Use the following sources to find background information and historical context. For other helpful titles, ask us for suggestions.
List of/Links to Encyclopedias and Reference Books on U.S. History and Culture:
A comprehensive revision of this classic reference source originally published in 1940, it features updated and revised entries from previous editions, as well as more than 800 new entries. Short entries good for identifying major events and people in U.S. history.
Oxford Encyclopedia of American Cultural & Intellectual History.
2 volumes. New York: Oxford UP, 2013.
(Online; also in print: Olin Reference E 169.1 .O945 2013 +)
Like the Encyclopedia of American Social History, below, a source of insightful articles on many fascinating aspects of U.S. history. Helpful bibliographies of additional sources with each article.
Encyclopedia of American Social History.
3 volumes. New York: Scribners, 1992.
(Olin Reference HN 57 .E56 1992)
The first encyclopedic overview of social issues in U.S. history with insightful articles on many fascinating topics. Good place to explore paper topics. Updated by the Oxford Encyclopedia of American Social History, (online; in print: Olin Reference HN 57 .O94 2012).
Over 1,400 entries written by some 900 historians and other scholars, illuminating not only America's political, diplomatic, and military history, but also social, cultural, and intellectual trends; science, technology, and medicine; the arts; and religion.
Contains more than 8,000 articles by top scholars in the field, over 1,750 images, more than 300 primary sources with specially written commentaries, nearly 150 maps, 150 charts and tables, and over 6,000 biographies. The timeline is a useful starting point.
Try searching civil rights within this publication.