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A Guide to American History

This page brings together various information resources on the subject of American History.

Reference Material

McDonald, John F., 1943- . Urban America: Growth, crisis, and rebirth (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2008 - includes statistics on earnings, education, employment, housing, population, and poverty

Berger, Henry W. St. Louis & Empire: 250 years of imperial quest & urban crisis (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2015)

Spencer, Thomas M. (Thomas Morris), 1967- . The St. Louis Veiled Prophet Celebration: Power on parade, 1877-1995 (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2000)

Mapping LGBTQ St. Louis, 1945-1992 (St. Louis, Missouri: Washington University Libraries, 2017)

Wayman, Norbury L. History of St. Louis Neighborhoods (St. Louis, Mo.: St. Louis Community Development agency, 1978; City of St. Louis Community Information Network, 20--?)

St. Louis History Resources Online

Secondary Sources - eBooks

Gregory, James N. The Southern Diaspora: How the great migrations of Black and White Southerners transformed America (University of North Carolina Press, 2005) - contains some references to St. Louis

Dowden-White, Priscilla A. Groping Toward Democracy: African American social welfare reform in St. Louis, 1910-1949 (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2011)

Collins, Ann V. "All Hell Broke Loose": A comparative analysis of American race riots from the progressive era through World War II. Ph.D. thesis. Dept. of Political Science (Washington University, 2007)

Kimbrough, Mary and Dagen, Margaret W. Victory without Violence: The first ten years of the St. Louis Committee of Racial Equality (CORE), 1947-1957 (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2000).

Williams, Terri, "Washington Park Cemetery: The History and Legacies of a Sacred Space" (2018). Arts & Sciences Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1678.

Nolen, Rose M., 1935- . Hoecakes, Hambone, and All that Jazz: African American traditions in Missouri (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2003).

Caines Coggswell, Gladys. Stories from the Heart: Missouri's African American heritage (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2009)

Gussow, Adam. Beyond the Crossroads: The devil and the blues tradition (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2017)

Demas, Lane. Game of Privilege: An African American history of golf (Chapel Hill: the University of North Carolina Press, 2017)

Brundage,  W. Fitzhugh, ed. Beyond Blackface: African Americans and the creation of American popular culture, 1890-1930 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011)

Kenneth L. Kusmer and Joe W. Trotter, eds. African American Urban History since World War II (Chicago; London: The University of Chicago Press, 2009)

Catalina Freixas & Mark Abbott, eds. Segregation by Design: A historical analysis of the impact of planning and policy in St. Louis (Saint Louis: Washington University in St. Louis, 2017)

Music and Racial Segregation in Twentieth-century St. Louis: Uncovering the sources (St. Louis, Missouri: Washington University in St. Louis, 2017)

Cummings, Charles Kimball. Rent Strike in St. Louis: The making of conflict in modern society. M.A. thesis, sociology (St. Louis: Washington University, 1976) - important background information on public housing in St. Louis during the post-World War II era, 1945-66

Secondary Sources - Journal databases

Missouri Historical Review (1906-2017) - published by the State Historical Society of Missouri 

The Confluence - a regional studies journal published by Lindenwood University Press

America: History & Life (1964-) - indexing for 1,700 journals from 1964 onward covering the history and culture of the United States and Canada, from prehistory to the present (some but not all issues of Missouri Historical Review and Gateway/Gateway Heritage are indexed in this database)

Primary Source Material

Crossland, William August. Industrial Conditions among Negroes in St. Louis (1914) - includes valuable details about professional and manual labor occupations, wages, unemployment, and business ownership for St. Louis African Americans on the eve of the First World War

Poro College. Poro Hair & Beauty Culture. (St. Louis, MO: Poro College, 1922) - Poro College was a million-dollar complex built in 1917 to house Annie Malone's business's office, manufacturing operation, and training center as well as classrooms, beauty shops, laboratories, an auditorium, conference rooms, a gentlemen's smoking parlor, cafeteria, dining halls, ice cream parlor, bakery, emergency hospital, a theater, gymnasium, chapel, roof garden, general office, shipping department, a manufacturing plant, laundry, seamstress shop, dormitories, and guests rooms. The campus was located in St. Louis's upper-middle-class Black neighborhood and served as a gathering place for the city's African Americans, who were denied access to other entertainment and hospitality venues. More information about Annie Malone is available at the historical society website devoted to her memory.

United States. Congress. House. Committee on Un-American Activities. Investigation of Communist Activities in the St. Louis, Mo., Area. Part 1: Hearings before the United States House Committee on Un-American Activities, Eighty-Fourth Congress, second session, on June 4, 1956 (Washington: U.S. G.P.O., 1956) - extensive discussion of the Negro Labor Council and the CPUSA's organizing in St. Louis's African American community. Additional information is available in Parts 2, 3, and 4.

United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on the Judiciary. Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile Delinquency. Juvenile Delinquency (St. Louis, Mo.): hearings before the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee To Investigate Juvenile Delinquency in the U.S., Eighty-Fourth Congress, second session, on July 6, 7, 1956 - a few references

United States. Congress. House. Committee on Rules. Riot at East St. Louis, Illinois: Hearings before the United States House Committee on Rules, Sixty-Fifth Congress, first session, on Aug. 3, 1917 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. G.P.O., 1917)

Committee on Housing of Negroes (Saint Louis, Mo.). The Legal Segregation of Negroes in Saint Louis (St. Louis, Mo.: Committee on Housing of Negroes, 1913) - link to digital version is currently dead

Ferriss, Lucy, 1954- . Unveiling the Prophet: The misadventures of a reluctant debutante (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2005).

proprietary databases purchased by WUSTL - see the "African Americana" subsection of "Databases & Primary Source Collections" of my Guide to American History as well as the Declassified Documents Reference System

United States. Congress. House. Special Committee on Un-American Activities. Investigation of Un-American Propaganda Activities in the U.S.: Executive Hearings Volume 5: hearings before the United States House Special Committee on Un-American Activities, Seventy-Seventh Congress, first session and Seventy-Sixth Congress, third session, on Nov. 2, 18, Dec. 11, 20-22, 1940, Mar. 4, Aug. 5, 7, 8, Dec. 18, 19, 1941 (Washington : U.S. G.P.O., 1940)

Online Collections at Other Area Institutions

Missouri Historical Societies' Online Collections

State Historical Society of Missouri's Digital Collections

St. Louis Public Library's Digital Collections

St. Louis Public Library patrons also have access to fold3, a genealogy database distributed by ProQuest. Fold3 hosts extensive US military records, including the stories, photos, and personal documents of the men and women who served, but also Gould's Directory for St. Louis from 1863-1923, the Yellow Pages of its time. Access requires a SLPL library card, but a temporary one can be issued to access electronic resources. 

A Research Guide to St. Louis-area Maps

Missouri State Archives' Digital Collections

St. Louis Mercantile Library's Digital Collections

St. Louis-area Newspapers

St. Louis Post-Dispatch - the longest, continually published newspaper in St. Louis, Missouri


St. Louis Argus Newspaper (1915-1926) - while not technically the 'first' black newspaper in St. Louis, became the most recognizable name in the black journalism locally for much of the 20th century.