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These pages are no longer updated.
Please use our new American Studies Research Guide at

Be sure to update any links or bookmarks to point to the new guides.

This guide provides links to resources available at the Waidner-Spahr Library and on the World Wide Web to support the American Studies program at Dickinson College.

Some resources are restricted to people currently affiliated with Dickinson.

Because American Studies research can cross over many academic disciplines (such as History, Sociology, or Economics) students are strongly encouraged to consult with a librarian for help with specific topics.

Liaison Librarian: Malinda Triller Doran, 245-1462.


Library Collection Resources @ Dickinson

General Collection

Full length books on subjects relating to American Studies may be found in the Waidner-Spahr Library Catalog. However, because American Studies can encompass such a wide range of topics, the following are some suggestions for search terms to try, but should not be viewed as a complete list. Try your own combinations or terms to narrow your search.

Search Terms:

American Popular / Culture Native American / Race and America / Religion / War African-Americans / Asian-Americans / Latino-Americans / American Business / Folk Art / American Education / American Feminism / Immigration

Reference Collection

(dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc.)

The reference collection at the Waidner-Spahr Library contains an enormous amount of information on American History and society.

Simply typing in the term “American” in the search field and selecting “Reference Stacks” for location will yield over 1,000 items.

Therefore, the following list is a brief selection of sources on various aspects of American studies and should not be viewed as the extent of available reference material. Try searching with some of the search terms provided above.

General Information

Encyclopedia of American Studies

The Encyclopedia of American Studies brings together a wide range of disciplines related to the history and cultures of the United States, from pre-colonial days to the present. It features broad, synthetic articles covering areas such as history, literature, art, photography, film, architecture, urban studies, ethnicity, race, gender, economics, politics, wars, consumer culture, and global America.

Credo Reference

Includes almost 500 encyclopedic titles from respected publishers in all disciplines taught at Dickinson, including various language dictionaries, the Marquis Who’s Who series and numerous other biographical sources, economics and business encyclopedias, food and agriculture sources, publishing sources, atlases, and many encyclopedias covering the arts, history, literature, science, technology, religion, philosophy, politics, psychology, geography and country studies, and more.

American Philosophy : An Encyclopedia / John Lachs. New York : Routledge, 2008 REFERENCE B850 .A43 2008


A Native American Encyclopedia : History, Culture, and Peoples / Barry M. Pritzker. Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2000. REFERENCE E76.2 .P75 2000

Treaties with American Indians : An Encyclopedia of Rights, Conflicts, and Sovereignty / Donald Lee Fixico. Santa Barbara, Calif. : ABC-CLIO, c2008 (3 vols.) REFERENCE KF8203.6 .T74 2008

Encyclopedia of African American History 1619-1895 : From the Colonial Period to the Age of Frederick Douglass / Paul Finkelman. New York : Oxford University Press, 2006 (3 vols.) REFERENCE E185 .E545 2006

Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History / General editor Jack Salzman ; associate editors, Greg Robinson, Thaddeus Russell. New York : Macmillan Reference USA, c1995-2001. (5 vols. and supplements). REFERENCE E185 .E54 1995

Encyclopedia of African American Politics / Robert C. Smith. New York : Facts On File, c2003 REFERENCE E185 .S58155 2003

Racial and Ethnic Relations in America / editorial board, Carl L. Bankston III ... [et al.]. Pasadena, Calif. : Salem Press, c2000. (3 vols.) REFERENCE E49 .R33 2000

The Mexican American Experience : An Encyclopedia / Matt S. Meier. Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 2003 REFERENCE E184 .M5 M4535 2003

Encyclopedia of Latin American Politics / Diana Kapiszewski. Westport, Conn. : Oryx Press, 2001 REFERENCE F1410 .E56 2001

Encyclopedia of American Immigration / James Ciment. Armonk. N.Y. : M.E. Sharpe, 2001 (4 vols.) REFERENCE JV6465 .E53 2000

The Columbia Guide to Asian American History / Gary Y. Okihiro. New York : Columbia University Press, c2001. REFERENCE E184 .O6 C64 2001.


The Oxford encyclopedia of women in world history / Bonnie G. Smith, editor in chief. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Women and American Television : An Encyclopedia / Denise Lowe. Santa Barbara, Calif. : ABC-CLIO, 1999. REFERENCE PN1992.8 .W65 L69 1999

Encyclopedia of Women and Religion in North America / Rosemary Skinner Keller. Bloomington : Indiana University Press, c2006 (3 vols.) REFERENCE BL458 .E52 2006

Encyclopedia of Women in American Politics / Jeffrey D. Schultz. Phoenix : Oryx Press, 1999 REFERENCE HQ1236.5 .U6 E53 1999

Feminism : A Reference Handbook / Harlan, Judith. Denver : ABC-CLIO, c1998. REFERENCE HQ1410 .H365 1998

Foreign Policy

Encyclopedia of American Foreign Policy / Glenn P. Hastedt. New York : Facts On File, c2004 REFERENCE E183.7 .H28 2004


Violence in America : An Encyclopedia / Ronald Gottesman, editor in chief ; Richard Maxwell Brown, consulting editor. New York : Charles Scribner's Sons, c1999. New York : Charles Scribner's Sons, c1999. (3 vols.) REFERENCE HN90 .V5 V5474 1999

Encyclopedia of Modern American Social Issues / Kronenwetter, Michael. Santa Barbara, Calif. : ABC-CLIO, 1997. REFERENCE HN57 .K73 1997

Fashion and Costume in American Popular Culture : A Reference Guide / Valerie Burnham Oliver. Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1996. GT605 .O45 1996

The Encyclopedia of American Crime / by Carl Sifakis New York : Facts on File, 2001. Reference HV6789 .S54 2000

Encyclopedia of American Folk Art / Gerard C. Wertkin. New York : Routledge, 2004 Available Online.

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America / Andrew F. Smith. Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, c2004 (2 vols.) REFERENCE TX349 .E45 2004

Guns in American Society : An Encyclopedia of History, Politics, Culture, and the Law] / Gregg Lee Carter. Santa Barbara, Calif. : ABC-CLIO, Inc., c2002 (2 vols.) Available Online.

Encyclopedia of American Cultural & Intellectual History / Mary Kupiec Cayton. New York : Charles Scribner's Sons, c2001 (3 vols.) REFERENCE E169.1 .E624 2001

Encyclopedia of American Education / Harlow G. Unger. New York : Facts on File, 2001 (3 vols.) REFERENCE LB17 .U54 2001

The Automobile in American History and Culture : A Reference Guide / Michael L. Berger. Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 2001. TL23 .B43 2001

Sports : A Reference Guide and Critical Commentary, 1980-1999 / Donald L. Deardorff II. Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 2000. REFERENCE GV704 .D42 2000


Historical Encyclopedia of American Labor / Robert E. Weir. Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, c2004 (2 vols.) REFERENCE HD8066 .H57 2004 and also Available Online.

Encyclopedia of American Women in Business : From Colonial Times to the Present / Carol Krismann. Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 2005 (2 vols.) REFERENCE HD6054.4 .U6 K753 2004

Encyclopedia of American Business / W. Davis Folsom. New York : Facts On File, 2004 REFERENCE HF1001 .E463 2004


Encyclopedia of the New American Nation : The Emergence of the United States, 1754-1829 / Paul Finkelman. Detroit : Charles Scribner's Sons : Thomson Gale, c2006 (3 vols.) REFERENCE E301 .E53 2006

Encyclopedia of the American Civil War : A Political, Social, and Military History / David Stephen Heidler. Santa Barbara, Calif. : ABC-CLIO, c2000 (5 vols.) REFERENCE E468 .H47 2000

War and American Popular Culture : A Historical Encyclopedia / M. Paul Holsinger. Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1999 REFERENCE E181 .W26 1999

Encyclopedia of American Social History / Mary Kupiec Cayton. New York : Scribner ; Toronto : Maxwell Macmillan Canada ; New York : Maxwell Macmillan International, c1993 (3 vols.) REFERENCE HN57 .E58 1993

The Columbia Companion to American History on Film : How the movies have Portrayed the American Past / edited by Peter C. Rollins. New York : Columbia University Press, c2003. REFERENCE PN1995.9 .U64 C65 2003

Electronic Resources

Because American Studies can encompass a wide range of potential topics, virtually any database may have information relevant to your research. However, the following databases are recommended as places to start. Try searching for some of the terms listed for the catalog as well as those related more specifically to your topic.

General Databases

These databases are multi-discipline and contain materials on a wide range of topics. They make excellent places to start your research.

Academic Search Complete

A scholarly, multi-disciplinary full-text database for the humanities, sciences and social sciences. Includes scholarly journals, magazines, conference proceedings and books. For newspaper coverage, use Newspaper Source Plus.• Coverage Range: 1887-present • Full-Text


An interdisciplinary archive of over 600 journals in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Usually contains older documents, anywhere from 1-5 years.

Project Muse

Covers the fields of literature and criticism, history, the visual and performing arts, cultural studies, education, political science, gender studies, economics, and many others. This is the current content equivalent to JSTOR. It has less material but the material is more recent.

American Studies Databases

These databases primarily deal with topics related to American history and culture. Try searching for some of the same terms provided for searching the library catalog to get started.

American History and Life

Covers the history and culture of the United States and Canada, from prehistory to the present. With indexing for 1,700 journals from 1964 to present. This database offers citations only. However, Dickinson College may have the article in another database or in our print collections. Be sure to check the journal locater or it may be ordered from another library using ILLIAD.

Encyclopedia of American Studies

The Encyclopedia of American Studies brings together a wide range of disciplines related to the history and cultures of the United States, from pre-colonial days to the present. It features broad, synthetic articles covering areas such as history, literature, art, photography, film, architecture, urban studies, ethnicity, race, gender, economics, politics, wars, consumer culture, and global America.

American Memory Project

Distinctive, primary materials from the Library of Congress's Americana collection. Includes photographs, manuscripts, rare books, maps, recorded sound, and moving pictures.

Archives USA

A current directory of 5,500 repositories and 141,178 collections of primary source material housed across the United States.

Documenting the American South

An extensive collection of sources on Southern history, literature, culture, and religion. The Southern Homefront, 1861-1865 The Church in the Southern Black Community.

Making of America (Cornell University)

Making of America (U. of Michigan)

Making of America (MOA), a digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction. The collection is particularly strong in the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology. This site provides access to 267 monograph volumes and over 100,000 journal articles with 19th century imprints. The two collections contain different information so be sure to search both.

American Civil War

Illustrated Civil War Newspapers and Magazines

Important and Rare Periodicals from Confederate, Union, Abolitionist, and British Presses. The database contains 65,000 pages drawn from 49 periodicals, including 15 campaign newspapers, most of them illustrated—3,720 issues published from 1860 to 1865.

Documenting the American South

An extensive collection of sources on Southern history, literature, culture, and religion. The Southern Homefront, 1861-1865 The Church in the Southern Black Community

Civil War Era (Proquest)

Proquest Civil War Era combines complete runs of regional newspapers, as well as pamphlets covering a wide range of topics. It's a deep set of primary sources, with documents that encompass the buildup to and evolution of the American Civil War that shaped the Nation's identity, all in original article and page image.

American Civil War: Letters and Diaries

The American Civil War: Letters and Diaries contains more than 400 sources of diaries, letters, and memoirs, to provide fast access to thousands of views on almost every aspect of the war. This electronic collection includes 100,000 pages of re-keyed and indexed text, including 4,000 facsimile pages of previously unpublished manuscript material.

Population Topics (polling data, population trends, etc.)

Polling the Nations

Polling the Nations is a unique resource for researchers on public opinions. Gleaned from more than 1,400 polling sources, the database is the most comprehensive source of polling information, and its breadth of information provides an opportunity to analyze trends, compare attitudes, and contrast behavior on more than 5,800 topics.


POPLINE® (POPulation information onLINE) provides more than 350,000 citations with abstracts to scientific articles, reports, books, and unpublished reports in the field of population studies, family planning, women’s studies, and related environmental and health issues. Primarily English, but also includes many abstracts in French and Spanish. A limit to peer-reviewed articles feature is available. Maintained by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health/Center for Communication Programs and funded primarily by the United States Agency for International Development.

Population Index

An annotated bibliography of recently published books, journal articles, working papers, and other materials on population topics.

Statistical Information (Government statistics, U.S. census data, etc.)

QuickFacts (U.S. Census Bureau)

From the U.S. Census Bureau. Facts about people, business, and geography based on the last census. Both state and national statistics are available.

U.S. Census Bureau

Information about demographic, social, economic, and housing characteristics of the United States population, as well as business, industry and trade data.

Statistical Insight (ProQuest)

Searches statistical data and publications summarizing statistical findings. Includes data collected from U.S. federal and state government sources, private organizations, and intergovernmental organizations. Features descriptive abstracts, detailed indexing, full-text PDFs of source documents and tables, and down-loadable spreadsheets containing table data. Covers 1970-present.

Biographical information

American National Biography (ANB)

Over 18,300 biographies, including the 17,435 original biographies from the print edition. New biographies added and others revised three times per year -- including articles on recently deceased notables as well as figures from the past who were not subjects in the print edition. Over 900 articles from The Oxford Companion to United States History provide historical and social context to the biographies. Over 2,500 illustrations with more added with each update.

Historic newspapers

Illustrated Civil War Newspapers and Magazines

Important and Rare Periodicals from Confederate, Union, Abolitionist, and British Presses. The database contains 65,000 pages drawn from 49 periodicals, including 15 campaign newspapers, most of them illustrated—3,720 issues published from 1860 to 1865.

Historical Newspapers (Proquest)

Atlanta Constitution; Atlanta Daily World; Boston Globe; Chicago Tribune; Los Angeles Sentinel; New York Amsterdam News; Pittsburgh Courier; The Chicago Defender; The New York Times; The Washington Post

American Periodicals Series Online 1740-1900

Over 1,100 periodicals that first began publishing between 1740 and 1900, including special interest and general magazines, literary and professional journals, children's and women's magazines, and many other historically-significant periodicals

Accessible Archives Full-text access to a number of American 19th-century journals and newspapers. Special African-American, Civil War and Pennsylvania coverage.

19th Century U.S. Newspapers

Provides access to approximately 1.7 million pages of primary source newspaper content from the 19th century, featuring full-text content and images from numerous newspapers from a range of urban and rural regions throughout the U.S.

U.S. Government and Legal Information

PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records)

As a service of the Administrative Offices of U.S. Courts, PACER rovides full-text access to court records. Contact a reference librarian for account and password information.

Lexis-Nexis - Academic Universe

Access to hundreds of newspapers from around the world, plus a wealth of legal, business, medical, and reference information.

Legal Information Institute (LII) Provides public legal information. Contains over a decade of opinions of the New York Court of Appeals, and the full United States Code.

Congressional Universe (Lexis Nexis) Contains documents on microfiche from federal, state, private, and international sources and world-renowned indexing, including Congressional, executive, statistical, judicial, environmental, and other publications.

Accessible Archives

Online gateway to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) of the Federal government.

GPO (Government Printing Office) Monthly Catalog

Access to a varied array of government publications

Women and Minorities

Alternative Press Index Alternative Press Index Archive

Indexes journals covering cultural, economic, political & social change

CWI (Contemporary Women's Issues)

Provides global information on women in over 150 countries with particular focus on health and human rights.

Race Relations Abstracts

Includes ethnic studies, discrimination, immigration studies, and other areas of key relevance to racial relations. • Coverage Range: 1975-present • Citations Only


Index to the world's literature regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues. Disciplines covered include civil liberties, culture, employment, family, history, politics, psychology, religion, and sociology. • Coverage Range: 1953-present • Full-Text

Women's Studies International

Women’s Studies International, produced by NISC, covers the core disciplines in Women’s Studies to the latest scholarship in feminist research. Coverage includes more than 586,600 records and spans from 1972 and earlier to present. This database supports curriculum development in the areas of sociology, history, political science & economy, public policy, international relations, arts & humanities, business and education. Over 2,000 periodical sources are represented.

General Sociology and Humanities Databases

Humanities and Social Sciences Retrospective

A bibliographic database that cites articles from English-language periodicals. Coverage includes a wide range of interdisciplinary fields covered in a broad array of humanities and social sciences journals.

Sociological Abstracts

Indexes the international literature in sociology and related disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences.

Social Sciences Full Text

Covers international, English-language periodicals in sociology, anthropology, psychology, geography, economics, political science, and law.

Social Science Citation Index Expanded (Web of Science)

A multidisciplinary index to the journal literature of the social sciences.

Humanities Full Text

Covers journal articles in the humanities, archaeology, art, classics, film, folklore, history, journalism and communications, linguistics, literature, music, performing arts, philosophy, and religion.

Family & Society Studies WorldWide

Includes coverage of research, policy, and practice literature in the fields of Family Science, Human Ecology, Human Development, and Social Welfare. Publications cover a wide range of social science disciplines including anthropology, sociology, psychology, demography, health sciences, education, economics, law, history and social work.

Family Studies Abstracts

Covers essential areas related to family studies, including marriage, divorce, family therapy, and other areas of key relevance to the discipline.


Economic Literature

Indexes the major peer-reviewed journals in economics.


Education Fulltext

Literature from the field of education. Covers every age and sector of the educational community from preschool through college.


A major index for education and related fields. Articles, reports, government documents.

Education Research Complete

Includes all levels of education from early childhood to higher education, and all educational specialties, such as multilingual education, health education, and testing. Also covers areas of curriculum instruction as well as administration, policy, funding, and related social issues.

Current Topics

Lexis-Nexis - Academic Universe

Access to hundreds of newspapers from around the world, plus a wealth of legal, business, medical, and reference information.

CQ Weekly

CQ Weekly provides in-depth reports on issues looming on the congressional horizon, plus a complete wrapup of the previous week's news, including the status of bills in play, behind-the-scenes maneuvering, committee and floor activity, debates and all roll-call votes.

CQ Researcher

CQ Researcher issues comprehensive reports devoted to timely topics ranging from school violence to homelessness in America. This database is useful for finding in-depth information on political or social issues such as teaching the theory of evolution or reassessing foreign aid.

Web resources

AdViews: A Vintage Archive of Digital Television Commercials

Google Books and Magazines

Browse and search popular magazines and books.

Chronicling America

This is a database of historic newspapers collected by the library of congress.

Small Town Newspapers

This is an enormous list of links to online editions of local newspapers from across America as well as historic archived content for many.

Civil Rights in a Northern City: Philadelphia

This digital collection includes photographs, newspapers, manuscripts, film footage, and oral histories documenting the civil rights movement in Philadelphia.

Moving Image Archive

Sponsored by the Internet Archive, this is an online source for video clips, including news footage, movies, cartoons, commercials, and home movies.

From Revolution to Reconstruction

This is an interesting resource. It consists of a scholarly outline of American History with hyper links within the outline that takes readers to resources relevant to that particular event. It is published and maintained by the Department of Humanities Computing & Department of American Studies University of Groningen, The Netherlands.

Cultural Maps

The University of Virginia's index of online map collections links to historic American maps. The page also includes a large index of links to other online map collections as well as links to other resources maintained by UVA’s American Studies department.


This site is an amazing collection of recorded material. Everything from major presidential speeches to private conversations of politicians can be found here. However, the site is awkward to navigate so be warned, you may have to do some digging.

Documents from the Women's Liberation Movement: An On-line Archival Collection sponsored by Special Collections Library, Duke University

This site contains transcriptions of selected original documents from the women's liberation movement held by Duke's Special Collections

The American Religious Experience

This site is maintained by the West Virginia Universities’ American Religious Experience Project. The site has plenty of information and provides a number of links to other websites with information on religion in America.

American Diplomacy

This is a collection of essays on U.S. foreign policy maintained by the University of North Carolina.

The Public papers of the Presidents of The United States

Database maintained by the University of Michigan of public papers of presidents from the last 12 administrations.

Old Time Radio Shows

Sponsored by the Internet Archive, this is an online source for audio clips of old time radio shows.

Celebrating New Deal Arts & Culture

Web site about Federal Works Progress Adminstration's projects from the Great Depression Era.

National Jukebox

Audio recordings, including folk songs, patriotic melodies, band performances, ragtime, religious songs, African American music, vaudeville, and speeches, available online through the Library of Congress.

Vintage Print Ads

This resource includes scans of 19th- and early 20th-century advertisements from a private collection.