- The Library's online catalog
Keyword and subject searches in the Library's catalog are good starting points when first exploring a topic. Search results can be narrowed with facets such as topic, era, language or region. Facets are located on the right hand side of the results screen.
Examples of subject searches:
Epidemics - History
Disease Outbreaks - History
Hygiene - History
Influenza - History
Black Death (do not use "plague")
Measles - History
Suggested keywords for other contagious diseases:
smallpox, tuberculosis, poliomyelitis (do not use polio), cholera, yellow fever, malaria, leprosy, syphilis, AIDS.
Books that are not owned by the Library can be found via WorldCat. WorldCat is an online catalog that includes the collections of most U.S. libraries as well as a large number of libraries abroad. Titles owned by Falvey Memorial Library are tagged, those not held by Falvey can be requested through interlibrary loan with the Borrow from another library link. WorldCat uses the same Library of Congress subject headings as the Library's catalog. The Export feature makes it possible to download selected references into a RefWorks account.
- Dissertations & Theses Full Text
Index and abstracts of U.S. dissertations with full text for most dissertations submitted after 1997. Ph.D. dissertations in history generally include detailed bibliographies with references to hard to find primary sources.
Finger, Simon. Epidemic constitutions: Public health and political culture in the Port of Philadelphia, 1735-1800. Ph.D. diss., Princeton University
Higgins, James E. Keystone of an epidemic: Pennsylvania's urban experience during the 1918-1920 influenza epidemic. Ph.D. diss., Lehigh University
- E-Z Borrow and Interlibrary Loan
Interlibrary loan is available for books and journals that are not owned by Falvey. EZ-Borrow is usually faster than interlibrary loan, since the books come from a local library network. EZ-Borrow can be used for books that the Library owns, but that are currently checked out by somebody else.
- America: History & Life
Your guide to the contents of scholarly journals, historical magazines and dissertations. This database indexes articles on the history of America (North and South) published in academic journals such as the Social History of Medicine and the Bulletin of the History of Medicine to name but a few. The FindIt button links to the full text of the articles in the Library's collection as well as to an interlibrary loan form. Interlibrary loan can only be used for those journals to which the Library does not have a subscription. It can take up to a week to process an interlibrary loan request. Article citations can be exported to RefWorks.
Suggested subject keywords: epidemics, influenza, yellow fever ...
Noymer, Andrew, and Beth Jarosz. 2008. "Causes of death in nineteenth-century New England: the dominance of infectious disease." Social History of Medicine 21, no. 3: 573-578.
Wirth, Thomas. "Urban neglect: the environment, public health, and influenza in Philadelphia, 1915-1919." Pennsylvania History 73, no. 3 (Summer 2006): 316-342.
Smith, Mark A. "Andrew Brown's "Earnes Endeavor": the Federal Gazette's role in Philadelphia's yellow fever epidemic of 1793." Pennsylvania Magazine of History & Biography 120, no. 4 (October 1996): 321-342.
- Historical Abstracts
This database indexes articles published in scholarly history journals such as Medical History and the Nursing History Review. Please note that Historical Abstracts does not cover ancient and medieval history. U.S., Canadian and Latin American history are excluded as well.
Suggested subject keywords: epidemics, influenza, yellow fever ...
Christiansen, John. "The English Sweat in Lübeck and North Germany, 1529." Medical History 53, no. 3 (July 2009): 415-424.
Mooney, Graham. "Infectious Diseases and Epidemiologic Transition in Victorian Britain? Definitely." Social History of Medicine 20, no. 3 (December 2007): 595-606.
- International Medieval Bibliography Online
- Social Sciences Full Text
Index to international, English language journals in sociology, anthropology, geography, economics, political science and law.
- Humanities Full Text
Indexes and abstracts articles in more than 300 periodicals in archaeology, art , classics, film, folklore, journalism, linguistics, music, the performing arts, philosophy, religion, world history and world literature.
Still looking for ideas for a topic?
Start with Epidemics and Pandemics: Their Impacts on Human History. The book lists 50 different epidemics, from Malaria in Ancient Rome to "French Disease" in 16th Century Europe and Typhoid Mary's "Epidemics". Each chapter discusses when and where, significance, background, how it was understood at the time, responses, and unresolved historical issues. At the end of each chapter are references and a list of suggested additional reading.
Or take a look at The Cambridge World History of Human Disease. This book "explores the patterns of disease throughout the world as well as the variety of approaches that different medical traditions have used to fight it." It "traces the concept of disease as medicine developed from an art to a science, then addresses the history of disease in each major world region. The final and largest part offers the history and geography of each significant human disease - both historical and contemporary - from AIDS to yellow fever."
- Dictionary of American History
See entries on Epidemics and Public Health, Influenza, Cholera, Yellow Fever, Smallpox, Poliomyelitis and more.
- Encyclopedia of European Social History
See entries on Health and Disease, Public Health, and Cleanliness.
- Encyclopedia of Bioethics
See entries on Epidemics and the History of Public Health.
- Encyclopedia of Population
See entries on Epidemics, Black Death, and Influenza.
- Science and Its Times: Understanding the Social Significance of Scientific Discovery
See entries on The Impact of European Diseases on Native Americans or The Field of Public Health Emerges in Response to Epidemic Diseases.
- World of Microbiology and Immunology
See entries on Epidemics and Pandemics, the Germ Theory of Disease, Viral Epidemics, Bacterial Epidemics and the History of Public Health.
- American Indian History
See entry on Epidemics and Diseases.
- Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages
- Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome
- Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood in History and Society
See entries on Epidemics, Contagious Diseases, and Polio.
This is but a small selection of the subject encyclopedias available in the Library. Ask a librarian for help if you would like to find more encyclopedias.
Selected Primary Sources
- Contagion: Historical Views of Diseases and Epidemics
Harvard University Library Open Collections Program
- The Library's Catalog
Sample subject searches:
Try WorldCat for more results.
"black death" and sources
"yellow fever" and "early works to 1800"
- Eighteenth Century Collections Online
More than 150,000 books published during the 18th century.
Broughton, Arthur. "Observations on the influenza, or epidemic catarrh; as it appeared in Bristol and its environs, during the months of May and June, 1782. To which is added, a meteorological journal ..." London : printed for G. Robinson; and J. B. Becket, Bristol, [1782?].
- Early American Imprints, Series I, Evans (1639-1800)
More than 37,000 books, pamphlets and broadsides printed in early America. Browse the Health section under the Subjects tab or search the full text by keyword or subject.
Carey, Matthew. "A desultory account of the yellow fever, prevalent in Philadelphia, and of the present state of the city." Philadelphia: Printed by M. Carey, 1793.
- Early American Imprints, Series II, Shaw-Shoemaker (1801-1819)
More than 36,000 books, pamphlets and broadsides printed in the Early Republic. Browse the Health section under the Subjects tab or search the full text by keyword or subject.
- Sabin Americana, 1500-1926
More than 29,000 works about the Americas published throughout the world from 1500 to the early 1900's.
- The Making of the Modern World, 1450-1850
- American Periodicals Series, 1740-1900
More than 1,100 periodicals published between 1740 and 1900 including such titles as The Medical Repository, The Philadelphia Medical and Physical Journal, The New England Journal of Medicine & Surgeryand many more.
McCall, Alexander. "Some account of the epidemic 'Grippe'." The Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, 31. 13(Oct. 1844), 254.
- British Periodicals Collection
More than 160 journals spanning the late 17th through early 20th centuries.
- 19th Century U.K. Periodicals
- Historical New York Times
Complete coverage from 1851 to the present with the exception of the most current two years.
- America's Historical Newspapers, 1690-1922
Includes the Philadelphia Inquirer from 1860-1920.
- The Times Archives, 1785-1985
The Library has many more digital collections with primary sources. Ask a librarian for further suggestions.
Make an appointment to meet with Jutta
I am happy to meet with you at any time, in person, by phone, or virtually via our chat service.
You can also email me directly.
Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement
Falvey Library, Villanova University
800 Lancaster Avenue
Jutta Seibert is the subject librarian for History and is available for research consultations, instruction, curricular support & purchase requests.