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A Guide to Religious Studies

Reference Works - A Place to Begin

The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Cultural and Intellectual History (2013) -  a record of the nation’s values, aspirations, anxieties, and beliefs as expressed in both everyday life and formal bodies of thought

The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Social History (2012) -  more than 450 entries focused on the historical experiences of ordinary people 

Gulevich, Tanya. Encyclopedia of Christmas (Detroit: Omnigraphics, 2000) -  nearly 200 alphabetically arranged entries covering all aspects of Christmas, including folk customs, religious observances, history, legends, symbols, and related days from Europe, America, and around the world.

Encyclopedia of American Holidays and National Days (2006) - (not owned by WUSTL Libraries, but you can submit an ILL chapter request) Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday * Super Bowl Sunday * Washington, Lincoln, and Presidents' Day * Mardi Gras and carnival * St. Patrick's Day * Passover in America * Easter * VE and VJ Day * Earth Day * Arbor Day * May Day in Urban America * Cinco de Mayo and 16th of September * Mother's Day * Father's Day * Memorial Day * A holiday for a flag * Emancipation and African American slave festivals * Powwow * Gay Pride Day * Labor Day in America * Columbus Day: the navigation of unchartered waters * Halloween * Election Day * Veterans Day * Thanksgiving * Hanukkah in America * Christmas * Kwanzaa * New Year's Eve 

Encyclopedia of American Folklife (2014) - more than 350 entries exploring the rich and varied cultural traditions of folklife in America - from barn raisings to the Internet, tattoos, and Zydeco - through expressions that include ritual, custom, crafts, architecture, food, clothing, and art 

CQ Researcher (1991-) - 44 reports per year. Explores a single "hot" issue in the news in depth each week, featuring comments from experts, lawmakers and citizens on all sides of every issue.

Encyclopedias on Religion in the United States

Encyclopedias of U.S. history

Subject Headings

The principle subject heading for this class is Holidays -- United States, which has 10 related subject headings: 

Constitution Day and Citizenship Day (U.S.) * Election Day * Fourth of July * Inauguration Day * Juneteenth * Lincoln Day * Martin Luther King, Jr., Day * Presidents' Day * Veterans Day * Washington's Birthday

Many other holidays have their own subject headings like ʻĪd al-Fiṭr or Labor Day.

Academic Journal Article Databases

American Theological Library Association (ATLA) Religion database (EBSCO) - journal, essay, and book review index. Contains thousands of citations from international titles and multi-author works in the field of religion.

America: History & Life (1964-) (EBSCO) - a complete bibliographic reference to the history of the United States and Canada from prehistory to the present

Sociological Abstracts (1952-) (ProQuest) - abstracts and indexes the international literature in sociology and related disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences. Abstracts are pulled from nearly 2,000 serial publications including journal articles, conference papers, books, dissertations, and conference papers, plus citations to important book reviews related to the social sciences.

JSTOR - full-text searches of almost 2,000 journals in the humanities and social sciences 

Google Scholar - recommended only when you have a citation and want to know if you have full text access

Primo - same as above 

Primary Sources


Periodicals (newspapers & magazines)

American Religion: Denominational Newspapers (Newsbank) - historical newspapers covering religious news, and the role religion played in American life and society. Supports research of early American history, religious history, ethnic studies, abolitionism, Civil War, and gender studies. Contains more than 320 rare newspapers from over 30 states published between 1799 and 1900.

Historical American Newspapers (ProQuest) - major U.S. dailies including the Atlanta Constitution, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Hartford Courant, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.

Ethnic Newswatch - includes current full-text newspapers, magazines, and journals of the ethnic and minority press, providing researchers access to essential, often overlooked perspectives. The database also provides historical coverage of Native American, African American, and Hispanic American periodicals from 1959-1989.

Independent Voices - a digital collection of alternative press newspapers, magazines and journals, drawn from the special collections of participating libraries. These periodicals were produced by feminists, dissident GIs, campus radicals, Native Americans, anti-war activists, Black Power advocates, Hispanics, LGBT activists, the extreme right-wing press and alternative literary magazines during the latter half of the 20th century.

MAS Ultra – full text for more than 700 popular magazines from Advertising Age to U.S. News & World Report

PressReader - full-color, full-page collection of today's newspapers from around the world, providing instant access to 1000+ newspapers from 82 countries in 39 languages. For most papers, only the most current 60 days are available. 

Government Documents

Legislative Insight - provides legislative histories with digital full-text publications. It contains over 27,000 legislative histories for federal laws, including some enacted as far back as 1789. It only includes congressional publications that are related to bills enacted into law that are included in this database. For other full-text congressional documents, see ProQuest Congressional.

ProQuest Congressional - comprehensive access to U.S. legislative information. Includes: CIS Legislative Histories (public laws back to 1969), Congressional publications (1817 - ), testimony from Congressional hearings (1824-), Congressional Record and Federal Register, U.S. Serial Set, 1789-1969, Serial Set Maps, 1789-1969, and more. 

U. S. Declassified Documents Online - selected previously classified government documents ranging from the years immediately following World War II, when declassified documents were first made widely available, through the 1970s. Nearly every major foreign and domestic event of these years is covered: the Cold War, Vietnam, foreign policy shifts, the civil rights movement, and others.