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HIST/FGSS 1930: A Global History of Love (Fall 2017): 1. Encyclopedias

A guide to library research


Encyclopedias are great for:

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

Cambridge Histories Online

Cambridge Histories Online

Excellent resource. Full text. Chapters as pdfs. Extremely high quality essays with rich footnotes and bibliography.

Oxford Bibliographies Online

Peer reviewed annotated sources in a variety of disciplines:

Oxford Bibliographies Online (OBO)

Language Dictionaries

World War II Encyclopedias

The Oxford companion to World War II  (also in print at Olin Library Reference D740 .O98 1995)

World War II in the Pacific : an encyclopedia.   (Olin Library Reference D767 .W68x 2001 +)

The Holocaust encyclopedia

The encyclopedia of the Third Reich (Olin Library Reference DD256.5 .G865 1991 +)

Historical Dictionary of World War II France: the Occupation, Vichy, and the Resistance, 1938-1946 

World War II : America at war, 1941-1945 (Library Annex  D743.5 .P56x 1991)

World War II in Europe, Africa, and the Americas, with General Sources (Olin Reference D743.42 .W92 1997)

Encyclopedias on gender and sexuality

American Masculinities: A Historical Encyclopedia. Ed. Bret E. Carroll. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2003.
"[R]eference guide and an introduction to the many ways in which men have defined, imagined, and experienced male identity in the social, cultural, and political contexts of the United States." [Introduction]
The Wiley Blackwell encyclopedia of gender and sexuality studies Editor-in-chief, Nancy A. Naples ; associate editors, Renee C. Hoogland, Maithree Wickramasinghe, Wai Ching, Angela Wong.
Edited by a first rate team of geographically diverse scholars drawn from disciplines across the social sciences and humanities with international reputations in the field Entries are written in an approachable and accessible manner and include a short bibliography and a list of cross-references. Unique in its interdisciplinary approach across allied social sciences including sociology, anthropology, cultural studies, politics, contemporary history, and psychology Attention paid to the identification and inclusion of feminist authors and activists, women's non-governmental organizations, and key texts, events and legislation that have either enhanced or curtailed women's rights Of interest to college and university libraries as well as women's organizations, research institutes, and public libraries"-- Provided by publisher.
Encyclopedia of Feminist Theories. Ed. Lorraine Code. New York: Routledge, 2000. (Olin Reference HQ 1190 .E63x 2000)
Succinct entries on major individuals, theories, developments, and terms in feminist history and thought. Bibliographies.
Encyclopedia of Gender and Society. Ed. Jodi O'Brien. 2 volumes. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2009.
"Gender is so significant in the ways it shapes individuals and societies that it isn't possible to cover every aspect of gender scholarship in a single venue. Our intent with this encyclopedia is to provide users with a "gender lens" on society by focusing on significant gender scholarship within commonly recognized areas of social research. Accordingly, the material in this encyclopedia focuses on basic aspects of social life from the most individual (self and identity) to the most global (transnational economics and politics)." [Introduction]
Encyclopedia of Homosexuality. 2 volumes. New York: Garland, 1990.
(Olin Stacks HQ 76.25 .E56; also Mann Library)
Now dated information about all aspects of male and female homosexuality. Signed articles end in bibliographies. Includes many biographical entries and an index.
Encyclopedia of Human Relationships. Ed. Harry T. Reis and Susan Sprecher. 3 volumes. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2009.
Includes numerous articles on gender and sexuality in human relationships. "When we refer to relationships, we mean the full gamut of human associations in which behavior is influenced by the real or imagined presence of another person with whom one has interacted in the past and expects to interact in the future. This definition includes many different types of associations—-friends, lovers, spouses, roommates, teammates, parents and their children, cousins, siblings, acquaintances, neighbors, mates, coworkers, and business associates." [Introduction]
Encyclopedia of Prostitution and Sex Work. Ed. Melissa Hope Ditmore. 2 volumes. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2006. (Olin Reference HQ 115 .E53 2006)
Contains 341 articles on the social, geographical, and medical aspects of these sensitive and controversial topics.
Encyclopedia of Women and Gender: Sex Similarities and Differences and the Impact of Society on Gender. Ed. Judith Worell. 2 volumes. San Diego: Academic Press, 2001. (Olin Reference HQ 1115 .E539x 2001)
A timely and thorough review of gender issues and research. Articles are written by prominent scholars and arranged by topic (e.g., Affirmative Action, Power, Social Identity). Includes bibliographies.
Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures. Ed. Suad Joseph. 6 volumes. Leiden: Brill, 2003-2007.
Volume 1. (2003): Methodologies, paradigms and sources; v. 2. (2005): Family, law and politics; v. 3. (2006): Family, body, sexuality and health; v. 4. Economics, education, mobility, and space; v. 5. Practices, interpretations and representations; v. 6. Index. A long-term, interdisciplinary project to bring together "upwards of 1,000 scholars to write critical essays on women, Muslim and non-Muslim, and Islamic cultures in every region where there have been significant Muslim populations." [Introduction]
Encyclopedia of Women and Religion in North America. Ed. Rosemary Skinner Keller and Rosemary Radford Ruether. 3 volumes. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006.
Extensive articles on women's experiences with a wide variety of religions represented in North America--African traditions, Catholicism, Protestantism, Orthodox, Judaism, Asian religions, and new religious movements. Covers ordination, social reform, women-centered theology, religious education and other contemporary issues. Substantial bibliographies.
Encyclopedia of Women in the American West. Ed. Gordon Morris Bakken and Brenda Farrington. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2003.
Captures the lives of more than 150 women who made their mark from the mid-1800s to the present, contextualizing their experiences and contributions to American society, including many women profiled for the first time.
Encyclopedia of Women in Today's World. Ed. Mary Zeiss Stange and Carol K. Oyster. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2011.
Scope: Women in today's world (2000 forward). Purpose: "[W]hether those who consult this work are simply casual readers looking for some reliable information on a particular subject, or students or scholars commencing research for some specific project, we intend that the entries here
will not simply provide reliable information, but will also spur further reflection and provide the essential guidance as to where to look next for more specialized or refined information." [Editorial introduction]
Gay Histories and Cultures: An Encyclopedia. Ed. George E. Haggerty. New York: Garland, 2000.
(Olin Reference HQ 75.13 .G37 2000)
Volume 2 of The Encyclopedia of Lesbian and Gay Histories and Cultures. Like the companion volume, an exceptionally useful and thorough review of the topic. Biographical entries included.
Archives from the glbtq Encyclopedia Project. Ed. Claude J. Summers. Chicago: glbtq, Inc., 2003-2015.
An extensive collection of signed articles on the arts and literature. Biographical and topical entries. Articles include bibliographies.
The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Women's Issues Worldwide. Lynn Walter, editor-in-chief. 6 volumes. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2003. (Olin Ref HQ 1726 .G74x 2003 +; also in Asia Reference)
"[S]hould serve as a starting point for anyone doing research in the area of women and the developing world." [Guide to Reference]. [A]uthoritative, comprehensive, and current data on ... women's issues in more than 130 countries...." [Foreword] Essays cover education, employment and the economy, family and sexuality, health, politics and law, religion and spirituality, and violence. Volumes cover Asia & Oceania, Central and South America, Europe, North America & the Caribbean, the Middle East & North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Useful resource guides for each country list books, journal articles, and Web sites.
Handbook of American Women's History. Ed. Anglea Howard Zophy. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2000.
(Olin Reference HQ 1410 .H36x 2000)
"New edition of a reference that presents articles on events, ideas, and key people (from historical icons to modern-day achievers) that have shaped the history of women in the U.S. Drawing on the research and expertise of about 300 contributors, about 1,000 alphabetically-arranged entries cover the wide spectrum of fields in which women have made a critical difference, i.e. civil rights, arts, athletics, education, science, industry, and others." [Reference & Research Book News]
The International Encyclopedia of Sexuality. Ed. Robert T. Francoeur. 4 volumes. New York: Continuum, 1997-2002. (Olin Reference HQ 21 .I68x 2015)
An extensive source of information on comparative issues in sexuality. The country-by-country entries cover standard topics including "Homoerotic, Homosexual, and Ambisexual Behaviors" and "Cross-Gendered Persons" (sometimes entitled "Gender Conflicted Persons").
Jewish Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia. Ed. Paula E. Hyman and Deborah Dash Moore. 2 volumes. New York: Routledge, 1997. (Olin Reference DS 115.2 .J49x 1997; ILR Kheel Center DS 115.2 .J59 1997)
"Studies of Jewish women in America gain a necessary reference with the publication of these two volumes ... mainly composed of biographical entries of figures both living and dead (800 in all) and 110 topical entries.... The kinds of women found in the encyclopedia are mainly drawn from national politics, popular letters, music, and film.... In penetrating [topical] entries such as "Advertising and Consumer Culture" (by Andrew R. Heinze), "Leisure and Recreation" (by Jenna Weissman Joselit), and "Peace Movement" (by Sherry Gorelick), users gain an accessible set of interpretations to place the biographical entries in historical and sociological contexts." [ARBA 1999--Simon J. Bronner]
Lesbian Histories and Cultures: An Encyclopedia. Ed. Bonnie Zimmerman. New York: Garland, 2000.
(Olin Reference + HQ75.13 .L47 2000)
Volume 1 of The Encyclopedia of Lesbian and Gay Histories and Cultures. Like the companion volume, an exceptionally useful and thorough review of the topic. Biographical entries included.
lgbt: Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, and Transgender History in America. Ed. Marc Stein. 3 volumes. New York: Scribner, 2004.
An up-to-date encyclopedia of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history. "[T]he entries... offer a bracing, engaging, provocative tour of U.S. history and culture from multiple, overlapping, sometimes conflicting, but always informative perspectives." [Historical Introduction].
Men and Masculinities: A Social, Cultural, and Historical Encyclopedia. Ed. Michael Kimmel and Amy Aronson. 2 volumes. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2004. (Olin Reference HQ 1090.3 .M436x 2004+)
An encyclopedia on the study of masculinity from the gender studies perspective. Individual entries on the longer side with citations to titles for further reading with each entry.
Olsen, Kristen. Chronology of Women's History. Westport: Greenwood, 1994. (Olin Reference + HQ1121 .O47x 1994)
Landmarks in women's history from 20,000 B.C. to 1993. Most chapters are divided into ten categories: General Status and Daily Life; Government, the Military, and the Law; Literature and the Visual Arts; Performing Arts and Entertainment; Athletics and Exploration; Activism; Business and Industry; Science and Medicine; Education and Scholarship; and Religion.
The Queer Encyclopedia of Film and Television. Ed. Claude J. Summers. San Francisco: Cleis Press, 2005.
(Olin Reference PN 1590 .G39 Q44 2005)
Entries represent "glbtq individuals not only as actors, directors, screenwriters, television performers, and producers, but also as subjects, objects, and consumers of the popular arts." [Introduction] Includes bibliographies.
The Queer Encyclopedia of Music, Dance & Musical Theater. Ed. Claude J. Summers. San Francisco: Cleis Press, 2004. (Music Reference ML 100 .Q44 2004)
The Queer Encyclopedia of the Visual Arts. Ed. Claude J. Summers. San Francisco: Cleis Press, 2004.
(Fine Arts Stacks N 72 .H64 Q44 2004)
Routledge International Encyclopedia of Women. Ed. Cheris Kramarae and Dale Spender. 4 volumes. New York: Routledge, 2000. (Olin Reference HQ 1115 .R69x 2000; also in Mann Stacks)
Topic entries, no entries on individual women. "We also agreed not to have overall entries on specific counties, but rather to cover certain topic areas region by region." [Introduction] Great range of topics. Thorough and substantial bibliographies.
Sage Encyclopedia of LGBTQ Studies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2016.
Focuses on LGBTQ issues and identity primarily through the lenses of psychology, human development and sociology, emphasizing queer, feminist, and ecological perspectives on the topic in 400 signed entries from fields such as: Psychology, Human Development, Gender/Queer Studies, Sexuality Studies, Social Work, and Sociology.
The St. James Press Gay & Lesbian Almanac. Ed. Neil Schlager. Detroit: St. James, 1998. (Olin Reference HQ 76.3 .U5 S75x 1998+)
"[P]rovides a broad, multifaceted overview of lesbian and gay history, culture, and communities in the United States." [Foreword] Extensive bibliography.
Women Filmmakers & Their Films. Ed. Amy L. Unterburger. Revised edition. Detroit: St. James Press, 1998. (Olin Reference PN 1998.2 .W66x 1998)
Over 250 essays on women filmmakers, "a category that encompasses not only directors but also women in many important behind-the-camera vocations, including producers, animators, art directors, editors, writers, and costume designers." [Editor's Note] Filmographies and bibliographies of articles complete each entry.
Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. Ed. Anne Commire. 17 volumes. Waterford, CT: Yorkin Publications, 1999-2002. (Olin Reference HQ 1115 .W6x 1999)
Entries on over 10,000 individual women from all historical eras. Extensive genealogical charts and an index.
Women's Studies Encyclopedia. Ed. Helen Tierney. Revised edition. 3 volumes. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1999.
(Olin Reference HQ 1115 .W875 1999)
"The entries ... are meant to convey information to an educated audience without expertise in the subject under discussion.... The focus, as in the first edition, is on the American experience." [Introduction] Signed articles with brief bibliographies.
Youth, Education, and Sexualities: An Encyclopedia. Ed. James T. Sears. 2 volumes. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2005. (Olin Reference LC 192.6 .Y68 2005)
This encyclopedia "queers the singular understanding of sexuality as heterosexual by detailing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQ) sexualities as it relates to youth and education." [Preface] The 242 topical, signed entries are of medium length and include bibliographies of web sites, court cases, books, and articles for further research and information. Volume 2 includes a general bibliography of print and electronic resources and a detailed index.


Selected geographical areas and titles


Europe (Olin Reference call numbers D-DF)

Encyclopedia of European Social History: From 1350 To 2000. 6 vols. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2001. (Olin Reference HN 373 .E63 2001)

Modern Encyclopedia of Russian and Soviet History. 58 vols. Gulf Breeze: Academic International, 1976-1995. (Olin Reference DK14 M68)   The classic.

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


Asia (Kroch Asia Reference)

Kodansha Encyclopedia of Japan. 9 vols. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1983. Plus suppl. 1986. (Olin and Kroch Asia Reference DS 805 K76+)

Encyclopedia of Asian history. New York, NY : Scribner, c1988. Four volumes. (Kroch Library Asia and Olin Library Reference +DS31 .E56)


United States (Olin Reference call numbers E-F)

The Oxford Companion to United States history. Oxford University Press, 2001. Also in print, (Olin Library Reference E174 .O94 2001 +).

Dictionary of American history. A classic ten volume encyclopedia. (in print--Olin Library Reference E174 .D52x 2003 +).

Encyclopedia of American foreign policy. Thomson/Gale, 2002. 2nd ed. Also in print, (Olin Library Reference E183.7 .E52x 2002 +).

St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. 5 vols. Detroit, MI: St. James Press, c2000. (Olin Reference E 169.1 S764x 2000) Five volumes.

Encyclopedia of American Religions. Detroit: Gale, 1987. (Olin Reference BL2530.058 M52+ 1987).

Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History. 5 vols. New York: Macmillan Library Reference, 1996. (Olin and Africana Reference E 185 E54 1996).

Encyclopedia of American Cultural & Intellectual History.  New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2001. (Olin Library Reference E169.1 .E624x 2001)

Encyclopedia of American Social History. 3 vols. New York: Scribner's, 1992. (Olin Reference HN 57 .E56 1992).

Encyclopedia of American Political History. 3 vols. New York: Scribner, 1984. (Uris and Olin Reference E 183 .E56).

Encyclopedia of the United States in the Nineteenth Century. 3 vols. New York: Scribner's, 2001. Olin Library Reference E169.1 .E626x 2001

Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1989. (Olin Reference F 209 .E56 1989)

Encyclopedia of the United States in the Twentieth Century. 4 vols. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1996. (Olin Reference E740.7 .E56 1996).

The Encyclopedia of Civil Rights in America. Armonk, NY: Sharpe Reference, 1998. 3 volumes. (Olin Reference E185.61 E544x 1998).


Flicker photo by teachernz

Superior to Wikipedia on most topics & disciplines:


Gale virtual reference library 

Sage Reference Online

Oxford Reference Online