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General Reference Sources
General reference sources provide basic background information on a variety of subjects. These types of sources are ideal when beginning research, in particular if little is known about the research topic. Use the information you find in general reference sources to guide the research process toward more specific information.
Oxford Reference Online
Full-text collection of over 200 core academic subject, language, and quotations dictionaries as well as Oxford Univ Press encyclopedias and companions series.
American Boundaries : the nation, the states, the rectangular survey by For anyone who has looked at a map of the United States and wondered how Texas and Oklahoma got their Panhandles, or flown over the American heartland and marveled at the vast grid spreading out in all directions below, "American Boundaries" will yield a welcome treasure trove of insight. The first book to chart the countryOCOs growth using the boundary as a political and cultural focus, Bill HubbardOCOs masterly narrative begins by explaining how the original thirteen colonies organized their borders and decided that unsettled lands should be held in trust for the common benefit of the people. Hubbard goes on to showOCowith the help of photographs, diagrams, and hundreds of mapsOCohow the notion evolved that unsettled land should be divided into rectangles and sold to individual farmers, and how this rectangular survey spread outward from its origins in Ohio, with surveyors drawing straight lines across the face of the continent. aa aMapping how each state came to have its current shape, and how the nation itself formed within its present borders, "American Boundaries "will provide historians, geographers, and general readers alike with the fascinating story behind those fifty distinctive jigsaw-puzzle pieces that together form the United States."
Call Number: Available as an e-book
Publication Date: 2008-11-01
The Cowboy Encyclopedia by Alphabetically organized and thoroughly cross-referenced entries provide information on cowboy history, culture, and myth in North and South America. Entries include cowboy types, equipment, dress, work, and recreation. illustrated, with informative appendixes, an index, and bibliography.
Call Number: Available for request from PALNI Libraries
Publication Date: 1994-06-30
Encyclopedia of Frontier Literature by From the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries, the American frontier gave rise to myths, legends, and a body of literature celebrated around the world. This volume encompasses the works of professional and amateur writers -- both fiction and nonfiction -- that shaped the genre. Special care is taken to include and highlight the contributions of women and minorities to frontier literature. Complete with illustrations, general index, and several useful appendixes, this volume is an indispensable reference.
Call Number: PS169 .F7S6
Publication Date: 1997-08-01
The Encyclopedia of the New American Nation: 1754-1829 Traces the development of the ideas, customs, and institutions that constitute the American cultural identity through 670 articles by specialists in history, law, religion, literature, art, music, African American studies, women's studies, and science and technology.
Publication Date: 2005-10-21
The New Encyclopedia of the American West by The American West is an evocative term that conjures up images of cowboys and Indians, covered wagons, sheriffs and outlaws, and endless prairies as well as contemporary images ranging from national parks to the oil, aerospace, and film industries. In addition, the West encompasses not only the past and present of the area west of the Mississippi but also the frontier as it moved across each of the fifty American states, offering the promise of freedom and a better life to pioneers and settlers in every era. This authoritative, comprehensive, and lavishly illustrated single-volume encyclopedia is a rich source of information about these many American West, real and imaginary, old and new, stretching from coast to coast and throughout the country’s history and culture. The encyclopedia, a thoroughly revised and expanded version of Howard Lamar’s acclaimed twenty-year-old Reader’s Encyclopedia of the American West, consists of more than 2,400 entries in alphabetical order by more than 300 contributors, along with over 600 illustrations and maps (four times more than in the original edition). The book includes articles by such authorities as Leonard J. Arrington on Mormonism, Anne Butler on prisons and prostitutes, John Mack Faragher on the fur trade, California, and television and radio westerns, Martha Sandweiss on photography, and Ron Tyler on western prints. Among the other topics covered are: the formative period of each state; the diplomacy of American expansion; important discoverers and mountain men; major Native American tribes, their leaders, and culture; pivotal women such as Sacagawea, Annie Oakley, and Willa Cather; African Americans, Asian Americans, and Mexican Americans on the western frontier; novelists, artists, and filmmakers and the real and fictional people they turned into mythic heroes or villains; politicians from Benjamin Franklin to Ronald Reagan; major cities and landmarks; and conservation and wildlife issues. The West continues to be a symbol of both America’s frontier past and its troubled future. This book is an indispensable introduction to its endlessly fascinating story.
Call Number: Available onleine as an e-book
Publication Date: 1998-09-23
The Southwest by The Southwest has attained a mythical status, yet images of picturesque desert geography sometimes overshadow the remarkable variety of cultural contributions that originated in the region, which includes Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas. Architectural styles range from adobe constructions to the Santa Fe style to Frank Lloyd Wright's landmark Taliesin to Las Vegas casino kitsch. Regional dialects show the influence of Spanish-English hybrid speech as well as a multitude of Native American languages. Border music thrives in the region, while legendary musicians Leadbelly, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and Stevie Ray Vaughan all contributed to the Texas blues genre. Writers such as Zane Grey and Cormac McCarthy have invented and reinvented the Southwestern tale, while such films as the seminal "The Last Picture Show" have painted indelible images of Southwestern life. Meanwhile, the American wildlife preservation movement has roots in 19th century Southwest lands and to this day maintains an especially imporant role in Southwestern sports and recreation. Mark Busby, director of the Southwest Regional Humanities Center, presents an authoritative reference on the unquestionably diverse and vibrant aspects of regional cultures in the American Southwest. "The Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Regional Cultures" is the first rigorous reference collection on the many ways in which American identity has been defined by its regions and its people. Each of its eight regional volumes presents thoroughly researched narrative chapters on Architecture; Art; Ecology & Environment; Ethnicity; Fashion; Film & Theater; Folklore; Food; Language; Literature; Music; Religion; and Sports & Recreation. Each book also includes a volume-specific introduction, as well as a series foreword by noted regional scholar and former National Endowment for the Humanities Chairman William Ferris, who served as Consulting Editor for this encyclopedia.
Call Number: Available as an e-book
Publication Date: 2004-12-30