Sunday, July 10, 2005

Scholarly Collections & Databases

America: History and Life

(The Salem State College Library makes this database (from 1982 to present) available to members of its research community. Contact the Reference Department for more information about accessing this rich resource.)

America: History and Life serves as a complete bibliographic reference to the history of the United States and Canada from prehistory to the present, including:
- more than 490,000 bibliographic entries for periodicals dating from 1954 to the present;
- coverage of more than 2,000 journals published worldwide, with articles abstracted by historians and librarians with subject expertise in the journals for which they are responsible;
- citations to abstracts of dissertations published in the areas of U.S. and Canadian history; and
- more than 16,000 new entries, added annually to the database.

To see the list of periodicals indexed in America: History and Life, visit:

American Civil War: Letters and Diaries

This collection features more than 100,000 pages of text, including 4,000 pages of previously unpublished manuscript content, including diaries, letters, and memoirs. Users can search the database by list of authors, places, battles, and important personal events, and limit their retrieval by the writer's gender, age, allegiance, residence, race, occupation, and a number of other qualifying criteria. A one-month trial of this collection has been requested for Salem in History participants, with a tentative start date of 9/15/05.

To learn more about the contents of this collection, or to take an online "guided tour", visit

American Periodical Series 1741-1900

New York Times Historical Archive (1851 - present)

North American Women's Letters and Diaries, Colonial Period to 1950

Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Selected Resources for Readers


Bancroft Prize
One of the most highly regarded honors among scholars of history, the Bancroft Prize is awarded annually by the trustees of Columbia University to the authors of exceptional books in the fields of American history, biography and diplomacy.
To see previous winners of the Bancroft Prizes, visit:

Biography Resource Center (You'll need a public library barcode to access this database.)
Biography Resource Center is an outstanding database featuring biographical information about 275,000 people from throughout history, around the world, and all disciplines and subject areas. More than 400,000 biographies are included from more than 90 highly regarded Gale Group publications, including the following:

American Decades CD-ROM - profiles those who "influenced American life and history" during each decade of the 20th century;

Authors and Artists for Young Adults - profiles of the writers, artists/illustrators, and cartoonists popular with today's young adult readers;

Constitutional Amendments, 1789 to the Present - profiles of people who made important contributions to the amendments of the United States Constitution;

Contemporary Authors - detailed biographies of more than 120,000 contemporary U.S. and international authors;

Dictionary of American Biography - profiles of individuals who have influenced American history and life;

Encyclopedia of World Biography - detailed biographies of notable individuals from around the world and throughout history;

Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History - profiles of noteworthy individuals in business and industry; and

Historic World Leaders - profiles of political, religious and social leaders from around the world and throughout history.

Carol Hurst's Children's Literature Site
Hurst's rich site features book reviews listed by title, author and grade level, literature tie-ins to all areas of the language arts, math, U.S. and world history curricula, and suggested titles for all sorts of themes in children's literature, as well as wonderful profiles of children's and young adult authors.

The Children's Literature Web Guide
Visit this helpful site for information about authors, titles, award-winning books, resources for teachers, children's literature online discussion groups, and much more.

Coretta Scott King Award
This award is presented annually to "authors and illustrators of African descent whose distinguished books promote an understanding and appreciation of the 'American Dream'."

Library of Congress Online Catalog
This catalog includes detailed bibliographic records for more than 110 million items, in many languages, held at the Library of Congress. (This resource is used by researchers around the world. "Peak usage" days/times are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10:00am to 2:00pm. Therefore, plan your use of this catalog accordingly.)

Margaret A. Edwards Award
The Margaret A. Edwards Award was established in 1988, and honors an author's lifetime achievement for his or her body of work, and its collective popularity over time.

National Book Award
This important literary prize, first awarded in 1950, recognizes "books of exceptional merit written by Americans" in four genres: fiction, nonfiction, poetry and young people's literature.
National Book Foundation Home Page

NOBLE Web Catalog
Search the North of Boston Library Exchange (NOBLE) online catalog to locate books, videos, and other materials at the Salem Public Library, as well as at 26 other public and college libraries.

NoveList (You'll need a User ID and Password to access this database.)
NoveList is an outstanding resource through which readers can learn about books and authors. This searchable database includes information, including descriptions, suggested reading levels, reviews from high quality magazines and journals, and links to related full-text articles and author web sites, about picture books, children's chapter books, young adult novels, and books for adult readers. NoveList is updated monthly, and adds about 10,000 new fiction records, along with descriptions, reviews, and other information, to the database each year.

Pulitzer Prize Awards: History
Pulitzer Prizes Home Page

Reading Rants! Out of the Ordinary Teen Booklists!
Visit this site, created for teens, to find a terrific collection of booklists organized by subject. Examples of reading lists currently available include: "Boy Meets Book"; "Coolest Classics"; "Fanging Around: Teen Vampire Fiction with Byte"; "Historical Fiction for Hipsters: Stories from the Past That Won't Make You Snore"; "Short Cuts: Teen Short Story Collections You Might Actually Want to Read"; and "Word UP! Poetry Both by and for Teenagers."

The Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction
Established in 1982 by this fine author to encourage other writers to focus on historical fiction, the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction is given annually to "a meritorious book published in the previous year for children or young adults."


ALEX Awards
The ALEX Awards are named for Margaret Alexander Edward, who worked for many years as a young adult specialist at Baltimore's Enoch Pratt Library. They are given each year to ten well-written, readable books written for adults, selected from genres that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18.

Best Books for Young Adults
Best Books for Young Adults includes "significant adult and young adult" fiction and nonfiction books selected from the current year's publications and recommended for young adult readers ages 12 through 18.

The Caldecott Medal Home Page
Named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott, the Caldecott Medal has been awarded annually since 1938 to "the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children." This site also features a complete list of all Caldecott Medal winners and honor books from 1938 to the present.

Graphic Novels for Librarians: A Guide
This site, created by librarian Susan Salpini, features lots of helpful information about graphic novels, including an explanation of Manga (done primarily in black and white, these graphic novels are usually first published in weekly or monthly magazines, with a particular audience in mind), as well as tips on cataloging, a glossary, and an extensive bibilography.

Guys Read
This "web-based literacy program", created by author Jon Scieszka to help boys find books they will enjoy, features a searchable (readers can search by author, title, or subject in which they are interested) database of titles for "young guys", "middle guys", and "older guys", as well as links to many author web sites.

The Newbery Medal Home Page
Named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery, the Newbery Medal is awarded annually by the American Library Association's Association for Library Service to Children to the author of "the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children."

The Printz Award
The Michael L. Printz Award honors a work of fiction, nonfiction, poetry or an anthology that "exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature."

China and East Indies Trade

This recommended reading list is under construction!

Industrial Growth in the Antebellum North

(Whenever possible, a review is included with each featured title. Remember to check back often, as these recommended reading lists will be updated.)

The Bobbin Girl, by Emily Arnold McCully (Dial Books for Young Readers, 1996)
A ten-year-old bobbin girl working in a textile mill in Lowell, Massachusetts, in the 1830s, must make a difficult decision - will she participate in the first workers' strike in Lowell? (Lexile - 600)

Publishers Weekly Review: Caldecott Medalist McCully (Mirette on the High Wire) spins an engrossing, fact-based tale with feminism and fair labor practices at its heart. Ten-year-old Rebecca supplements her family's meager income by toiling as a "bobbin girl" in 1830s New England. She is one of the thousands of girls and women who endure 131/2-hour days in the stuffy textile mills of Lowell, Mass., the City of Spindles. Rebecca sees first-hand the courage of her co-workers, who all share a dream of building a better life with the money they earn. She also observes the illnesses, injuries and anxiety caused by the harsh conditions and callous mill owners. When a decrease in wages is announced, the mill girls rally to stage a "turn out" (strike) and protest their predicament. McCully deftly weaves feminist themes into her spirited text, and her meaty author's note places her story in context. Her characters speak of self-reliance and education; they read and attend lectures whenever possible. The courage and ambition these role models inspire in Rebecca are palpable. Rough-edged watercolors, frequently awash in gray light, convey the often oppressive mood of an industrial town of the time. The shawled and bonneted women and an abundance of other period details add further historical depth. Ages 6-9.

City of Light, by Lauren Belfer (Dial Press, 1999)
The exploitation of Niagra Falls to generate electricity leads to a murder involving members of Buffalo's ruling class. The heroine is a high-society school teacher who investigates and through her eyes is seen the conflict between industrialists and environmentalists of the day. A first novel.

Lyddie, by Katherine Paterson (Puffin Books, 1992)
Impoverished Vermont farm girl Lyddie Worthen is determined to gain her independence by becoming a factory worker in Lowell, Massachusetts in the 1840s. (Lexile - 860)

Miss Bridie Chose a Shovel, by Leslie Connor, illustrated by Mary Azarian (Houghton Mifflin, 2004)
Miss Bridie emigrates to America in 1856 and chooses to bring a shovel, which proves to be a useful tool throughout her life.

School Library Journal review:
School Library Journal Review: PreS-Gr 3–Instead of a pretty keepsake as a reminder of her homeland, the practical Miss Bridie selects a shovel to accompany her to a new life in America in 1856. Once in New York City, she uses it to plant flowers, which she sells to supplement her income from the millinery shop where she works. The implement is employed in a variety of ways over her lifetime, including clearing a pond for ice skating, digging postholes for fences on the farm she shares with her new husband, planting seeds for an apple orchard, and adding coal to the stove to keep her children warm. Azarian's accomplished woodcuts and watercolor illustrations adroitly convey the determination of a strong woman who lives a good, but often not easy, life. Through one or two sentences per page, the story shows her fortitude as she experiences the highs and lows of life, confident in the knowledge that, with her shovel, she can succeed at anything through her own ingenuity and hard work.–Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI (Reviewed May 1, 2004) (School Library Journal, vol 50, issue 5, p108)

So Far From Home: the Diary of Mary Driscoll, an Irish Mill Girl, Lowell, Massachusetts, 1847, by Barry Denenberg (from the Dear America series, Scholastic, 1997)
In the diary account of her journey from Ireland in 1847 and of her work in a mill in Lowell, Massachusetts, fourteen-year-old Mary reveals a great longing for her family. (Lexile - 710)

Warp & Weft, by Edward J. Delaney (Permanent Press, 2004)

Zellie Blake: Lowell, Massachusetts, 1834, by Kathleen Duey (from the American Diaries series, Aladdin Paperbacks, 2002)
Zellie is unhappy working for Mrs. Gird. A happy turn of events leads her to employment and a new life with Miss O'Brien.

School Library Journal review:
Grade 4-6-Zellie, orphaned and homeless, goes to Lowell to seek work. Unable to get a job in one of the mills because she is African American, she finds work as a domestic at one of the boarding houses for the mill girls. The book opens and closes with short entries from her diary, and in between chronicles her crisis of conscience. Mrs. Gird has asked Zellie to spy on the boarders, as they are preparing to walk off the job in an attempt to stop a threatened reduction in their wages. Zellie's sympathies are with the girls, but she desperately needs her job, and has no references that would help her find work elsewhere. Remembering the things she has learned from her grandmother, she finds her own way through the conflicting sides to a safe haven and a real home. Descriptions of daily life and chores and of the newly industrialized city of Lowell provide a sense of time and place without overwhelming readers. The plot moves along briskly, and the coincidences that occasionally drive it are believable. Zellie is a 12-year-old with spirit and intelligence, and though there is little development of other characters, the people she interacts with are more than stereotypes. Entertaining historical fiction.
Elaine Fort Weischedel, Franklin Public Library, MA
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

To learn more about the author, visit Kathleen Duey...Books for Children and Young Adults:

Recommended Nonfiction

Never Done: a History of American Housework, by Susan Strasser (Pantheon, 1982)