Skip to main content

History: Eastern/Central Europe and Russia: Background

A guide to library historical research


Encyclopedias are great for:

  • choosing a topic
  • quick self-education
  • perspective on a topic
  • variant spellings, vocabulary, terminology
  • bibliography




Oxford Reference Online Outstanding collection of encyclopedias, dictionaries, and companions.

Gale virtual reference library Excellent collection of full text encyclopedias.

Reference universe. Search the back-of-the-book indexes to subject encyclopedias in a wide variety of subject areas.

Language Dictionaries


Selected titles  


Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire. Olin Library Oversize DR486 .E53 2009+ (on order)

Historical dictionary of the Ottoman Empire.  Olin Library DR436 .S66x 2003

Modern Encyclopedia of Russian and Soviet History. 58 vols.  Olin Reference DK14 M68   The classic.

Germany: An Encyclopedia. Olin Reference DD126 .M43x 2001+

Modern Germany: an encyclopedia of history, people, and culture, 1871-1990. 2 volumes. Olin Library Reference + DD14 .M64x 1999.

Encyclopedia of Eastern Europe: from the Congress of Vienna to the fall of communism. Olin Library Reference DJK6 .E53x 2000 +

Historisches Lexikon Wien. 5 volumes. Olin Library DB847.C99 H6

Österreich Lexikon: in drei Bänden. Olin Library DB14 .O484 2004

An Ethnohistorical dictionary of the Russian and Soviet empires. Olin Library Reference DK33 .E837x 1994

Historical dictionary of the Czech State. Olin Library DB2007 .H63x 1998

Encyclopedia of European Social History: From 1350 To 2000. 6 vols.  (Olin and Uris Reference HN 373 .E63 2001)



Allgemeine deutsche Biographie  56 volumes. (Olin stacks CT1053 .A43) The outstanding German biographical dictionary, containing long, signed articles, with bibliographies, on persons from early times to the end of the 19th century.

Deutsches biographisches Archiv: eine Kumulation aus 254 der wichtigsten biographischen Nachschlagswerke für den deutschen Beriech bis zum Ausgang des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts.  1447 microfiches. (Microfiche CT1053 .D48; Olin library lower level) Indexed by: Deutscher biographischer Index (Olin Library Reference +CT1053 .D48 1998).

American National Biography 

Biography and Genealogy Master Index Fairly international in scope.

Dictionary of National Biography (online)  The standard work for British biography.  

Dictionnaire de biographie française. (In progress.) (Olin Reference +CT 143.D55) An important dictionary of national biography, unfortunately still incomplete (to date up to L). 

Archives biographiques françaises.  1065 microfiches. (Olin lower level microtexts) Indexed by Archives biographiques françaises (Olin Reference +CT1003 .I53x 1998). 


Statistical Background Sources

International Historical Statistics: Europe, 1750-1993. 4th rev. ed. London: Macmillan Reference Ltd., 1998. (Olin Reference HA 1107 M5x 1998; older edition in Uris Reference HA 1107 M68 1981) 

International Historical Statistics: Africa, Asia, and Oceania 1750-1993. 3rd rev. ed. London: Macmillan Reference Ltd., 1998. (Olin Reference HA4675 .M552x 1998)

Historical statistics of the United States. Cambridge [England] ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2006- Millennial ed. urces.

Web Accessibility Assistance