The DLB is the trusted starting-point for literary scholars seeking biographical information about writers. This online version contains numerous subseries, including Afro-American writers, humorists, newspaper and magazine journalists, short storyists, travel writers, and novelists (to name a few). A search for "edith wharton" leads to essays about Wharton as novelist, writer of short stories, travel writer, woman author, etc., but also returns essays on R.W.B. Lewis (her biographer). Because of the breadth of the online DLB, be sure to read the title of the essay entry and the series from which it comes to determine which essays are most relevant to you!
Book-Length Biographies in Print
Once you've got the gist from the DLB, search also for book-length treatments of an author's life and influence. Use a subject search structured as below to find books predominantly about your author:
Hemingway, Ernest, 1899-1961
Loos, Anita, 1893-1981
Wharton, Edith, 1862-1937
Limited results? You can also expand your search to include libraries outside OU using MelCat.
Offers introductions to major writers, artists, philosophers, topics and periods.
Provides online access to encyclopedias, almanacs, and other reference tools. A few of the potentially useful titles include: The Reader's Companion to American History, The Chronology of American Literature, Encyclopedia of American Poetry: The Twentieth Century, The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English
Encyclopedia of American Studies
This source brings together a wide range of disciplines related to the history and cultures of the United States, from pre-colonial days to the present. It features broad, synthetic articles covering areas such as history, literature, art, photography, film, architecture, urban studies, ethnicity, race, gender, economics, politics, wars, consumer culture, and global America.
Print Sources Here in the Library:
Encyclopedia of American History Ref. E 174 .D52 2003 Unlike most encyclopedias, this is organized chronologically, which makes browsing particular time periods easy.
Annals of America Ref. E 173 .A793 Organized chronologically, this classic work gathers primary source material from throughout US history, including speeches, photos, etc. There is also a circulating copy on the 3rd floor.
Kresge Library Catalog --situate your writer or social or cultural event in its context using book-length treatments of broader themes or time periods. You can simply search for specific phrases as keywords, like "lost generation," "birth control," or prohibition, or you can browse some of these broader sample subject headings:
Sample subject headings:
United States History 1919-1932
United States History 1933-1945
United States Social Life and Customs 1918-1945
United States Social Conditions 1918-1932
United States Social Conditions 1933-1945
United States Civilization 1918-1932
United States Civilization 1933-1945
United States Intellectual life 20th century
Popular Culture United States History 20th century
An archive of the leading consumer magazines for women in the late 19th century through 2005, including titles like Good Housekeeping and Ladies Home Journal. Limit your dates to search through interviews, letters, cover photos, recipes, fashion, and more.
Berg Fashion Library
Users can browse time period or a specific design house to explore styles--ancient through contemporary--including vivid photographs, measurements, and a short description of the article of clothing.
Manipulate your search using date range options--before, after, or between two days or years. Search for obituaries, advertisements, birth and marriage notices of famous people, as well as coverage of segregation, jazz, atom bomb, birth control, etc. You can also pick a date and look at ads for clothing, furniture, medicines, homes, etc. The "page view" tab shows your article in its original context--from there you can browse the entire day's paper.
Chicago Defender (Proquest Historical Newspapers)
Considered the most important African-American paper, covering lynchings, segregation, the Great Migration, and issues of black disenfranchisement. Searches similarly to NYT Historical.
Historical African American Newspapers: this guide lists many 20th-century newspapers freely available online through the digitization efforts of the Library of Congress and other organizations.
Detroit Free Press 1923-1999 -- Your source for searching Detroit-area history, politics, and society. Issues of the Freep after 1922 aren't searchable by document type (obit, ad, letters to editor, etc), but you can still search the full text of the paper and limit by date.
History Vault: Civil Rights and the Black Freedom Struggle
A collection of digitized primary sources documenting the civil rights movement, from the early 20th century to the 1970s with an emphasis on the 1960s. NAACP Papers are included.
American Memory: A collection of photographs, posters, documents, films, sound recordings and other materials from American history, curated by the Library of Congress.
American Life Histories: manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940, telling the histories of pioneers, ex-slaves, factory workers, immigrants, cowboy life, and more.
The NYPL Digital Gallery: 700,000+ images from primary sources and printed rarities including illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints, photographs, illustrated books, and printed ephemera.ARTstor
Over one million images in the arts, architecture, humanities, and social sciences. To find U.S. history resources browse by Geography, select United States.
WPA Film Library: archival footage of WWII and other events in American history. Click the "filter by category" option to browse content in labor, arts, culture, social issues, and more, and filter footage by relevant dates and locations.
The Making of Modern Michigan: a collaborative project of 52 libraries in Michigan to document the state's history through photographs and diary pages. For best results, search simple words or phrases in the "search collections" box in the upper left corner.
Digital Schomburg: online archives and exhibits on African American history, including images and illustrations, books, maps, oral histories, and more (Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, housed at NYPL).