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HIST 4307/5307 - American Presidency

A historical study of the presidency from George Washington to the present, including constitutional, domestic and foreign policies. Library resources on the Presidents and First Ladies of the United States

Reference Books


Tells what different words mean and often provides the pronunciation, derivation, current status and proper spelling.  Historical dictionaries can be consulted for detailed definitions of historical events and terms.  Sources you might consult include:

Dictionary of American History — [REFERENCE E 174 .D52 2003]

Encyclopedic entries on people, places, events, themes.  Bibliography.

To locate a dictionary on your topic use the library catalog to do a keyword search across everything.  Example:  civil war AND dictionary


Provide an overview of a topic in articles of varying length and detail.  A good place to start for background information and, in some cases, a bibliography is available.

American Eras — [REFERENCE E 169.1 .A471979 1997]

Provides a chronological look at events in the United States.  Events are divided into broad subject areas with overview essays and some sources for further reading.  Covers the early discover period through 1899. 

New Handbook of Texas — [REFERENCE F 384 .N48 1996] ALSO ONLINE

Provides articles of varying length on people, places, and events in Texas history. Also available electronically through the electronic indexes available via the section of the library home page.

Handbooks & Chronologies

List notable events during different time periods in a particular geographic area, or for a particular topic.  To locate chronologies at Gray Library use the subject searches:

            History, ancient — chronology

            United States —history—chronology

Timetables of History – [STACKS D 11 .G78 2005]

            Provides a chronological list of events


Atlases are collections of maps showing characteristics of difference geographical areas related to population, political conditions, history, and economics.  The pronunciation, latitude, longitude, history of a place, and products produced may be given as well.  Atlases that may be useful include:

CIA World Factbook -- [DOCUMENTS PREX 3.15 CURRENT ONLY; also available ELECTRONICALLY]


Provides statistical information, social, economic, political and geographical information for every country.  Updated annually. 

CIA Map Series -- [DOCUMENTS PREX 3.10/4: current editions only]

Collection of maps updated regularly.  Each country has a political map and a geophysical map.  Larger maps available for continents and regions.  Check library catalog for holdings. 

Complete Atlas of World History -- [STACKS G 1030 .C66 1997 v.1-3 in OVERSIZE SHELVING]

Atlas in three volumes offers color maps with timelines and descriptions of events in world history.

Historical Atlas of the United States -- [REFERENCE G 1201 .S1 N3 1993]

Atlas offering chronology of history from 1400 through the 1990s. Organized in thematic sections, with a wide selection of maps, charts, graphs, statistics and images. Detailed descriptions of events.

Times Atlas of World History -- [STACKS G 1030 .T54 1993 in OVERSIZE SHELVING]

Atlas offering a detailed chronology of events, geographical background to world history, color maps and detailed descriptions of events.

Biographical Resources

A collection of histories of varying length about the lives of individuals.  Biographical works can provide factual information on individuals who played key roles in shaping an event's outcome.  Useful sources include:

Dictionary of American Biography -- [REFERENCE E 176 .D563]

Biographical information about prominent deceased Americans who made major contributions to American life.  Entries vary in length. 

Dictionary of National Biography -- [REFERENCE DA 28 .D47]

Biographical information about prominent deceased persons from England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland who made major contributions to the country. Entries vary in length. 

Student Resource Center – College Edition -- see Indexes section

Statistical Sources

A collection of various facts and statistical information.  Almanacs that are helpful for finding factual information in history include:

Statistical Abstract of the United States -- [REFERENCE DESK HA 202 .A1 ; older years in DOCUMENTS]

Collected statistics from United States federal agencies covering a wide variety of subjects.  Published annually.

World Almanac -- [REFERENCE DESK AY 67 .N5 W7; older years in REFERENCE]

Collection of statistics and facts with international coverage.  Published annually.

Historical Statistics of the United States, 1789-1945

[REFERENCE HA 202 .A385]

Compilation of statistics gathered by federal government agencies organized by subject area.

Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times to 1970.

[REFERENCE HA 202 A385 1976]

Compilation of statistics gathered from government sources organized by subject area.  A good source for locating unusual statistics.

Historical Statistics of the United States, Earliest Times to the Present

[REFERENCE HA 202 H57 2006]

            Five volume compilation of statistics gather from government agencies and organized by subject area. An expanded source for unusual statistics.

Historical Statistics of the States of the United States: Two Centuries of the Census, 1790-1990.

[REFERENCE HA 214 .D63 1993]

Compilation of data from the population, manufacturing and agricultural census organized by state.  Useful for compiling an overview of the changes in a state, some 1990 information is incomplete.

United States Historical Census Data Browser, 1790-1960


Site offers census data from 1790 to 1960.  User can create personalized reports by selecting variables and states.  Does not include complete content from later census.