Research in US History
The following is a selected list of resources for starting research in U.S. History. For help finding primary sources, try the guide to Research Using Primary Sources. For further assistance, ask at the Reference Desk or contact the History Librarian (John Russell; firstname.lastname@example.org; (541) 346-2689; AIM: UOHistLib).
Off-campus access to some of the electronic resources listed on this page is limited to current UO students, faculty, and staff and is indicated by a UO button .
The following reference sources can help you identify a topic for your research, provide an overview of a specific issue or topic, and suggest other materials which might be useful for your research. Always use the index if one is available. Remember to follow the cross-references.
- Dictionary of American History; KNIGHT REFERENCE E174.D52 1976
A multivolume collection of 7,200 articles in alphabetical order. Provides index, cross references and brief bibliographies. Covers political, economic, social, industrial, and cultural history.
- Encyclopedia of American Social History; KNIGHT REFERENCE HN57 .E58 1993
A three-volume encyclopedia of thematic articles including such themes as "Periods of Social Change", "Ethnic & Racial Subcultures", and "Work & Labor". Includes detailed index.
- Reader's Companion to American History; KNIGHT REFERENCE E174 .R43 1991
A single volume of 1,000+ brief articles in alphabetical order. Provides cross references and brief bibliographies. Covers political, economic, social and cultural history.
- Reader's Guide to American History; KNIGHT REFERENCE Z1239 .R43 1997
A single volume of thematic articles in alphabetical order. A good place to start your research. Provides cross references and bibliographies. Covers political, economic, and social history. Emphasis is on books rather than journal articles. Includes thematic and alphabetical lists of articles contained in the guide, a list of books organized by author and a general index.
- Encyclopedia of the United States in the nineteenth century; KNIGHT REFERENCE E169.1 .E626 2001
A three-volume encyclopedia containing articles on all manner of topics in the nineteenth-century U.S. Provides cross references, a chronology, an index, and bibliographies.
- Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing; KNIGHT REFERENCE D14.E53 1999
A two-volume encyclopedia alphabetically arranged. The three types of essays include topical essays, those on individual historians, and those on nations or geographical regions. Geographical essays "provide a survey of the debates around historiographical questions within national histories." All entries include extensive bibliographies.
- Specialized Encyclopedias
A specialized encyclopedia. . .
- has a more specific focus such as on a region, gender or ethnic group,
- usually contains longer and more detailed articles than a general encyclopedia,
- often has articles signed by experts in the field whose work you can look up in the library catalog or in America: History & Life,
- is considered more trustworthy and authoritative because of these authors,
- has bibliographies and cross-references to follow for more information unlike general encyclopedias.
- Other Strategies
- Browse the nearby shelves for related information.
- Talk to your professor & others with subject knowledge.
- Ask a librarian.
- Dictionary of American Biography; KNIGHT REFERENCE E176.D56
- American Lives KNIGHT REFERENCE E176 .D5635 1998
The DAB is a well-respected, scholarly, multi-volume American biographical dictionary. Continued by American Lives.
- Biography and Genealogy Master Index
An index to hundreds of sources of biographical information of people worldwide from all time periods.
- Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography
KNIGHT REFERENCE CT213 .C36 1995
Organized alphabetically with alphabetic and Occupation Indexes. Contains brief biographical sketches.
- Directory of Historical Organizations in the United States and Canada
KNIGHT REFERENCE E 172 .A538
Organized by state then city. Contains addresses and brief descriptions of organizations and their collections if any.
To look for articles in journals, newspapers, or magazines, you will need to start with an index. An index will allow you to look for article citations by subject, by author, or by a few keywords which describe your topic.
written later from a historical perspective
- America: History & Life
The main index in American history; it covers the history of the U.S. & Canada from prehistory to the present. Check out the ClioNotes feature that allows browsing by chronologies and includes brief summaries of significant events and themes in American history.
- Academic Search Premier
An interdisciplinary index. Includes citations from popular as well as scholarly journals. Provides full text for over 3,600 journals as well as indexing and abstracts for nearly 4,500 additional journals many of which are peer reviewed.
Indexes to Primary Accounts
written at the time of the event
See also Select Primary Sources Online
- Nineteenth Century Masterfile ;
KNIGHT REFERENCE AI3.P7
Available in print and electronic formats. Also known as 19th-century Masterfile. Covers magazine and newspaper articles, 1802-1906. Can be useful for finding contemporary thought on an issue. Women's education in the 1850s.
- Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature (1890-present); KNIGHT REFERENCE AI 3 .R48
- Readers' Guide Retrospective (1890-1982)
Indexes magazine and newspaper articles. Same strengths as Nineteenth Century Masterfile above. UO is more likely to own the magazines cited in the Reader's Guide than in Nineteenth Century Masterfile.
- American Periodicals Series
Searchable full text of over 1,100 magazines and newspapers 1740-1900. Select Advanced Search and click on More Search Options at the bottom left to search specifically for advertisements, photos, editorial cartoons, illustrations, obituaries, etc.
After identifying articles which look useful for your research, look up the journal title, not the article title, in the UO Library Catalog to determine if the Library subscribes to this title and get the call number and location.
Older issues of many newspapers are kept on microfilm in the Microforms Department of the Knight Library. They are organized alphabetically by the city of publication.
- UO Library Catalog
Identify books by topic, title or author. Identify journals and magazines owned by the UO Library. If you do not find a pre-1976 book here, look in the card catalog (by author or title only) in the Current Periodicals Room.
- Summit: the catalog of the Orbis Cascade Alliance
Orbis Cascade puts millions of items at your fingertips. Books not owned by the UO Library or not available for check out may be requested through Orbis Cascade Borrowing: Request Item.
- History of Women Collection Guide
Guide to an extensive microfilm collection of literature by and about American and European women from the 1700s through 1920.
- ECCO: Eighteenth-Century Collections Online Claims to include every significant English-language and foreign-language title printed in Great Britain during the eighteenth century (1701-1800), along with thousands of important works from the Americas. Includes a variety of materials â" from books and directories, Bibles, sheet music and sermons to advertisements â" and works by many well-known and lesser-known authors. An excellent source for European history!
- Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times to 1970
KNIGHT REFERENCE HA205.A385
Produced by the Bureau of the Census. Contains index and source notes to American social, economic, political and geographic development, 1610-1970.
- Statistical Abstract of the United States
KNIGHT REFERENCE HA202 .A36
Contains statistics on diverse topics. Available 1889-present. Note that numbers in the index refer to table numbers not pages.
- The Value of a Dollar: Prices and Incomes in the United States, 1860-1989
DOCUMENTS REFERENCE HB235.U6 V35 1994
Provides comparative incomes and prices for various professions and products. Organized by year.
- Accunet/AP Multimedia Archive
A rich database including about 750,000 current and archived photos from the library of the Associated Press. You can also search in the full text of Associated Press news releases, sound clips, and AP information graphics (charts, graphs, etc.).
Guides to the Web
- American Studies Web
A topical database of over 2,000 web-based resources in American Studies.
- American Women's History: A Research Guide
An extensive guide maintained by Ken Middleton at the MTSU Library.
- Best of History Web Sites from the Center for Teaching History with Technology
- Timeline of American Thought
Emphasizing philosophy, theology & political theory. Created by John Shook of Oklahoma State University
- Searching the Web
A guide to search engines prepared by the UO Libraries.
- Citing Sources in Research Papers
- Evaluating Information on the World Wide Web
- American Memory
A project of the Library of Congress providing over 7 million digital items.
- Internet Modern History Sourcebook
One of a series of history primary sourcebooks intended to serve the needs of teachers and students in college survey courses.
- Making of America
A digital library of primary sources in 19th century American social history. A collaborative project beginning with the libraries of Cornell University and the University of Michigan.
- Research Using Primary Resources
A select list of resources and strategies for starting research using primary sources.