Encyclopedias, Handbooks & Companions

The Library has a large collection of reference works, most of them in electronic format. Selected titles are listed below. Discover more encyclopedias, handbooks and companions through a search in the Articles & more file of the Library's catalog. Simply limit your search results to Reference under Format.

Gale eBooks
Includes the Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood, the Dictionary of American History, West's Encyclopedia of American Law, and numerous other reference works. The Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood has essays on work and poverty, education in the United States, foster care, and child saving. Essays include recommended reading lists.

Social History of the American Family: An Encyclopedia.
Includes an essay on orphan trains.

Oxford Handbook of the History of Education

Oxford Research Encyclopedias (Oxford University Press)
Offers peer-reviewed topical introductions and literature reviews written by well-regarded authorities. Available in selected subject areas. New topics are regularly added.

Encyclopedia of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era
Includes essays on child labor legislation, child saving, the United States Children's Bureau, and education among many others.

Books & Book Chapters

Books & Media
Books are an important source of critical literature. Take advantage of the search options available in the library's catalog. Start with a keyword search and use the hyper-linked Library of Congress subjects to focus your search results. Alternatively, use available facets such as topic and language to narrow search results. Subject searches can significantly increase or decrease search results.
Use the Online collection facet to limit results to ebooks.
Subject search: "Child welfare United States History."
Author search: "Children's Aid Society"
Author search: "Brace, Charles Loring, 1826-1890"
Keyword search: "United States" and orphan* and history

Provides a full text archive of academic journals and books in the humanities, social sciences, and mathematics.

ACLS Humanities E-Book (American Council of Learned Societies)
A collection of over 5,400 seminal books in the humanities and related social sciences from more than 120 publishers.

Journal Articles

The Library subscribes to a large number of history journals. Use the E-Journal Finder or the Articles file in the Library's catalog to look for known references. Request articles from journals that are not part of the Library's collections through interlibrary loan. The Library's blue Findit button serves as a bridge to the full text.

America: History and Life (EBSCO)
Indexes and abstracts articles published in journals such as the Journal of Family History, the Journal of Social History, and the History of Education. Good starting points include: "children's aid society," "child welfare," "abandoned children," "orphan trains," and orphans. Use the Findit button to link to the full text or to request a scan of the article.

Provides a full text archive of academic journals and books in the humanities, social sciences, and mathematics. The most recent three to five years of a journal are usually not included.

Articles & More Search
Indexes journals in all disciplines. Check Limit to articles from peer-reviewed journal to focus on scholarly journal articles.

Selected Secondary Sources

Primary Sources

Here are some suggestions for locating primary sources in the Library's collection. Ask for advice and directions if you cannot find what you are looking for. Consult the online Primary Source Research Guide for further details.

AncestryLibrary (ProQuest)
A vast collection of genealogical data which traces the history of millions of individuals.

New York Times: 1851- (ProQuest Historical Newspapers)
Complete coverage from 1851 to the present with the exception of the most current three years. Includes classified ads, comics and cartoons, photos, maps, graphics, etc., editorials and commentary.

Philadelphia Inquirer, 1860-2009 (ProQuest Historical Newspapers)
Provides full text access to the complete Philadelphia Inquirer archive up to 2009.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 1786-2008 (ProQuest Historical Newspapers)
Provides full-text access to the complete archive up to 2008.

African American Newspapers: The 19th Century (Accessible Archives)
Provides access to the major 19th century African American newspapers.

America's Historical Newspapers (Readex)
Includes full text of selected early American newspapers published between 1690 and 1922.

American Periodicals (ProQuest)
A selection of periodicals that first began publishing between 1740 and 1900.

Migration to New Worlds (Adam Matthew Digital)
Documents the emigration experience of millions from the beginning of the 19th century to the early 20th century. Text sources include letters, legal and financial papers, books, periodicals, personal accounts, and shipping papers. Visual sources include illustrations, postcards, posters, maps, artwork, and photographs. Also contains oral history recordings and a convict database for New South Wales. Companion essays provide historical context. Short biographies and indexes along with other special features further facilitate access. Sourced from the collections of archives, libraries, and museums in the US, UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and the Netherlands.

Selected Primary Sources