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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Religious Studies 436: Religion in America, 1900-1941

A course guide.

1. America: History and Life

The main article database for American history is America: History and Life. This is usually the best starting place to search for scholarly articles in English on historical topics.  America: History and Life covers articles, book reviews, and dissertations on all periods of North American history published since 1964, and in some cases it provides links to the full text of the articles online. To search this database, use the Quick Link on the History, Philosophy and Newspaper Library web site.

If you select the Easy Search tab on the Library Gateway, your search will be run in America: History and Life, as well as several other multidisciplinary sources. In addition, you can click on “Easy Search” under Quick Links on that page to get the option to limit your search to articles on history.

Searching America: History and Life directly, rather than through Easy Search, offers you more search options. Use the Subject Browser in the database to select your subject term(s) by clicking on the open book icon to the right of the search box. You can narrow your search by adding a keyword or using more than one subject term. Your search results display as short records, which you can expand by clicking on “Expand Record” at the bottom of the record on the right. The full entry shows you an abstract or summary of the article. If a particular article is linked to full text, the link is highlighted.

2. Religion Database

Produced by the American Theological Library Association, Religion Database, or ATLA Religion Database, includes citations to journal articles, essays in books, and book reviews published since 1949.  Approximately one-fifth of the nearly 1 million citations in the database is linked to full text, presented in PDF format.

You can use the "Quick Links" on the History, Philosophy and Newspaper Library web site to connect to Religion Database.

3. Other Article Databases

There are many other specialized or multidisciplinary article databases that you could search, depending on the focus of your topic. The master list of article databases is available on the Library Gateway’s Online Research Resources page. You may find material on revivalism and evangelicalism in America, for example, in Expanded Academic ASAP (1980- ), Academic Search Ultimate (1980- ), Retrospective Reader's Guide (1890-1982),  PCI/Periodicals Archive and Index

American Periodical Series Online is an important collection of 1,100 periodicals that began publication between 1741 and 1900. Coverage extends into the 20th century, though not far. The articles in the database are fully searchable by keyword, but there is no subject indexing, so you have to be careful to construct your searches using the language of the original articles. To get to American Periodical Series Online, go to “Quick Links” on the History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library web site.

4. Full-text Resources

There are several major collections of full-text electronic journals. In these databases you can browse individual issues of journals, or you can do a search across the entire database.

For older journals, use JSTOR ("journal storage"). This is a digitized, fully searchable version of the full content of more than 700 scholarly journals from their inception (sometimes as early as the 18th century) up to the last 1-5 years (recent issues are excluded). To get to JSTOR, go to the "Quick Links" on the History, Philosophy and Newspaper Library web site, or go to Online Research Resources and type "JSTOR" in the search box. Several key historical and religious studies journals are included in JSTOR, such as

  • Journal of American History
  • Journal of Interdisciplinary History
  • Journal of Religion
  • History of Religions
  • Journal of Black Studies
  • Religion and American Culture
  • Review of Religious Research
  • Sociology of Religion 


Conveniently, America: History and Life provides links to articles in JSTOR journals.

For the full text of more than 300 recent scholarly journals, use Project Muse. These too are fully searchable. In most cases, only the issues from the last few years are available. Here you will find, for example,

  • American Quarterly
  • Journal of Social History
  • Journal of Interdisciplinary History
  • History and Memory
  • Journal of the Early Republic
  • Journal of Women's History


To get to Project Muse, go to the "Quick Links" on the History, Philosophy and Newspaper Library web site, or go to Online Resources from the Library Gateway and type "Project Muse" in the search box.