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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Religious Studies 436: Religion in America, 1900-1941

A course guide.

1. Digital Collections

The Library provides access for UIUC faculty, staff, and students to several major collections of digitized texts. These are available from the Online Research Resources page off the Library Gateway. Enter the title of the database in the search box and follow the links. Most of these resources require authentication with a UIUC net id.

American Periodical Series is an important collection of 1,100 periodicals, published between 1741 and 1900. 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.

Black Thought and Culture contains 1300 sources from the 18th century to the present, including esays, pamphlets, letters, articles from journals, interviews (audio and text), and digital images of selected issues of newspapers.

Black Studies Center offers several different types of sources.  Schomburg Studies on the Black Experience consists of essays by scholars, organized by topic; timelines; video clips; graphic material (portraits, posters, images of printed documents and manuscripts, photographs, drawings, magazine illustrations); and links to recommended secondary literature.  The International Index to Black Periodicals provides coverage of articles published mainly since the mid-20th century.  Black Literature Index offers coverage of fiction and poetry by African American authors published between 1827 and 1940.  Black Studies Center also links to the digitized version of The Chicago Defender, a newspaper founded in Chicago in 1905 (issues available from 1910).

We have access to several historical newspapers through the collection ProQuest Historical Newspapers. Titles include major metropolitan dailes like Historical New York Times (1851-2003), the Historical Wall Street Journal (1889-1989), the Historical Chicago Tribune (1849-1985), the Historical Washington Post (1877-1991) and the Historical Los Angeles Times (1881-1985). The same collection also includes major African American newspapers of the 20th Century:  Atlanta Daily World (1931-203), Los Angeles Sentinel (1934-2005), New York Amsterdam News (1922-1993), Pittsburgh Courier (1911-2002), and the Chicago Defender (1910-1975). This semester (Spring 2009) we have trial access to Cleveland Call and Post (1934-1991), Philadelphia Tribune (1912-2001), Norfolk Journal and Guide (1921-2003), and Baltimore Afro-American (1893-1988).

North American Women’s Letters and Diaries contains writings by hundreds of female authors from the colonial period to the mid-20th century. The 515 texts included in the database are transcribed, rather than reproduced as digital facsimiles, and they are extensively indexed, as well as searchable by keyword. Biographical information is provided for each author, as well as synopses of many of the source documents, reprinted from Joyce Goodfriend’s 1987 bibliography, The Published Diaries and Letters of American Women. Other interesting collections include Gerritsen Collection of Women's History Online, and Women and Social Movements.

Duke University Digital Collections include the well-known Ad*Access, Images of Mainline Protestant Families in the U.S. (coverage of which is, unfortunately, almost entirely post-1950), and more. Much of the content is images, which can be difficult to search. Take advantage of the subject browsing features.

American Decades: Primary Sources. Decade by decade compilation of source material that ranges from religion to popular culture and more.

2. Other Primary Source Collections

The Library's holdings of primary source material for the study of early 20th Century American history are especially rich, and worth exploring. You might, for example, browse the religion periodicals, beginning at call number 205. Another way to identifyperiodical titles is to use subject guides (listed below). Don't hesitate to ask if you have questions about the kind of material that might be available.