Encyclopedias, Handbooks & Companions

The Library has a large collection of reference works, most of them in electronic format. Discover relevant 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.

African American Studies Center (Oxford University Press)
Includes the Encyclopedia of African American History 1619-1895 and the African American National Biography among other titles and selected primary sources.

American History (Oxford Research Encyclopedia)
Offers peer-reviewed topical introductions and literature reviews written by well-regarded authorities.

Oxford Bibliographies (Oxford University Press)  Tutorial
Presents peer-reviewed, annotated bibliographies and expert commentary on current scholarship in selected disciplines.

Oxford Handbooks Online - History Collection
Includes among others the Oxford Handbook of Slavery in the Americas, the Oxford Handbook of the American Revolution, and the Oxford Handbook of the Atlantic World, 1450-1850.

Companion to African American History

Gale eBooks
An interdisciplinary collection of electronic encyclopedias.

American National Biography Online (Oxford University Press)
Biographical resource on more than 18,000 people from all eras who have influenced and shaped American history and culture.

Books & Book Chapters

Explore the Library’s monograph collection with the help of the Books & Media file of the catalog. Books that are not available can be requested through interlibrary loan. Expect to wait for about a week.

Falvey Library Catalog
Includes records of all print and e-books owned by the Library. Books that are currently checked out can be requested through EZBorrow or interlibrary loan.
The Library's catalog has a number of different search options: keyword and subject searches are good starting points when first exploring a topic. Search results can be narrowed with facets, which appear to the right of the results. Topic, region, era, and languageare helpful facets.
Sample subject searches:
United States - History - Civil War, 1861-1865 - Participation, African American.
Slaves - Emancipation - United States
Freedmen - United States
African Methodist Episcopal Church - History

Oxford Bibliographies (Oxford University Press)  Tutorial
Written by experts who steer you toward the critical works on selected topics.

Includes books and journal articles. This is only a small subset of what is published on any topic, but everything is available in full text online.

WorldCat (FirstSearch)
Includes all books published in English as well as many foreign language works. Highlights publications available at Villanova University. Other items can be requested with a convenient link to an online request form.

EZBorrow and Interlibrary Loan
Requests books and journal articles from other libraries. The EZBorrow service is limited to books while interlibrary loan requests can be used for books and journal articles.

Journal Articles

The Library subscribes to a large number of history journals. Use the Journal & Article Finder or the Articles & more 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 the literature covering the history and culture of the United States and Canada from prehistory to the present. Includes citations for journal and magazine articles, book reviews and dissertations. Abstracts of journal articles are included together with selected full-text. Indexing goes back to 1964.

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.

Newspapers & Magazines

African American Newspapers: The 19th Century (Accessible Archives)
Includes the complete text of major 19th century African-American newspapers such as The Christian Recorder (1861-1902) and Freedom's Journal (1827-1829). For more information about African American print culture and readers read this article by Eric Gardner:
Gardner, Eric. "Remembered (Black) Readers: Subscribers to the Christian Recorder, 1864–1865." American Literary History 23, no. 2 (2011): 229-259.

Black Historical Newspapers (ProQuest)
Offers access to the major African American newspapers of the 20th century.

America's Historical Newspapers (Readex)
A digital collection of early American newspapers from 1690 to 1922, that includes the Philadelphia Inquirer from 1860-1920.

New York Times: 1851- (ProQuest Historical Newspapers)
Complete archive of The New York Times from 1851 to the present with the exception of the most current two years.

Washington Post Historical: 1877- (ProQuest)
Complete archive of the Washington Post from 1877 to 1996.

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

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

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

Civil War: A Newspaper Perspective (Accessible Archives)
A collection of Northern and Southern newspapers published between Nov. 1, 1860 and Apr. 30, 1865. Contains news articles, eye-witness and official reports of battles, editorials, advertisements, biographies as well as battlefield maps and illustrations.

Online archives to leading journals of opinion such as Harpers Magazine, The New Republic, The Nation, Commentary, NACLA, Commonweal, American Spectator and the National Review.

Government Documents & Records

AncestryLibrary (ProQuest)
The collection consists of census data, vital records, directories, photos, and more.
Data sets include the 1870 United States Federal Census and the U.S., Colored Troops Military Service Records, 1861-1865.
Census forms from 1790 through 1940 and the slave schedules from 1850 and 1860 are available online.

U.S. Congressional Serial Set: 1817–1994 (Readex)
Provides full text of selected reports, documents, and journals of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives from 1817 through 1994 (15th through 103rd Congresses). Documents of the first 14 U.S. Congresses can be found in the American State Papers collection.

Personal Recollections

Falvey Library Catalog
Use the terms correspondence, letters, narratives and memoirs in combination with personal names and/or with the phrases "civil war, 1861-1865" and "African American."
Sample search: correspondence and "African American" and "civil war, 1861-1865"
Sample search: narratives and "African American" and "civil war, 1861-1865"

Sabin Americana, 1500-1926 (Gale)
Books, pamphlets, serials and federal and state government documents. The collection includes personal narratives from the Civil War.

Black Abolitionist Papers (ProQuest)
The collected correspondence, speeches, sermons, lectures, editorials, society proceedings and poems of close to three hundred Black abolitionists including hand-written correspondence.

Citing Your Sources

Chicago Manual of Style Online
The 17th edition of the Manual is the most current. The online version includes a Citation Quick Guide with examples. The Library's website offers a short introduction and overview to the Notes and Bibliography System commonly used in the humanities.

Student Projects