Getting Started


It is often helpful to begin your research by reading a basic overview of your subject. Encyclopedias provide such basic overviews, and they often provide helpful suggestions for further reading as well.

For searching across multiple encyclopedias

  • Oxford African American Studies Center
    Wide-ranging collection of scholarship focused on the lives and events that have shaped African American and African history and culture. Features biographies and other articles from Oxford's reference works; primary sources; images; maps; timelines; and charts and  tables. The core content includes: Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience; the Encyclopedia of African American History 1619-1895; Black Women in America; the Concise Oxford Companion to African American Literature; and the ongoing project African American National Biography.
  • Gale Virtual Reference Library
    Includes online full text of a wide range of encyclopedic works in history, the arts, business, law, medicine, religion, and social science.

Individual Encyclopedias

Asante, Molefi Kete and Ama Mazama, editors. Encyclopedia of Black Studies  (Thousand Oaks, Calif. : SAGE Publications, c2005).

Butler Reference, 301 Butler
R326 En23

Cayton, Mary Kupiec and Peter W. Williams, editors. Encyclopedia of American Cultural & Intellectual History. 3 vols. (New York : Charles Scribner’s Sons, c2001).

Location :  Butler Reference, 301 Butler
Call Number:  R973.92 En19
Locations :  Barnard Reference & US History & Literature Reading Rm, 502 Butler (Non-Circ)
Call Number:  E169.1 .E624 2001

Finkelman, Paul, editor-in-chief. Encyclopedia of African American history 1619-1895 : from the colonial period to the age of Frederick Douglass. 3 vols. (New York : Oxford University Press, 2006).

Location :  Butler Reference, 301 Butler
Call Number:  R326 En195

Jaynes, Gerald D., ed.  Encyclopedia of African American Society. 2 vols. (Thousand Oaks, Calif. : Sage Publications, c2005).

Location:  Butler Reference, 301 Butler
Call Number:  R326 En198
Location:  Lehman Reference
Call Number:  E185 .E546 2005

Kutler, Stanley I, editor. Dictionary of American History. 3rd ed. 10 vols. (New York : Thomson Learning, c2003).

Location:  Butler Reference, 301 Butler
Call Number:  R973 D56

Lowery, Charles D. and John F. Marszalek, editors. The Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Civil Rights : from Emancipation to the Twenty-First Century. 2 vols. (Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 2003).

Location:  Butler Reference, 301 Butler
Call Number:  R326 G856

Palmer, Colin A. Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History : the Black Experience in the Americas. 2nd ed. 6 vols. (Detroit : Macmillan Reference USA, c2006).

Location:  Butler Reference, 301 Butler
Call Number:  R326.8 En2

Smelser, Neil J. and  Paul B. Baltes, editors-in-chief.  International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences. (Amsterdam ; New York : Elsevier, 2001).

Also available in print at:
Location:  Butler Reference, 301 Butler
Call Number:  R033 In813
Locations:  Barnard Reference & Lehman Reference
Call Number:  H41 .I58 2001

Research Guides

Higginbotham, Evelyn Brooks, editor-in-chief.  The Harvard Guide to African-American History. (Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 2001).

Location (guide):  Butler Reference Desk, 301 Butler
Call Number:  R016.326 H26
Location (guide):  Barnard Reference
Call Number:  E185 .H326 2001