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American Studies Distinguished Majors

This page provides of general resources that will be helpful for doing research in American Studies.  American Studies draws upon many other disciplines, so you may also want to consult the research guides for English, History, EducationSociology, African American Studies, Indigenous Studies, LatinX Studies, Women's Studies, and Media Studies

Library Catalogs

VIRGO, the U.Va. Library’s primary search tool, contains catalog records for books, print journals, DVDs, maps, and digitized materials, as well as links to online articles from our rich array of subscription journals.  You can search catalog materials and articles together, or view those results separately, using the "facets" provided to limit your results by author, format, publication period, and more.  

WorldCat is a vast union catalog, containing listings of books, journals, manuscripts, maps, and other materials in thousands of libraries worldwide. It's a wonderful resource for locating obscure items, although inclusion of older and/or foreign materials is not always complete.

Sources for scholarly journal articles

Academic Search Complete is a large general database of articles from scholarly journals, magazines, and newspapers on many topics. 

JSTOR contains back issues (usually three years old or older) of significant scholarly journals in many subjects, including language and literature.  JSTOR is not as comprehensive as subject-specific databases like MLAIB, but offers the advantages of full-text searching and instant access to PDFs.

America History & Life (1964-present) covers the history of the United States and Canada from prehistory to present with records from 2,000 English-language journals published worldwide. Includes book reviews.

The MLA International Bibliography (MLAIB) indexes the broadest range of resources about literature in all languages, including over 4,000 journals as well as books and dissertations.  To get the full text of an article, click on “Find article @ UVa Libraries”, or look up the journal title in VIRGO.

American Quarterly is considered the premier journal in American Studies. Interdisciplinary in scope, it seeks "to make available the broad range of emergent approaches to American Studies."

Google Scholar is an index of scholarly literature across all disciplines, somewhat weighted toward the sciences.  Use the "Library Links" (under the Settings menu) to identify the University of Virginia as your library; this will activate Find@UVA links in your results list.

Digital book archives

Google Books contains searchable facsimiles of the books Google has scanned from libraries and publishers. Choose "About this book" for abstract, table of contents, and books and articles related to the book. Full-text search of books in non-Roman alphabets is still imperfect.

HathiTrust includes material scanned by the American Google Books partner institutions (including U.Va.) plus other digitized materials from those institutions. Features better bibliographic data and better treatment of multi-volume works than Google Books.

Historical newspapers and periodicals

The library has vast collections of newspapers and periodicals, historical and current, in print, on microfilm, and online.  Listed below are just a few of the online resources for finding historical newspapers and periodicals; consult the newspapers guide for more information.  For current newspapers, LexisNexis and Factiva are your best bets.

American Newspapers:

America's Historical Newspapers is a searchable full-text collection of US newspapers from 1690 to 1922.

ProQuest Historical Newspapers is a searchable archive of mainstream US newspapers, including the NY Times (1851-1999), the Wall Street Journal (1889-1995), the Chicago Tribune (1890-1969), the Washington Post (1877-1987), and the LA Times (1881-1985), as well as prominent black newspapers including the Chicago Defender, Norfolk Journal and Guide, Pittsburgh Courier, Baltimore Afro-American, and NY Amsterdam News.

African-American Newspapers - 1827-1860  provides searchable text and page images for 7 African-American newspapers published between in the decades leading up to the Civil War. 

Chronicling America, a project sponsored by the Library of Congress and the NEH, allows you to search and view millions of American historic newspapers. Click on the "All Digitized Newspapers 1836-1922" tab to limit your search to papers targeting various ethnicities (African-American, Latin American, Jewish, and several others). This project also encompasses the U.S. Newspaper Directory, 1690-Present, which aims to list all papers published in the U.S. and can be searched by ethnicity. See these search tips for help.


American Periodicals (Series 1) includes full text of over 1000 journals published in the US between 1740 and 1900.

The American Antiquarian Society Historical Periodicals Collection provides access to thousands of American periodicals published between 1684 and 1912. The individual collections, each covering a particular timeframe, can also be searched independently.

Citing your sources

MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing
Chicago Manual of Style
Purdue OWL: Research and Citation Resources