Library Resources

Library Resources

African American History Month

African American History Month

Happy African American History Month!  For most of us, this is a time to hear brief biographies of black pioneers and innovators, and experience a slice of American history that can often be overlooked.  It reminds us of the universality of human achievement.  And the library can help with this – sources like Biography in Context offer great overviews of the lives of famous leaders and innovators.  But perhaps this year, you’d like to dig deeper into the African American experience.    One great source for this is the database Black Thought and Culture – including interviews, essays, pamphlets, letters, and speeches, in addition to journal articles, it offers a rich and textured look at primary documentation – black history from … Continued
Take a Picture: Reference Question of the Week

Take a Picture: Reference Question of the Week

An interesting reference question that’s popped up a few times this week concerns finding information about old artists and photographers.   The best source to start with is Biography in Context.  Type in the name of your artist – you’ll find biographies and articles.  Let’s say we’re interested in Augustus Washington, who was active in the 1840s and 1850s.  You’ll get a results set like this:  The first is an extensive biography for him, and the second is a newspaper article about his work.  If you need more, JSTOR is also a good source for older articles.   But what about high resolution images of their photographs or artwork?  You might have some luck with ImageQuest, which includes images from Encyclopedia Britannica … Continued
American Indian History Databases

American Indian History Databases

Researching American Indian History? The library has some great primary and secondary resources to help you in your quest! If you’re new to the subject and need an overview of some possible topics, American Indian History Online is a great place to start. From the database homepage, click “Events and Topics” to explore overviews of themes such as American Indians in the American Revolution (see “Wars and Rebellions”) or employment and labor in the ancient Americas (see “Economics, Trade, and Labor”). This database provides you with an encyclopedic overview of a variety of topics, biographies of prominent individuals, images, maps, and some supplementary primary sources. Once you have a basic understanding of your chosen topic, try exploring secondary resources with … Continued
Ghost of Christmas (Research) Past

Ghost of Christmas (Research) Past

Christmas 1776 found the Continental army at its lowest point.  After losing New York, the American Revolutionary army had fled across New Jersey and into Pennsylvania.  They were underfed and ill-equipped, and had proven vastly inferior to British troops in almost every way.  Washington himself wrote “I think the game is pretty near up.”  That evening, General George Washington led his famous crossing, taking men across the Delaware river to attack the Hessian fortification in Trenton, New Jersey.  This involved a nine mile march through freezing cold (some soldiers didn’t even have boots).  The battle was a complete success, eliminating the garrison, capturing valuable supplies and cannons, and proving that American soldiers could actually defeat regular army troops.  The battle … Continued
Native American Heritage

Native American Heritage

November is Native American Heritage Month, founded in 1990 by Public Law 101-343.  It’s a great time to learn about the rich and incredibly diverse history of our continent’s first citizens.   The first and foremost of our resources are databases.  These include American Indian History Online, which lets you search by region, tribe, person, event, or topic, and includes maps, pictures, documentary videos, and primary sources. Another is Early Encounters in North America: Peoples, Cultures, and the Environment which covers written accounts of interactions between Europeans and Native Americans (fifteenth to nineteenth century). It can be searched by year, location, personal and cultural event, nationality and kinship, flora and fauna, images, or environmental features.   And, of course, we’ve got … Continued