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Most books in the Reference Collection are tertiary works that give readers a broad topical overview. However, some of the sources listed to the right contain primary sources. If you are new to researching and writing about history and need more background, these are a good place to start.
Image from the College and Lutheran Church Archives, Digital Collections, College Photographs
Recommended Reference Works
American Civil War: The Definitive Encyclopedia and Document Collection - Ref E468 .A5329 2013
This six-volume-encyclopedia set includes all significant battles and skirmishes; important figures, both civilian and military; weapons; government relations with Native Americans; and a plethora of social, political, cultural, military, and economic developments. The entries also address the many events that led to the conflict, the international diplomacy of the war, the rise of the Republican Party and the growing crisis and stalemate in American politics, slavery and its impact on the nation as a whole, the secession crisis, the emergence of the "total war" concept, and the complex challenges of the aftermath of the conflict.
American National Biography - Ref CT 213 .A68 1999 (24 vols + suppl)
Offers over 17,000 scholarly biographical sketches of significant Americans who died before 1996. The definitive source for American biography.
The Civil War Era and Reconstruction: An Encyclopedia of Social, Political, Cultural, and Economic History - Ref E468 .S65 2011
This illustrated two-volume set provides an in-depth view of the non-military history of the Civil War and Reconstruction, covering the years 1861-1877. The encyclopedia takes a broad, multidisciplinary approach to the history of the period. It includes general and specific entries on politics and business, labor, industry, agriculture, education and youth, law and legislative affairs, literature, music, the performing and visual arts, health and medicine, science and technology, exploration, life on the Western frontier, family life, slave life, Native American life, women, and more than a hundred influential individuals.
Encyclopedia of the American Civil War - Ref E 468 .H47 2000 (5 vols.)
Subtitled "A Political, Social, and Military History," this source attempts to "fashion a comprehensive source for a boundless subject." It offers over 1,600 articles on topics related to the war and its context, events leading up to the war and its consequences. There is a special section devoted to primary sources, as well as photographs, drawings, and maps.
Encyclopedia of the Confederacy - Ref E487 .E55 1993
This 4 volume set covers all aspects of the Confederacy, including its social, cultural, military, economic, and political histories.
Historical Dictionary of the Civil War and Reconstruction - Ref E468 .R53 2012
More than 800 entries, encompassing the years 1844 to 1877, cover the significant events, persons, politics, and economic and social themes of the Civil War and Reconstruction. A chronology, introductory essay, and bibliography supplement the cross referenced dictionary entries to guide the reader through the military and non-military actions of one of the most pivotal events in American history.
Women during the Civil War: An Encyclopedia - Ref E628 .H37 2004
This A-Z reference work to offer a panoramic presentation of the contributions, achievements, and personal stories of American women during one of the most turbulent eras of the nation's history. Incorporating the most recent scholarship as well as excerpts from diaries, letters, newspapers, and other primary source documents, this Encyclopedia encompasses the wartime experiences of famous and lesser-known women of all ethnic groups and social backgrounds throughout the United States during the Civil War era.
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