Use the following reference sources to find background information, context, and definitions. For other helpful titles, ask us for suggestions.
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.
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 brand new 2-volume Oxford Encyclopedia of American Social History, (Olin Reference HN 57 .O94 2012).
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.
Oxford Encyclopedia of American Cultural & Intellectual History.
2 volumes. New York: Oxford, 2013.
(Print only: Olin Reference E 169.1 .O945 2013 +)
Like the social history encyclopedia, this title is a source of insightful articles about these particular facets of U.S. history. Bibliographies of additional sources with each article. See the articles in Volume II: Part 6: World War II and the 1950s, for example.
Contains 450 articles. It expands and updates the coverage of American social history found in The Oxford Companion to United States History.
St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture.
Edited by Tom Pendergast and Sara Pendergast. Detroit: St. James Press, 2000.
(Online also in print: Olin Reference E 169.1 .S764x 2000 +)
A good overview of frequently-researched American popular culture topics.