Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A YA Civil War Pathfinder for the Coolidge Corner Library

Brookline Public Libraries: Coolidge Corner Branch

United States Civil War Research Guide

This research guide is designed to introduce the middle and high school students of Brookline to the available resources at the Coolidge Corner Branch library about the United States Civil War. This is a guide to offer direction when beginning research.


Title: I’ll Pass for Your Comrade: Women Soldiers in the Civil War
Author: Anita Silvey
Page Count: 115 pages
Call Number:  j973.7 Sil
About the Source: This illustrated book offers interesting narratives and vignettes of different women on the front during the Civil War. Not only are there maps, photos and illustrations, but this book can either be read from beginning to end or read in sections by topic or person using the index.


Title: Why Fight?: The Causes of the American Civil War
Author: Corinne J. Naden
Page Count: 112 pages
Call Number:  j973.7 NAD
About the Source: This book is from The House Divided: The Civil War Series, which also includes the titles: Bloodiest Days, Chancellorsville to Appomattox, and Civil War Ends. Depending on the specific focus, these titles could help inform your research; they are quick reads full of facts and personal narratives.


Title: Traveling the Freedom Road: From Slavery & the Civil War through Reconstruction
Author: Linda Barrett Osborne
Page Count: 128 pages
Call Number:  j973.7 Osb
About the Source: This resource is not only an interesting read, but provides illustrations and a timeline. The author uses personal stories of teenagers in order to bring together facts and memoirs to create an excellent source for research, and even (gasp!) personal reading!

A note on Call numbers

  • A “j” preceding a number means that the book is in the children’s or juvenile section.

  • The number “973.7” is the number the library uses to represent United States Civil War books. You can look through both the adult and children’s collections under this number to find more books!

  • The letters after the number are the first few letters of the author’s last name.





Website: CivilWar@Smithonian
URL: http://www.civilwar.si.edu/collections.html
About the Source: The Smithsonian Civil War website provides a very detailed timeline of events leading up to and through the war. While the site gives a general overview of specific events, it is very easy to navigate and offers a great starting point in research.

Website: The Library of Congress—American Memory
URL: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem
About the Source: This is a primary source website that is easily searchable. There are thousands of period photos, letters, transcriptions, and newspaper articles available. You can also browse the various collections in “gallery view” in order to locate specific images.


Website: The National Archives Research in Military Records: The Civil War
URL: http://www.archives.gov/research/civil-war
About the Source: This government website provides links to a variety of records, exhibits, articles and other links about the Civil War. It offers explanations on primary sources and links to glossaries and dictionaries about any specialized military lingo.


Website: History.com: American Civil War
URL: http://www.history.com/topics/american-civil-war
About the Source: History.com’s American Civil War website is a plethora multi-media information. There are short videos, a photo gallery and organized links to explore the various subtopics of the war. Each link provides recommended articles about people and places mentioned.



Research Suggestion: Using Subject Headings

Subject Headings are a standardized group of keywords applied to specific subjects and topics in order to make it easier for patrons and librarians to catalog and search for information.


When searching databases and websites, it might be helpful to follow any hyperlinked subject headings or even use some of the following to inform your searches in order to find sources more specific to your research:

  • American Civil War Veterans

  • American Reconstruction, 1865-1877

  • United States Civil War, 1861-1865

  • United states—History—Civil War, 1861-1865—Causes

  • United States—History—Civil War, 1861-1865—Social Aspects


Title: U.S.  History in Context
About the Source: Searching by topic in this database yields articles and information from online references, academic journals, primary sources, news, magazines, images, audio from radio programs, related topics and “expert picks”.  This valuable resource provides information on various topics in various formats; however, if you want more detailed information about a specific subtopic, this resource would prove a better starting place for finding information.


Title: Daily Life through History
About the Source: This database focuses on the social aspects of historical eras. A simple search will yield information about the economic, political, recreational, leisure, and religious life (to name only a few) of the Civil War. This is well-organized and provides information that is not traditionally considered when researching a war.


Title: Gale Student Edition-Infotrac
About the Source: Designed specifically for high school students, this database allows both keyword and subject (i.e. United States Civil War) searches as well topical browsing. The searches also offer subdivision of subjects to find more specific areas of information. This resource provides access to articles, news, podcasts, videos and essays and conveniently lists the type of source on the right.


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