite interesting and obviously represents a labor of love. There is however a reasonably easy to fix but important bug with the site right now, at least when viewing from Chrome on OS X.

1) First, if you go a journal page, you need to click to download a pdf for each page of an article individually:

This is a rather inconvenient way to view the content. It means you must download 100 individual pdfs, each named "download.pdf", to view 100 pages.

2) The easiest way for Ron to fix this would be to use a utility like, built into OS X:

If he's running Linux rather than OS X, you can accomplish the same join/split tasks via ghostscript.

The goal should be to have single downloadable pdfs for each article, each issue, and the journal as a whole, with semantically informative names along the lines of $Journal_$Volume_$Article.pdf

3) Ron should then consider bulk uploading these files to, and embed the results on his website. The bulk upload API will be handy:

Scribd will automatically convert the pdfs to HTML5 and set them up for search indexing. Ron can then sit back and enjoy the hits, both via scribd and by embedding them back on his site using their JS or HTML APIs.

Ron, if you want an assist with any of this, please post contact info in this thread and will email you directly.

Mencius Moldbug said...

Hey, that's actually kind of cool.

Strongly advise any competitors to spend some quality time with PM and the North American Review. The former is a treasure trove of simon-pure American communism of every hue from pink to scarlet, the latter the now rapidly declining flagship of the old American intelligentsia from Henry Adams days.

Or if you just want to know how awesome H.L. Mencken was, you can read the American Mercury from '20s to '40s. Perfect bathroom reading if you have an iPad. Ideally, you'd have an issue of the Palestinian Conservative handy, for purposes of both comparison and hygiene.

Mencius Moldbug said...

(s/PM/New Masses. It would be much cooler if could get the PM archive, but New Masses is cool enough. I defy anyone to read a single issue of New Masses and not leap to his feet screaming, "Jesus Mary mother of God, these God-damned communists haven't changed a bit.")

Mencius Moldbug said...

Alas, in typical Unz fashion, the entire worthy enterprise is ruined by one gigantic, seemingly wilful act of utter tardedness:

All submitted entries must be deemed sufficiently accurate and important that they are accepted for publication on the Wikipedia website, including reference-links to the primary source documents upon which these are based. Entries removed by the Wikipedia editors within fourteen days of their submission are ineligible for this competition. All submitted entries must include the location and text of the material added to the Wikipedia website as part of this competition. Historical discoveries which are deemed sufficiently important to warrant creation of entirely new Wikipedia pages will be given extra consideration in this competition.

In other words, the contest (is it an acronym? I keep suspecting some weird New Zealand connection), will be judged by Bacevich, Razib, Lind, Gottfried, Unz, Woods, and CyanPiggy, a very talented 16-year-old senior at Montclair High who thinks Howard Zinn is, like, oh my god, awesome.

In short - classic Unz. But still, the archives are there and (some of them) quite interesting. Dude's gotta get credit for that.

josh said...

Adding to what Anonymous said: You can't search within an article. Still, very nice, I've been perusing some 19th century periodicals for teh past couple of hours. Thank you, Mr. Unz.

Anonymous said...

Ron UNZ, God Bless you!

Dan Kurt

beowulf said...

What, Steve isn't a judge?!?

I thought I was a lock with my paper "Red Skies in Morning: Steve Sailer and his times".
I guess I should go with Plan B,
"Greg Cochran Coughing: the infectious insights of an American iconoclast".

TGGP said...

I thought Google Books has cornered the market on putting old magazines online.

The Wikipedia requirement isn't merely about judging quality. Unz said the contest is intended to publicize the site, with the intended result being that it is viewed as a good reference for sites like Wikipedia. And since Wikipedia proclaims to value verifiability (via citations) over truth (for as Pilate said, what is truth?), is a pretty good fit for it.

As with others, I have to give hats off to him for the site. If RKU really is him, I'd say that makes up for his comments. I myself made use of it here with an account of Lester Frank Ward, which was well received by someone claiming to have written most of his wikipedia article despite having a very different evaluation of the subject than the author Dr. Sniegoski.

Mitchell said...

I learnt that the Rosicrucians advertised in Weird Tales in the 1940s.

Steve Sailer said...

And in Popular Science in the late 1960s.

Anonymous said...