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American History

American History

Subject Guide to Library Resources Available

The land of America had a long and proud history of native indigenous communities and great civilizations prior to the coming of the Europeans to the North American continent in the 17th century A.D. This guide will focus on American history from the coming of the pilgrims, the formation of the United States of America, and on to modern times. The guide will assist you in finding materials at the Long Beach City College Library, through other libraries, and via the Internet.

A good place to start a paper is to read a little general literature about the field (encyclopedia, internet article) and look up basic terms that are unfamiliar to you. The Encyclopedia Britannica (in print or online) is an excellent source of information on topics about American History.

The next step would be to look for books which cover or touch upon your specific topic. Use the chapter headings and indexes of books that seem relevant to zero in on your topic.

Finally, look for journal articles focused on your specific area of inquiry for more in-depth and recent coverage.

When unable to find answers to your questions in these resources, the internet and other reference books will often give you new leads to the answers. Finally, don't forget the wealth of information contained in videos. Your research about United States history will be enhanced by information and visual material documented in videos.


Pilgrims Founded Plymouth Dec. 1620

Reference tools such as indexes, directories, bibliographies, guides, encyclopedias and atlases are generally found in a reference area where many people can refer to general information. Items found in reference areas cannot be checked out of the library.

Occasionally other copies of reference-type items can be found in the circulating collection for you to check out.

To find articles and books on various aspects of American History, the main printed indexes in the Reference Area to use for extensive research are (use Interlibrary Loan to request books & articles not available at LBCC):

Humanities index.
Location: LAC Index Table (Reference Room) Call Number: AI3 .H85

Social sciences index.
Location: LAC Index Table (Reference Room) Call Number: AI3 .S62

(Previous volumes known as Social Sciences & Humanities Index AI3 .R49)

Reference Books--a sample of what is available

American decades.
Location: LAC Reference Room Collection. Call Number: E169.12 .A419
Location: PCC Reference Room Collection.
Call Number: E169.12 .A419

American Heritage encyclopedia of American history. 1998.
Location: LAC Reference Room Collection. Call Number: E174 .A535 1998
Location: PCC Reference Room Collection. Call Number: E174 .A535 1998

Dictionary of American history. 2003.
Location: LAC Reference Room Collection. Call Number: E174 .D52 2003
Location: PCC Reference Room Collection. Call Number: E174 .D52 2003

Encyclopedia of African-American culture and history. 1996.
Location: LAC Reference Room Collection. Call Number: E185 .E54 1996
Location: PCC Reference Room Collection. Call Number: E185 .E54 1996

Encyclopedia of American political history. 2001.
Location: LAC Reference Room Collection. Call Number: E183 .E48 2001
Location: PCC Reference Room Collection. Call Number: E183 .E48 2001

Great American history fact-finder. 1993.
Location: LAC Reference Room Collection. Call Number: E174 .Y36 1993
Location: PCC Reference Room Collection. Call Number: E174 .Y36 1993

Webster's guide to American history. [1971]
Location: LAC Book Shelves. Call Number: E174.5 .W4
Location: LAC Reference Room Collection. Call Number: E174.5 .W4

Who's who in African-American history. 1994.
Location: LAC Biography Reference (Reference Room).
Call Number: E185.96 .W54 1994
Location: PCC Reference Room Collection. Call Number: E185.96 .W54 1994


Constitutional Convention
Books can be located by searching Voyager, the Library's online catalog. Use terms as those found below in a keyword search for the best results. Then follow subject links in desired records to find more similar records.

To find Electronic books in Voyager which can be read online from home, try a search using general terms and adding a Quick Limit of E-Books. You will need to view the record for the book to click on the link to the website that hosts the book. To view from home you will need passwords which can be found with the passwords for online databases available from the librarians.

Some of the topics you might search the online catalog for concerning American History might not use the exact wording you are looking for. Try a keyword search and look at the subject headings assigned to some of your hits, then link to those subject headings for more records. If you don't find records in the LBCC Library for what you need, try searching online databases for articles and search other libraries for books. You may use Interlibrary Loan to request books not found at LBCC. Here are some suggested Subject Headings or Keywords to search in Voyager:

African Americans
African Americans Migration
America History (not United States)
America Maps
Civil Rights
Cold War
Depressions 1929
Indians of North America
Industrial Revolution
Labor Unions
United States
Louisiana Purchase
Manifest Destiny (United States)
Marshall Plan
Migration Internal United States
New Deal
Populism United States
Progressivism (United States Politics)

Slavery America
Slaves Emancipation United States
Underground Railroad
United States Emigration and Immigration
United States History Colonial Period
United States History 1775-1783
United States History Revolution
United States History Civil War
United States History 1865-1898
United States History 20th Century
United States History War of 1812
United States History War with Mexico
United States Territorial Expansion
World War 1914-1923
World War 1939-1945

You can also browse the shelves by the Library of Congress Classification letters assigned to books in these subject areas either in the Reference Area or on the stack level listed for books that can be checked out:

Find these call numbers on Stack Level 2, Basement of LAC:

E51-73 Pre-Columbian America. The Indians
E75-99 Indians of North America
E81-83 Indian wars
E101-135 Discovery of America and early explorations
E151-889 United States
E173 Sources and documents
E176-176.8 Biography
E183-183.3 Political history
E184-185.98 Elements in the population
E184.5-185.98 African-Americans
E185.2-185.89 Status and development since emancipation
E185.96-185.98 Biography. Genealogy
E186-199 Colonial history (1607-1775)
E199 French and Indian War, 1755-1763
E201-298 The Revolution, 1775-1783
E300-453 Revolution to the Civil War, 1775/1783-1861
E433 Slavery question, 1853-1857
E438 Slavery question, 1857-1861
E441-453 Slavery in the United States. Antislavery movements
E456-655 Civil War period, 1861-1865
E668 Reconstruction, 1865-1877
E669 Purchase of Alaska, 1867
E780 Internal history during World War I
E839.8 Un-American activities E840-840.2
E841-843 Kennedy's administration, 1961-November 22, 1963
E842.9 Assassination, funeral, memorial services, etc.
E846-851 Johnson's administrations, November 22, 1963-1969
E855-861 Nixon's administrations, 1969-August 9, 1974
E860-861 Watergate Affair. Resignation
E865-868 Ford's administration, August 9, 1974-1977
E872-875 Carter's administration, 1977-1981
E876-880 Reagan's administrations, 1981-1989
E877.3 Assassination attempt
E881-884 Bush administration, 1989-1993
E885-889 Clinton administration, 1993-2001
E895-904 Twenty-first century
E902-904 George W. Bush's administration, 2001-

Class F F1-975 United States local history

covered wagon

Some videos may be found in Voyager, the online catalog, to be checked out. First select a Quick Limit of Videorecordings, then do a keyword search for American History or a term from above.

You may also view videos inhouse from the Instructional Media Collection. Search Medianet for American History or a term from above.


A few periodical titles currently held by the LAC library in hard copy and containing information on American History include:

Gold Rush
American Heritage
American Historical Review
Arkansas Historical Quarterly
California History
Current History
Facts on File
Hispanic American Historical Review
History & Theory
History Today
Journal of American Folklore
Journal of American History
Journal of Black Studies
Journal of Conflict Resolution
Journal of Contemporary History
Journal of Modern History
Journal of Negro History
Journal of the West
Journal of Urban History
Negro History Bulletin
Pacific Historical Review
Society of Archivists
The Wilson Quarterly
World Press Review
Virginia Quarterly Review

The Library has a subscription to several online databases containing information on research on American History. These databases are particularly helpful in finding information as many journals can be searched simultaneously by the keywords you select. The full-text is then most often available online for printing or sending to your email account. Some of these databases include:

Biography Resource Center
CQ Researcher
Encyclopaedia Britannica
Facts on File On-Line
Matter of Fact
Opposing Viewpoints
SIRS Government Reporter

SIRS Researcher

Pearl Harbor & Entrance into WWII

Only current faculty, students or staff may use these databases. Ask for passwords at the Reference Desk at either Library. The Librarians can instruct you on using these article databases. There is a free workshop offered for learning the ins and outs of online database searching.


Many good resources can be found on the Internet for current research, basic information, and indexes to more resources. You will also come across many sites produced by school classes and others that will not carry the authority you might be looking for. So review the origin of the information you find carefully. Follow the links by clicking on the pictures on this page. Below are a few more helpful sites for American History research:

AMDOCS - Online Documents for the Study of History:
American History Bibliography:
American History Guide - Yale University:
American History Internet Links:

American Presidents Life Portraits (CSPAN programs):
American Rhetoric Top 100 Speeches:
Bald Eagle - An American Emblem:
Black History:
American Memory - 7 million digital items from the Library of Congress:
Capitol Building:
Capitol Building Virtual Tour:

Civil Rights Era:
Civil Rights Movement Historic Sites:
Civil War:
Civil War to Present - Biographies & Photos:
Civil War to Present - Online Books:
Digital History:
Eras in American History:
FirstGov - U.S. Official Web Portal:
First Nations Histories- Brief Description of Indian Tribes:
Flag of the United States:
Foundational Documents of the US:
Founders Constitution--constitutional history:
From Revolution to Reconstruction - online texts & documents:
Historical Documents (Thomas):
Historical Documents Online:
National Archives (go to site index to select documents):
Native American Home Pages Links:
Native American Websites:
Outline of American History - Online Text:
Pearl Harbor interactive:
Presidential Elections from 1796:
Reconstruction Era:
States and Capitals:
Thomas Legislative Documents on the Internet:
United States Factbook from the CIA:
US Information: congress of websites:
Using Web Resources:
US Historical Documents:
Vietnam Online (PBS):
Vietnam Overview (Vassar):
Virtual Library (Kansas Univ.)--American West:
Virtual Library (Kansas Univ.)--Gilded Age:
Virtual Library (Kansas Univ.)--Radicalism & Reform:
Virtual Library (Kansas Univ.)--Revolutionary period:
Virtual Library (Kansas Univ.)--The South:
The West:
Westward Expansion:
Women in American History:


While you are writing your paper, there is an online subject guide, Writing Tips, with links to online help for organizing and formulating your paper, and finding online dictionaries and citation tools.

There is also a Writing Center at both campuses to help you with the fundamentals of your paper, for information call the Writing Center: at LAC (562) 938-4520 and at PCC: (562) 938-3991.

Increase Your Research Skills!

Enroll for Lib1 (Information Resources 1-credit)
or Lib3 (Information Competency 3-credits)

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Compiled 4/2004 by P. Nielson