Middleton Library's collection of books about United States History is shelved on the third floor in the call number range E11 through F975. All of the books are searchable in the library's online catalog. For help using the catalog, click here or visit the reference desk.
Special Collections in Hill Memorial Library also has many books about U.S. History, with an emphasis on Louisiana and the South. These, too, can be searched in the online catalog. To limit your search to Special Collections, use the advanced search feature and select Hill Memorial Library under the library tab. This can be a good way of finding primary sources, since many of the books in Special Collections are first-hand accounts of historical events.
Separate guides to published materials in Special Collections are available for some U.S. History topics.
If you are looking for a quick introduction to a subject, a reference book can be a great place to start. Although some encyclopedias only contain very short articles, subject-specific encyclopedias provide more in-depth information. Also try reference works like the Cambridge Histories Online or the Oxford Companions, which contain scholarly essays written for general readers. Many of these resources are available online in the History Reference Center (LSU logon required). You can limit your search to encyclopedias or reference books under "Publication Type."
See also the separate topic guide for Louisiana History.
You can also search individually through the following full-text article databases and indexes that Discovery searches. Click each link to learn more.
History Reference Center -- primarily reference books
America: History and Life -- more than 200 journals on U.S. and Canadian history
C19: Nineteenth Century Index -- full-text access to many 19th-century publications
JSTOR -- includes more than 300 academic history journals
Project Muse -- 6,000 full-text History books and journals
Web of Knowledge -- includes the Arts & Humanities Citation Index
Ingenta -- 169 History publications, mostly journals
PAIS International -- for articles on world history; many not in English
WorldCat (use Advanced Search and limit type to Archival Materials)
Be aware that although they overlap to some extent, each database has material not in the others. Also keep in mind that records are brief and do not list every single item or person referred to in the collection. You may have to contact the archive and see if they have a more detailed finding aid or inventory.
Also be aware that many institutions have not fully cataloged their holdings, and some repositories, especially small historical societies and private or business archives, have not reported their holdings to these databases. For example, the holdings of the Archives of the Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge do not show up in these databases. Sometimes the best thing to do is a simple web search.
Repositories of Primary Sources is a directory of over 5,000 archives websites worldwide.
For information on LSU's extensive archival collections, visit the Special Collections website.
The largest open-access (free) digital libraries are Google Books and the Hathi Trust Digital Library. Other major projects include the Library of Congress American Memory Project, Making of America (19th-century U.S. History), and the New York Public Library Digital Gallery.
Hundreds of smaller digital libraries exist. For a partial list of the ones that focus on U.S. history, see State Digital Resources: Memory Projects, Online Encyclopedias, Historical & Cultural Materials Collections. Another excellent list is 250+ Killer Digital Libraries and Archives. Scroll to the bottom of each list to see multi-state projects.
Chronicling America is the largest free database of full-text-searchable digital images of U.S. newspapers. At present, it covers the period 1830 to 1923. Many states have individual newspaper digitization projects. See Directory of Digitzed Newspapers.
LSU ID REQUIRED:
Early American Imprints, Series 1
Digital images of nearly every book, pamphlet, and broadside published in America, 1639-1800.
Early American Imprints, Series 2
Digital images of selected books, pamphlets, and broadsides published in the U.S., 1800-1819.
Early English Books Online
Digital images of books published in English, including in British North America, 1473-1700.
European Views of the Americas, 1493 to 1750
Guide to printed records about the Americas written in Europe.
Digital access to the microfilm series Records of Antebellum Southern Plantations from the Revolution through the Civil War.
American Civil War Online
Includes four databases: Letters and Diaries; Civil War Research Database; Images of the American Civil War; and Illustrated Civil War Newspapers & Magazines.
HarpWeek (Harper's Weekly)
Full-text access to this important illustrated newspaper for the years 1857-1871.
North American Women's Diaries and Letters
Colonial times to 1950.
Women and Social Movements, 1600-2000.
Organized around 65 document projects that pose an interpretive questions.
Oxford African American Studies Center
Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922
Materials printed by and about African Americans.
African American Newspapers, 1827-1998
270 newspapers published in 36 states.
The Atlantic Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Americas: A Visual Record
Collection of 1,280 images.
Historical Chicago Defender
Influential African-American newspaper, 1909-1975.
See also the LSU Libraries' subject guide to African & African American Studies.
American State Papers, 1789-1838
Legislative and executive documents, many dating from the period between 1789 and the beginning of the U.S. Congressional Serial Set in 1817.
U.S. Congressional Serial Set
U.S. Congressional Serials Set Maps
Reports, documents, and journals of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, 1817-1980.
Oral statements, committee questions, and discussions, 1824-2003.
Papers of George Washington
American Periodicals Series Online
Digital images of American periodicals published from 1740 to 1900.
America's Historical Newspapers
1,000 U.S. newspapers published between 1690 and 1922.
Full text of 27 mid-19th-century newspapers, including African-American newspapers.
See also the open-access newspaper archives listed above.
A list of all the History databases that the LSU Libraries provide access to is available here.
For one-on-one research assistance, please feel free to contact the History Subject Librarian, Michael Taylor. You can also call the Middleton Library Reference Desk at (225) 578-8875 or the Hill Memorial Library (Special Collections) Reference Desk at (225) 578-6568.
Assistant Curator of Books
|Frequently Asked Questions|
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