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Information Resources and Services for:
HIS 332: America in the Age of the Civil War

Spring 2012
Here are a few suggestions for researching your topics. For additional help, please stop by the reference desk. If you just want to talk to me, Jeff Jenson, contact me via e-mail at, phone at x7572, or come to my office in the College and Lutheran Church Archives located on the library's 3rd floor.

Jeff Jenson
Greg Kaster

Table of Contents:

Finding Sources (mostly books/journals/micro-format material - not articles)
  • MnPALS Plus

    The online catalog to the library at Gustavus Adolphus College. Choose "All Libraries" in the search options to search other MnPALS libraries (such as Minnesota State schools) and request books through Interlibrary Loan. View our MnPALS Plus tutorial.
  • WorldCat

    Includes over 40 million bibliographic records representing cataloged resources in 400 languages owned by libraries around the world. Materials date back to the 11th century. Owning libraries can be identified for books, journals, archival resources and electronic resources. Access to WorldCat is provided by the Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM); the database can also be searched through its free web interface, at
Finding Articles (secondary sources)

    Full-text backfiles to over 350 scholarly journals from more than 25 academic disciplines published between the 19th and 21st centuries in the JSTOR Arts & Sciences I, Arts & Sciences II, and Language & Literature collections. JSTOR provides complete journal backruns from the date of initial publication up to a "moving wall" of 3 to 5 years before the present year. To limit your search to full text articles, make sure that the option to "include links to external content" is turned off.
  • America: History and Life,uid&profile=ehost&defaultdb=ahl

    Indexes literature related to the history of the United States and Canada from prehistorical times to the present. This extensive database covers over 2,000 journals published worldwide including all key English-language historical journals, selected historical journals from major countries, and state and local history journals, as well as books, dissertations and book reviews.
  • Academic Search Premier,uid&profile=ehost&defaultdb=aph

    The world's largest academic multi-disciplinary database, Academic Search Premier indexes nearly 8,050 publications and provides full text for nearly 4,600, including more than 3,500 peer-reviewed journals. Coverage also includes many newspapers and popular magazines and spans virtually every area of academic study since 1975. Updated daily. Access is provided by the Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM). View our Academic Search Premier tutorial.
Finding Primary Sources
There is no particular area in the library where you will find primary sources shelved. You need to use creativity and insight to think about where to find primary sources for your research. Diaries, memoirs, and letters are possibilities; so are popular press accounts of events and official documents. The items listed below are a sampling of resources that may prove helpful in historical research. Look, too, for collections of documents published as anthologies or for important historical texts made available through quality websites such as American Memory (websites featuring primary sources are listed at the end of this guide).
  • New York Times Historical (1851-4 years ago)

    The full text of the New York Times from 1851 to 4 years ago -- covering the entire publishing history of the newspaper back to the first issue. The newspaper text is fully indexed and searchable and the database also contains full-page images, including graphics. Available on the Web through ProQuest.
    • Newspapers (Local and Regional)

      You can borrow Minnesota newspapers from the Minnesota Historical Society via our library's ILL service.
  • Sabin Americana, 1500-1926

    Sabin Americana, 1500-1926 makes available online works captured from Joseph Sabin’s bibliography, Bibliotheca Americana: A Dictionary of Books Relating to America from Its Discovery to the Present Time. It contains information about North, Central and South America, the Arctic and Antarctica and the West Indies. This resource offers original accounts of exploration, pioneering, settlement, the western movement, military actions, Native Americans, slavery and abolition. It provides access to 33,000 titles, with over 8 million pages of text. Users can search among or within specific works, view the results of full-text searches on facsimile pages from the original works, save lists of results, specific pages or works, e-mail citations for selected works, print and download portions of the works themselves.
  • Poole's Index to Periodical Literature
    An index to the contents of periodicals published in the nineteenth century in England and America. Covers 1802-1881, with supplements that cover through 1906. Though less easy to use than later indexes, it offers access to articles in popular periodicals by subject. Headings are not always easy to guess--the Civil War, for example, is found under United States--Civil War.
    • Location(s): Ref AI 3 .P7 1938 (6 vols.)
  • Popular Magazines in Print (Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library)

    There are many popular magazines (shelved on the lower level in alphabetical order) that can provide insights into a particular time period. These are some that are available in the Gustavus library. A few date from the Civil War period.
  • American Women's Diaries
    This collection of microfilm reproduces the diaries of women who lived and traveled in the western U.S., New England, and the South.
    • Location(s): Microfilm Room - CT 3260 .A64 1984
  • American Culture Series
    A large collections of microfilmed books and pamphlets, with a printed index to its contents.
    • Location(s): Shelved in Microfilm Room under Reprint Series Ref Z 1215 .A583
  • American Periodicals Series
    A collection of periodicals reproduced on microfilm. This library does not own the entire set. A general index, covering the subject matter of different magazines, is available in print form.
    • Location(s): Microfilm Room: PN 4877 .H66 1979
  • U.S. Serial Set
    This series is a compilation of various sorts of Congressional documents. The library owns papers in this series covering the 17th Congress (1798-1823), the 36th through 41st Congress (1859-1871) and the 42nd Congress (1871-1873). They are available on microfiche in the government documents area in a cabinet marked "American State Papers"; a printed index provides subject access to the microfiche by document and envelope number. (For example, an entry for "S.misdoc. 22 (39 - II) 1278" is referencing document number 22 in microfiche envelope number 1278; it is a miscellaneous Senate document from the second session of the 39th Congress.)
    • Location(s): Lower Level- Government Documents Microfiche
  • Records of the Confederate States of America, 1859-1872
    Known as Pickett papers. Accompanied by a guide. These records, consisting of about 18,500 pieces, span the years 1858-1872, with the bulk of the material falling in the period April 1861-April 1865. They relate completely to the Confederate States of America: its formation, and the conduct of its internal, external and military affairs during its existence.
    • Location(s): Microfilm Room Main Level: JK9665 .C65 1967
    • Online Finding Aid to the Pickett Papers

      Creator: Confederate States of America
      Extent: 18,500 items; 124 containers plus 2 oversize; 28 linear feet; 71 microfilm reels
      Language: Collection material in English
      Repository: Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
      Abstract: Correspondence, proclamations, messages of the president, court cases, minute books, docket books, customs records, financial records, letterbooks, orders, reports, and other records of the Confederate Department of Justice, Department of State, Department of the Treasury, Post Office Department, Navy Department, and War Department. Includes Confederate constitutional documents and the James Wolcott Wadsworth collection of diplomatic correspondence and letters of Raphael Semmes.
  • Book Series
    • The American Negro: His History and Literature
      Find books in this series by doing an advanced search under "series."
    • Women in America from Colonial Times to the 20th Century
      This series of reprints, produced by Arno Press, includes works by and about women published before 1900. As with the Schomburg series, the volumes are shelved in various locations, but searching the catalog using the series as a title will bring up a listing of the works in the series.
      • Location(s): Various Call Numbers
    • Schomburg Library of Nineteenth Century Black Women Writers
      This series of books, published by Oxford University Press, reprints all sorts of writings-- personal narratives, novels, poetry, anthologies. They are not shelved all together, but can be located on the catalog by searching the series name as a title.
      • Location(s): Various Call Numbers
  • Archival Repositories
    To view primary sources from the period of 1848-1877, you should look into the collections held at the following institutions. Content will vary, and these sources are only but a fraction of what is available online.
    • The Southern Homefront, 1861-1865

      The military side of the Southern bid for political independence is far better known than its domestic counterpart, the struggle behind the military lines to create a new nation under wartime conditions. "The Southern Homefront" begins to redress this imbalance by providing access to a rich sampling of official documents, private correspondence, and pamphlets that focus on Confederate life behind the battlelines. These sources detail both the political and administrative workings of the Confederacy and the efforts of Southerners—men and women, whites and African Americans, and Confederates as well as dissidents—to establish their loyalties and define a place for themselves in a South wracked by a massive war.
    • The American Civil War Homepage

      The American Civil War Homepage gathers together in one place hypertext links to the most useful identified electronic files about the American Civil War (1861-1865). The page opens a gateway to the Internet's multi-formatted resources about what is arguably the seminal event in American history. Not only was the War the occasion for the abolition of slavery, but by conflict's end the re-United States had emerged as a modern, industrialized power. It is this sense of history, transcending the stale recitation of dates and facts and alive with meaning, to which Lincoln referred when he wrote in 1862, "Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history." The links gathered in this Homepage are a metaphor for the interconnections of the War's past with our present and future. Thus, technology reveals the deep-structure of the human experience and helps to explain the continuing American fascination with the struggle between North and South, free and slave.
      • Cassel, Peter. Correspondence of Peter Cassel, 1861-1902. CAMC Collection 55.

        The Peter Cassel collection includes correspondence which occurred during the Civil War between Peter Cassel and various family members. Topics include the long marches, weather, pay days, impending battles, problems at the farm, the Republican victory in 1862, deserters, and slavery. His travels during the war include stops in Howell County, Missouri, Batesville, Arkansas, Helena, Arkansas, the Benton Barracks in St. Louis, Missouri, and Vicksburg.
      • Civil War Diary of N. S. Carter, 1864-1865.

        The N. S. Carter Collection contains the Civil War diary of N. S. Carter and one letter to his brother. Carter hailed from St. Peter, Minnesota and was a Union Army soldier in K Company, 7th Minnesota.
      • Civil War Letters of Olof Nelson and Family History Materials, 1864-1945.

        The Olof Nelson Civil War Letters and Family History Materials collection primarily contains correspondence from Nelson to his family written while serving in the Union Army’s 55th Illinois Infantry during the American Civil War from 1864 to his discharge in 1865. In Addition, there are muster Roll Calls from his enlistment, the pension and death records of Nelson and his wife Jennie, articles of his family history, and a photographic history of the Civil War. This collection gives insight into the lives of Swedish immigrants. Most correspondence is in Swedish, but translations exist for most letters.
    • Minnesota Historical Society - Civil War Letters of the Christie Family

      Digital images of some of the most interesting letters from the collection are provided here. To browse a list of letters from an author, location or month, please click on any of the links. Typed transcripts have been created to make the letters easier to read.

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