Resources by Subject U.S. History


Reference Sources (Background)
Locating Books
Locating Articles (Databases & Indexes)
Film and Video
Evaluating Sources
Citing Sources

For additional sources relating to United States history, see the Biography and Civil War pages.

Reference Sources (Background)

Oxford Reference Online: History (current, full text)
Search reference books published by Oxford University Press. Includes A Dictionary of Contemporary World History, A Dictionary of World History, A Dictionary of Political Biography, and Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages among others.

Credo Reference (current, full text)
Over 500 reference books and sets from several publishers covering all subject areas.

Oxford Companion to American Military History (current, full-text)
Over 1000 entries covering war, peace, and the U. S. military.

Oxford Companion to United States History (current, full-text)
Concise, signed entries covering all aspects of U.S. history and its interpretation.

Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History (2006, 6 volumes)
Ref E 185 .E54 2006
Signed entries covering people, events, legal cases, and cultural achievements. Richly illustrated. Vol. 6 has primary source documents, statistical tables and extensive indexes.

Encyclopedia of American historical documents (2004, 3 volumes)
Ref E 173 .E54 2004
Primary source documents with brief editorial introductions; from Christopher Columbus' journal (1492) to legislation establishing the Homeland Security Department (2002.)

A Financial History of the United States (2002, 3 volumes)
Ref HG 181 .M297 2002
Topical essays arranged in broad chronological segments, from 15th century world trade to the stock market response to September 11, 2001.

Handbook of American Women's History (2000)
Ref HQ 1410 .H36 2000
Concise introduction to people, crucial concepts, events, and organizations. Includes bibliographies.

The Presidents : A Reference History (2002)
Ref E 176.1 .P918 2002
Historical analysis of every U.S. president by leading presidential scholars. Includes bibliographies and comprehensive index.

Reader's Companion to American History (1999)
Ref E 174 .R43 1999
Overview of the main themes and personalities of American history. Signed, alphabetical entries with short bibliographies.

Finding Books

The Library of Congress Classifications for U.S. History are E and F:

E11-143 America
E151-899 United States (general)
E186-199 Colonial History (1607-1775)
E201-298 The Revolution (1775-1783)
E456-655 Civil War (1861-1865)
E660-738 Late Nineteenth Century (1765-1900)
E740-889 Twentieth Century
E895-999 Twenty-first Century
F1-975 United States Local History

The library's online catalog, providing access to books, journals, music, and movies in the library.

A catalog of books and other materials in libraries worldwide.

Books and articles not owned by our library can be obtained from other libraries through Interlibrary Loan. Allow sufficient time for processing.  Average turnaround time is 3-5 days for articles and 3-14 days for books, excluding holidays and weekends. Submit ILL requests well in advance of deadlines.

Locating Articles (Databases & Indexes)

Academic Search Complete (1988 to present, some full-text)
Articles from selected popular magazines and scholarly journals in all disciplines.

OmniFile Full Text Mega (some full text; most 1994 to present, with some 1982 to present)
Articles from scholarly and popular sources in all disciplines.

Project MUSE (generally late 1990s to date)
Full-text database covering over 300 journals in the humanities, arts, and social sciences.

JSTOR (dates vary by journal, full text)
An archive of over 400 journals in many disciplines.

European Views of the Americas: 1493-1750 (citations, 1493-1750)
Index to printed works about the Americas published in Europe.

Making of the Modern World (full-text; 1450-1914)
Digital reproductions of over 66,000 rare primary source books and serial publications chronicling the development of the modern western world through world trade, exploration and colonization of the New World, the Industrial Revolution and the development of modern capitalism. Subject coverage includes history, political science, economics and business, women's studies, and legal and religious history. Individual publications are also in MaconCat.

Harp Week (Civil War and Reconstruction)
Electronic full-text access to Harper's Weekly: 1857-1912.

Richmond Daily Dispatch (1860-1865)
Electronic full-text access to primary Richmond newspaper during Civil War years.

Virginia Gazette (1736-1780)
Electronic full-text access to the official newspaper of colonial Virginia.

19th Centry British Library Newspapers (full text; 1800-1900)
Full-text searchable editions with page images of nearly 50 newspapers from England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. In addition to articles, includes advertisements, classified ads, obituaries, editorials, etc.

Once you know which journals you need, search Journals A-Z to see if they are online or in the library.

Film and Video

American History In Video
Hundreds of hours of historical film footage compiled from commercial and governmental newsreels, archival footage, public affairs footage, and important documentaries on American history.

PBS Streaming Video Collection
Hundreds of hours of streaming video content from PBS, including programming from series such as Frontline, NOVA, and The American Experience.

Web sites 

AMDOCS: Documents for the Study of American History
Primary sources of American history, 1200 to the present, including images, audio and text files.

American Memory (The Library of Congress)
Collections of primary source and archival material relating to American culture and history.
(Miller Center, University of Virginia)
In depth information reviewd by prominent scholars on each President and administration.

American Revolution Portal
(Hosted by the Boston Public Library’s Leventhal Map Center)
Scholars can now access revolutionary-era maps from leading cartographic collections around the world with one search. The American Revolution Portal features maps that date from the French and Indian War (1754-1763) to the early days of the new republic. The collection focuses on maps of European colonies in North America and the Atlantic world. Users can download them for research or classroom use.

American Women's History: A Research Guide
Index to research sources plus links to digital collections of primary source materials.

Chronology of U.S. Historical Documents (University of Oklahoma College of Law)
Links to full-text primary source documents from pre-Colonial Era to the present.

Making of America (University of Michigan)
A digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction.

Battle for Bunker Hill (Massachusetts Historical Society)
A web exhibition of personal accounts and eyewitness descriptions of the battle, along with contemporary maps, drawings, engravings, broadsides, and artifacts.

Cold War International History Project (Woodrow Wilson International Center)

Papers of the War Department, 1784-1800
Primary source documents of the United States War Department which was responsible for Indian affairs, veteran affairs, naval affairs, as well as militia and army matters.

Wars for Viet Nam: 1945-1975 (Vassar College)
Full-text primary source documents and links to other scholarly Viet Nam war sites.

Evaluating Sources

Evaluating Sources (R-MC)

Primary Sources versus Secondary Sources (R-MC)

Popular Sources versus Scholarly Sources (R-MC)

Critical Evaluation of Resources on the Internet (University of Alberta Libraries)

Citing Sources

Citing Full-Text from Library Databases (R-MC)

The Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab)
Includes information and examples for MLA, APA, and Chicago styles.

KnightCite (Calvin College)
Automatically formats citation information according to MLA, APA, or Chicago styles.

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