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This guide is intended to provide a starting point for researching topics in U.S. history from the earliest colonial period up through 1876.
This guide is not comprehensive; it does not list all of the resources on this topic or in related disciplines owned by the Library or available on the Internet. This guide serves merely as a starting point for research.
Encyclopedias, Dictionaries, and Other Reference Books
Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL)
Collection of reference books in almost all subjects, which are searchable together or individually. For a list of titles currently available, click on "Title List" at top right or on "Show All" at left of screen.
Encyclopedia of the United States in the Nineteenth Century
Call Number: REF E169.1 .E626 2001 vol. 1-3 (2nd floor)
While other resources focus on different aspects of the 19th century, such as the Civil War or immigration, this is the first truly comprehensive treatment to cover all aspects of 19th-century history including: population, politics and government, economy and work, society and culture, religion, social problems and reform, everyday life and foreign policy.
The Encyclopedia of the American Revolutionary War: A political, social, and military history
Call Number: REF E208 .E64 2006 vol. 1-5 (2nd floor)
This definitive scholarly reference on the American Revolution--written by acclaimed researchers and military experts from around the world--covers the causes, course, and consequences of the war and the political, social, and military origins of the nation. An introductory section offers essays on the war's root causes, the catalyzing events that lead to its outbreak, as well as a synopsis of the war and an analysis of its long-term impact, providing context for readers wishing to know more. A full volume is devoted to key documents relevant to the period.
The Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Early American Republic, 1783-1812: A Political, Social, and Military history
Call Number: Read Online
U.S. military history from the beginning of the republic in 1783 up to the eve of war with Great Britain in 1812. Covers all the important battles, key individuals, weapons, Indian nations, and treaties, as well as numerous social, political, cultural, and economic developments during this period. Includes extensive bibliographies and primary source documents.
American Civil War: The Definitive Encyclopedia and Document Collection
Call Number: REF E468 .A5329 2013 vols. 1-6 (2nd floor)
This expansive, multivolume reference work provides a broad, multidisciplinary examination of the Civil War period ranging from pre-Civil War developments and catalysts such as the Mexican-American War to the rebuilding of the war-torn nation during Reconstruction.
Every Day of the Civil War: A Chronological Encyclopedia
Call Number: Read Online - Or print is available: REF E468.3 .H35 2010 (2nd floor)
From the early seizure of government property during the latter part of 1860 to the final Confederate surrender in 1865, this book provides a day-to-day account of the U.S. Civil War. Seven appendices provide lists of prominent Union and Confederate officers, primary naval actions, and Medal of Honor recipients from 1863 to 1865.
Encyclopedia of Women in American History
Call Number: Read Online
This illustrated encyclopedia examines the unique influence and contributions of women in every era of American history, from the colonial period to the present. Primary sources and original documents are included throughout.
Subject headings allow you to find books according to broader and narrower topics.
Below are sample subjects. To browse for different, broader, or narrower subjects, go to the library catalog and click "Exact Search." Enter a term and click "subject."
You can start browsing for a broad subject like Education, then look for more specific subjects, such as Education England History 18th century.
Once you know some subject headings, you can also just use them as keywords during an advanced search, using the subject row.
You can click on any subject heading below to jump-start a search in the library catalog.
You can also use the name of a historical person as a subject term; just enter the last name first, for example:
Search the Library Catalog
Video Refresher: Intro to Searching the Catalog
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Browse the Collection
An excellent way to discover additional resources is to browse for books in relevant call number ranges.
- E186 - E199 - Colonial history (1607-1775)
- E186 - E189 - General
- E191 - 1607-1689
- E195 - E199 - 1689-1775
- E196 - King William's War, 1689-1697
- E197 - Queen Anne's War, 1702-1713
- E198 - King George's War, 1744-1748
- E199 - French and Indian War, 1755-1763
- E201 - E298 - The Revolution
- E300 - E453 - Revolution to Civil War (broken into more sub-topics than shown here; see Library of Congress link below to browse these)
- E303 - E309 - 1775-1789. The Confederation, 1783-1789
- E310 - E337 - 1789-1809. Constitutional period
- E311 - E320 - Washington's administrations, 1789-1797
- E321 - E330 - John Adams' administration, 1797-1801
- E331 - E337 - Jefferson's administrations, 1801-1809
- E337.8 - EE400 - Early nineteenth century, 1801/1809-1845
- E341 - E370 - Madison's administrations, 1809-1817
- E371 - E375 - Monroe's administrations, 1817-1825
- E376 - E380 - John Quincy Adams' administration, 1825-1829
- E381 - E385 - Jackson's administrations, 1829-1837
- E386 - E390 - Van Buren's administration, 1837-1841
- E391 - E392 - William H. Harrison's administration, March 4-April 4, 1841
- E396 - E400 - Tyler's administration, April 4, 1841-1845
- E401 - E415.2 - Mexican War, 1846-1848
- E415.6 - E440.5 - Middle nineteenth century, 1845/1848-1861
- E416 - E420 - Polk's administration, 1845-1849
- E421 - E423 - Taylor's administration, 1849-July 9, 1850
- E426 - E430 - Fillmore's administration, July 9, 1850-1853
- E431 - E435 - Pierce's administration, 1853-1857
- E436 - E440.5 - Buchanan's administration, 1857-1861
- E441 - E453 - Slavery in the United States. Antislavery movements
- E456 - E655 - Civil War period, 1861-1865
- E456 - E459 - Lincoln's administration, 1861-April 15, 1865
- E461 - E655 - The Civil War, 1861-1865
- E482 - E489 - Confederate States of America
- E491 - E586 - Armies. Troops
- E591 - E600 - Naval history
- E666 - E670 - Andrew Johnson's administration, April 15, 1865-1869
- E668 - Reconstruction, 1865-1877
To discover the call number ranges for broader, narrower, or different subjects, consult the Library of Congress Classification Outline.