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American History through American Lives: Home

A resource guide for participants in Professor David Engerman's Yale National Initiative Seminar.

Reference Sources

Unless otherwise noted, these resources require access via the Yale Virtual Private Network (VPN).

The African American National Biography

Edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham. Emergency temporary online access available for Volumes 2-8 to Yale affiliates through Hathi Trust Digital Library.

American National Biography Online

Important reference work. An excellent resource with detailed biographical entries and helpful bibliographies.

Biography Reference Center

Excellent resource for getting started. You can browse biographies by genre on the right sidebar.

Black Studies Center

Includes the Schomburg Studies on the Black Experience, Index to Black Periodicals Full Text, Black Literature Index, and more. 

Cambridge Histories and Cambridge Companions

Depending on your project, there may be a Cambridge History or Cambridge Companion that is relevant and worth consulting. The Histories are usually multi-volume works with long, detailed chapters written by different scholars. The Companions are edited collections of essays by multiple scholars and are great for delving into a particular historical or literary figure. Titles include the Cambridge Companion to Henry David Thoreau and the Cambridge Companion to the African American Slave Narrative.

Gale in Context: Biography

Informative entries on more than 5000 people with very helpful suggestions for further reading.

Oxford African American Studies Center

An aggregation of numerous useful reference works, including biographical dictionaries. Also includes primary sources.

Oxford Bibliographies

A collection of many annotated bibliographies, arranged into modules by subject. Primary and secondary sources both are usually annotated. Check for articles in the African American Studies, American Literature, and Atlantic History modules among others (scroll down these home pages for a thumbnail listing of all of the articles in a module).

Oxford Handbooks Online

A useful starting point for many projects. Includes, for example, The Oxford Handbook of Asian American HistoryEach handbook in the series has informative chapters written by experts. You can browse by subject and select "History" (50 books) and then use the refinements available on the left sidebar of the next page to further narrow your selections. 

Wiley Online Library

This site aggregates a lot of content -- journal articles, e-books, and reference books. The Wiley Companions are especially useful -- e.g., A Companion to Asian American Studies, which brings together 20 essays central to defining the field of Asian American Studies. If you scroll down the home page of the database, you can browse by subject areas -- e.g., "Humanities" and then "History."


Library contact

James Kessenides, Kaplanoff LIbrarian for American History,

Primary Sources

Access requires use of Yale Virtual Private Network (VPN).

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