Background Research

The Library has a large number of subject specific online encyclopedias, handbooks and companions with exhaustive and well-researched articles written by subject experts. These essays are time-saving introductions to the historiography and can assist the reader in defining and focusing a topic. All essays include bibliographies.

Encyclopedia of American Foreign Policy
Includes articles on topics such as Cold War Evolution and Interpretation and Exceptionalism.

Encyclopedia of U.S. Political History
Volumes 4 through 7 cover the time period from 1914 to present.

Princeton Encyclopedia of American Political History
Covers the major forces that have shaped American politics from its founding to today. Addresses eras, institutions, political parties, presidents, and documents including military, electoral, and economic events, as well as social movements, popular culture, religion, education, race, and gender.

American Foreign Relations Since 1600: A Guide to the Literature
An annotated bibliographic guide published by the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. The Guide is organized by time period and includes a chapter on the cold war and one on the Korean War. Chapters include lists of published primary documents, the historiography, and recommendations for biographies. The Guide is only available in print.

Dictionary of American History
The classic encyclopedia of U.S. history, edited by Stanley I. Kutler and published in 10 volumes.

Companion to American Foreign Relations
Historiographical essays that survey the state of U.S. diplomatic history. The essays cover the entire range of the history of American foreign relations from the colonial period to the present.

Oxford Handbooks Online (Oxford University Press)
Scholarly research reviews on subjects such as the Cold War, communism, nationalism, and modern European history.

Cambridge Histories Online (Cambridge University Press)
A collection of histories that includes among others the New Cambridge History of American Foreign Relations (4 vols.), the Cambridge History of American Foreign Relations (4 vols.), the Cambridge History of the Cold War (3 vols.), the Cambridge History of the First World War (3 vols.), and the Cambridge History of the Second World War (3 vols.).

21st Century Political Science: A Reference Handbook
Part III covers international relations.

Vital Statistics on American Politics
Chapter 9, Foreign and Military Policy, includes helpful historical statistics on U.S. Defense Spending back to 1940 and Use of U.S. Armed Forces Abroad back to 1798 among others.

Congress and the Nation, 1945-
Congress and the Nation chronicles congressional trends, actions, and political and policy controversies. It documents issues in recent American politics, providing a unique retrospective analysis of the policies the U.S. Congress.

CQ Researcher (CQ Press)
Features in-depth reports of political and social issues, including health, international affairs, education, the environment, technology and the U.S. economy. Reports include overview, background, current situation, pro/con views, chronology, and a bibliography. The issue tracker links to related reports. Coverage goes back to 1923.

Americans at War
Covers major American conflicts from the Colonial Wars through the War on Terrorism in the context of cultural and social events and conditions on the home front.

Selected Primary Sources

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1861-1960
The Foreign Relations of the United States series is the official historical record of major U.S. foreign policy decisions that have been declassified and edited for publication. The series is produced by the State Department's Office of the Historian. Many volumes published since 1945 are available online on the State Department website. A full description of Foreign Relations of the United States, including a listing of digitized volumes, is available from the Office of the Historian website.

Historic Documents (SAGE)
This annual publication goes back to 1972. Each volume includes documents covering the most significant events of the year. These documents range from presidential speeches, international agreements, and Supreme Court decisions to U.S. governmental reports, scientific findings, and cultural discussions.

The digital archives of the leading journals of opinion including Harpers Magazine, The New Republic, The Nation, Commentary, NACLA, Commonweal, American Spectator, National Review and The New Yorker.

Readers' Guide Retrospective: 1890-1982 (EBSCO)
Indexes popular general-interest periodicals published in the United States among them Newsweek, Time magazine, Catholic World, the Atlantic, Ebony, and National Geographic.

American Periodicals (ProQuest)
A selection of periodicals that first began publishing between 1740 and 1900, including special interest and general magazines, literary and professional journals, children's and women's magazines, and many other historically significant periodicals. Includes Life magazine (1883-1943) and McClure's (1893-1926).

New York Times: 1851- (ProQuest Historical Newspapers)
Complete digital archive from 1851 to the present, except for the latest two years.

Washington Post Historical: 1877- (ProQuest)
Complete digital archive up to 1999.

Times (London) Digital Archive, 1785-2019 (Gale)
Complete digital archive up to 2010.

Current Digest of the Russian Press, 1949- (East View)
A comprehensive retrospective digest in English translation of the news presented to the Soviet and Russian public for more than a half-century, from the beginnings of the Cold War through the emergence of Russia in the new balance of power.

National Security Archive
The National Security Archive is an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The Archive collects and publishes declassified documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Cold War International History Project
The Project has the dissemination of "new information and perspectives on the history of the Cold War, in particular new findings from previously inaccessible sources on 'the other side' -- the former Communist world" as its goal.

Falvey Library Catalog
Sample subject searches:
"united states" and "foreign relations" and japan and sources
"united states" and "foreign relations" and germany and sources
"cold war" and sources
"vietnam war" and "personal narratives"
Sample author searches:
"committee on foreign relations"
"United States. Dept. of State. Office of the Historian"
Sample title searches:
"Department of State publication"
"foreign relations of the United States"

WorldCat (FirstSearch)
Try WorldCat to expand your search.
WorldCat is a catalog of library collections worldwide.

Secondary Sources

Falvey Library Catalog
Your gateway to history monographs in the library's print and digital collections

WorldCat (FirstSearch)
Presents a combined catalog of the catalogs of more than 10,000 libraries worldwide. WorldCat highlights publications available at Villanova University. Other items can be requested via an inter-library loan request form.

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.

Historical Abstracts (EBSCO)
Indexes academic journals, magazines, books, book reviews, and dissertations that cover world history from 1450 to the present, excluding North American history which is covered in the companion index America: History and Life. Includes abstracts for academic journal articles and selective full text content. Coverage extends back to 1953.

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.

Oxford Bibliographies (Oxford University Press)  Tutorial
Annotated bibliographies produced by recognized scholars. Tutorial available at

Book Review Digest Plus (EBSCO)
Indexes reviews of fiction and nonfiction English-language books. Reviews are selected from academic journals and library review journals. Includes selected full text. Coverage goes back to the early 1980s.

Dissertations and Theses Global (ProQuest)
A comprehensive collection of dissertations and theses.The database offers full text for most of the dissertations added since 1997 and strong retrospective full text coverage for older graduate works.

EZBorrow and Interlibrary Loan
Interlibrary loans are only available for books and journals which are not owned by Falvey. The EZBorrow service can be used for books which the library owns, but which are currently checked out. EZBorrow books are provided by a local library network and tend to arrive faster than interlibrary loans.

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.