20th Century United States History

Subject Guides

Albert Search

Search Albert to find books, movies, etc..

Oxford Research Encyclopedias: American History - Scholarly essays on a variety of topics-- browse to get ideas.

Encyclopedia of the United States in the Twentieth Century. (Ref 973.903 K969) 5 vols. New York: Scribner's, 1996.

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Discover articles and books from many of our databases.

Or search by particular database:

Primary Sources

Primary documents to the end of World War II, from Adam Matthew's Gilda Lehrman Institute of American History


Famous American Women: A Biographical Dictionary from Colonial Times to the Present. (Ref 920.073 F211) New York: Dover, 1983.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy - From Internet Public Library's presidential site, outline of JFK's life, with links to other resources relating to his life. Includes historical documents, biographies, and essays on important events.

Encyclopedia of American Social History. (Ref 973.03 C318) 3 vols. New York: Scribner, 1993.

Encyclopedia of Contemporary American Culture. (Ref 973.92 M147) London: Routledge, 2001.

Encyclopedia of Rural America: The Land and People.(Ref 973.92 G673a) 2 vols. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2008.

Encyclopedia of Urban America: The Land and People - a title from Credo Reference.

Handbook of American Women's History. (Ref 305.409 H831) 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2000.

Native America in the Twentieth Century: An Encyclopedia.(Ref 970.1 D295) New York: Garland, 1994.

This is a great online reference source, with hundreds of subject encyclopedias to search at one time.

Encyclopedia of American Historical Documents. (Ref 973.03 R724) 3 vols. New York: Facts on File, 2004.

Chronicling America- Online newspapers from 1860 to 1922. Browse by state, or do a general search. From the Library of Congress.

General US Society

National Archives and Records - Explore the exhibits for propaganda posters from World War II, and the "People at War". View photographs of Chicago's African American community, and historical documents such as the Emancipation Proclamation. Searchable.

Prosperity and Thrift: the Coolidge Era and the Consumer Economy 1921-1929 - Source materials from the 1920's compiled by the Library of Congress.

Radical Feminism: A Documentary Reader. (2nd floor, 305.42 C885) New York: New York University, 2000.

Tearing Down the Color Bar: A Documentary History and Analysis of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. (2nd floor, 331.881 W694) New York: Columbia University, 1989.

Voices of Freedom: An Oral History of the Civil Rights Movement From the 1950s Through the 1980s. (2nd floor, 323.409 H189) New York: Bantam, 1990.

Includes such works as: The Cambridge Economic History of the United States

Includes such titles as: Gale encyclopedia of U.S. economic history

Oxford Encyclopedia of Economic History. (Ref 330.03 OX2), 5 volumes, New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Search this online reference source for hundreds of topical background essays. Includes such titles as: Dictionary of American History

Includes the entire text of: The Cambridge History of American Foreign Relations

World War I

World War I - An excellent source of primary documents, and a great historical perspective from Fordham University.

World War II

Encyclopedia of World War II. (Ref 940.53 T798) 5 vols. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, 2005.

War Relocation Authority Photographs of Japanese-American Evacuation and Resettlement, 1942-1945 - Approximately 600 photographs and slides of the internment of the Japanese during World War II in California, Oregon and Washington from the Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley. This site can take a long time to load!

Veterans History Project - Firsthand accounts of ordinary people in wartime during the 20th century. Some audio, some textual resources.

WASP: Women Airforce Service Pilots - Official documents, records, statistics, audio clips of speeches, photographs, and more of the women who flew military planes for the US during this time. Searchable. From Wings Across America.

What did you do in the war, Grandma? - Oral histories of Rhode Island women during World War II, along with a glossary, timeline, essays, and a bibliography.

Cold War

Papers of Alger Hiss - Archival material and government documents, plus regular updates and additions to a highly controversial case in American history. A comprehensive site from New York University Libraries.

COINTELPRO Papers: Documents from the FBI's Secret Wars Against Domestic Dissent. (2nd floor, 363.25 C475) Boston: South End, 1990.


Cold War International History Project (CWIHP) - Historical materials by governments on all sides of the Cold War, including some from communist bloc countries. Searchable.

Literature and Culture of the American 1950s - Annotated links to readings from the 1950's. Many are transcribed from contemporary works, and others are modern retrospectives. Find information about the people and times of this era.

Vietnam War

Vietnam War Bibliography - Arranged by subject, with topics such as Technology and Weapons, Air Force Operations, and the Draft.


Fog of War - Overview and analysis of the 1991 "Air Battle for Baghdad," also known as the Gulf War. From the Washington Post.

Atlanta History Center - This site provides over 16,000 photographs of Atlanta history from 1863-1982, the bulk of the photographs covering the time frame of 1930-1980. Browse the photographs relating to the Civil Rights movement.

1960s Counterculture in America. (Ref 973.922 H1802) Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 1997.

Sixties in America. (Ref 973.92 Si64) 3 vols. Pasadena: Salem, 1999.

Civil Rights Digital Library - Browsable and searchable, this site offers links to primary sources and teaching tools for faculty. Part of the digital library of Georgia.

Civil Rights in Mississippi Digital Archive - Online access to text and audiovisual primary resource materials.

Civil Rights Movement Veterans - A site organized by those that participated in the 60's movements. Primary documents can be found in "Documents", "Letters from the Field", and "Freedom Rides." A rich site.

Digger Archives - The Digger movement and the Summer of Love in San Francisco from 1966-68 with a continuing history into today.

Documentary History of the Modern Civil Rights Movement. (2nd floor, 323.11 L579) New York: Greenwood, 1992.

Free Speech Movement - The student protests at U.C. Berkeley in 1964-65 are the subject of this site. It offers documents (searchable texts including oral histories), a chronology, finding aids, and a list of collections from the library.

Kennedy Space Center Historical Archives contains the historical archives; the site includes documents relating to space history and documentation for all manned missions up to and including the Space Shuttle.

KZSU Project South Interviews - In 1965, Stanford University's KZSU radio station sent out students to do interviews of the people working for the Civil Rights movement in the South. lick on the Finding Aid link to get into the collection.

Martin Luther King, Jr. brings together many of the writings of Dr. King and historical photographs of the Civil Rights Movement. From Stanford University.

Mississippi Freedom Summer Project 1964 - Organized and sponsored by the Miami University (Ohio) library, the project consists of 765 documents, 27 videos, and suggested curriculum guides for classes from first grade through college. Among the documents are newspaper articles, speeches, newsletters, and photographs.

Pacifica Radio Archives - an online source for interviews and other audio, providing excellent primary sources for a variety of events worldwide.

Psychedelic Sixties - "Literary Tradition and Social Change." Focus on the social movements of the time from the University of Virginia Library.

Radical Feminism: A Documentary Reader. (2nd floor, 305.42 C885) New York: New York University, 2000.

A Visual Journey: Photographs by Lisa Law - Photographs, with captions, of many famous people and places reflecting the culture of the 1960's.

Voices of Freedom: An Oral History of the Civil Rights Movement From the 1950s Through the 1980s. (2nd floor, 323.409 H189) New York: Bantam, 1990.

Warren Report - From the National Archives.

Watergate - "The scandal that brought down Richard Nixon." A great overview of this complex event. Includes texts of speeches, a timeline, historical and political context, security logs, and video of selected testimony. Use in conjunction with Photographing History: Fred J. Maroon and the Nixon Years, 1970-1974, which provide photographs of Nixon's years in office, including the Watergate years. See also the Woodward and Bernstein Watergate Papers, which offers some of the original reporter's notebooks.

We Were Prepared for the Possibility of Death: Freedom Riders in the South, 1961-1962 - Primary source documents for this period of U.S. History include copies of arrest records, memos, and letters.

The Whole World Was Watching: An Oral History of 1968 - Rhode Islanders interviewed on events in 1968. A growing site.

20th Century Day by Day. (Ref 909.82 D221) New York: DK., 1999.

Includes American Decades. Volumes for 2000-2009 are available separately online.

A Pocket Guide to Writing in History (also called Rampolla)
(8th edition)
Reference: 1st floor 907.2 R148a

Chicago Manual of Style Online. Also available in print in the reference room (Ref 808.02 Un3e)

Chicago Manual of Style (Notes-Bibliography) - A guide from the SMC Library

Quick Guide to Chicago Style from the Chicago manual publishers.

A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations 
by Kate L. Turabian (6th edition)
Reference Room: 1st floor 808.02 T840b 
Reserve Desk: 1st floor 808.02 T840b c.2


Writing Assistance

Having trouble putting it all together? The SMC Center for Writing Across the Curriculum (or, "The Writing Center") offers peer-to-peer advising sessions for both undergraduate and graduate students. You can call or stop by to make an appointment, or can also drop in and do a session immediately, if an adviser is available. See their website for more information, or stop by the first floor of DeLaSalle, or call us: 925.631.4684