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HIST 72/172: The Civil War Era (Gudgeirsson)

An online research guide designed to help students in Hist 172 find resources for their research paper




Nurses during the American Civil War, 1862 (Wikimedia Commons); "Make Way for Liberty" (Library of Congress); Civil War Envelope (Library of Congress).    

Thank you for joining me in the SCU Library!

Today you are going to practice moving through the research process using library resources, and by the end have a primary source and a secondary source you can use for your assignment.

The research process is kind of like Vinyasa yoga: you repeat the same flow many times, perfecting it with each further cycle of the flow. Today we are practicing our research flow.

Please reach out at any time if you need assistance to your librarian listed at the left.

Today's agenda:

  • Brief lecture on utilizing library resources
  • Activity: State your topic, browse background sources, develop keywords, search for a secondary source (article or book), identify a primary source, post on Padlet
    • Special Book Contingent: A scouting squad will complete a special mission to the open stacks
  • Group share-out
    • Top 3 incredible primary sources
    • Books brought back from the stacks

Encyclopedias for Background Information

Browse any of the following encyclopedias to further explore topics, milestone events, and notable people.

Browse Online Exhibits and Digital Collections

You can find many collections of primary sources on the web (as well as interpretations and essays).  Below are just a few examples of what's available. You need to be very careful when you use primary sources you found on the web.  Be sure to evaluate the site to see if it's reliable. 

Library of Congress Civil War Collection
"Explore the faces, places and events of the U.S. Civl War through photographs, prints and drawings.  The Prints & Photographs Division nolds thousands of images relating to the Civil War, found in many different collections". 

The Making of America
The "Making of America" is a digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction. It includes approximately 16,000 books and 50,000 journal articles published in the 19th century, searchable by subject.  Also includes the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. 

LINCOLN Net (Abraham Lincoln Digitization Project)
Hosted at Northern Illinois University, this project presents historical materials from Abraham Lincoln's Illinois years (1830-1861), including Lincoln's writings and speeches. 

Civil War at National Archives
Here is your ultimate source to military records from the Civil War.

The Civil War: Women and the Home Front 
This libguide is from Duke University. Some of the material is linked to books and other material that can only be used by Duke faculty and students. However, if you click on the tabs labeled "Primary Sources Online" and "Manuscript Collections" you will find a treasure trove of  digitized material related to the topic of the libguide.

The Valley of the Shadow:  Two Communities in the American Civil War
A collaboration between the Virginia Center for Digital History and the University of Virginia Library, this site explores in details the life during the American Civil War in two towns, one southern and one northern. Includes diaries, letters, newspaper articles, and maps.  

Documenting the American South
This site from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill covers Southern history, literature and culture from the colonial period through the first decades of the twentieth century.  It provides access to an outstanding collection of materials including first person and slave narratives.  It also includes a great collection on the southern homefront during the Civil War. 

The Crisis of the Union:  An Electronic Archive of Documents about the Causes, Conduct, and Consequences of the US Civil War.
"Hosted by the University of Pennsylvania Libraries and created with the support of the Library Company of Philadelphia, this collection of primary materials is useful in the study of the political, economic, social, religious, racial and gender issues from the Civil War era.  the collection is comprised of pamphlets, books, broadsides, cartoons, clippings, paintings, maps, and other print memorabilia."