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FA 230 - Art of the United States and the Americas


The following guide is intended to provide an overview of some of the resources available in the library and online for the study and research of art, architecture and design resources of North, Central and South America, created from the pre-contact period to the 20th century. For further research assistance, please take advantage of the reference services available to you in the Geisel Library. Stop by the Reference Desk in person or online at Ask a Librarian.


Resources for Background and Reference

Reference books are shelved by Library of Congress call number in the reference stacks near the reference desk. They may not be checked out, but photocopiers are available on the lower level of the Library. Online reference sources can be found in the library catalog, or listed on E-Reference Resources. Use reference resources to find background information on religion, social issues, historical periods, and themes being addressed in this course.

Oxford Art Online
This database provides access to the full contents of The Grove Dictionary of Art and The Oxford Companion to Western Art, two highly-regarded multi-volume reference resources in the fine arts. View over 3000 thumbnail art images, conduct keyword searches, or browse the database by geographic area, time period, or art form. This source is particularly useful for researching the biography of an artist.

New Dictionary of the History of Ideas
This fully-searchable reference document encapsulates the thinking of different eras and cultures.

Oxford Reference Online
This collection comprises over one million dictionary definitions, facts, figures, people, places, sayings, and dates from 150+ of Oxford's central English and bilingual dictionaries, usage, quotations, and subject reference books. Important titles for this class include The Oxford Dictionary of American Art and Artists, A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, A Dictionary of Modern Design.

Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture
This revised edition of a five-volume encyclopedia offers a multidisciplinary perspective on the history and culture of Latin America. While many entries are biographical profiles of important figures in Latin American history, others cover topics such as colonialism, missions, tourism, the coffee industry, and popular music and dance.

Print Reference Resources

American Art Analog (for artist biography)
     Ref N6505.A56 (3 volumes)

Encyclopedia of American Architecture
     Ref NA705.P3

Encyclopedia of American Art Before 1914
     Ref N6507.E53

Encyclopedia of Latin American and Caribbean Art
     Ref N6502.E53

MacMillan Encyclopedia of Architects
     Ref NA40.M25 (4 volumes)

Who Was Who in American Art 1564-1975
     Ref N6536 . W56 (3 volumes)

Materials to Assist with Writing the Research Paper

Dictionary of Art Terms
     Ref N33 .L75 2004

A Short Guide to Writing about Art
     Ref N7476 .B37 2003
     Online: Art History Writing Guide

Writing about Art
     Ref N7476 .S29 2002


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Find Books/Secondary Sources

Subject Headings to consider using in the online Catalog (substitute the name of the country or region you are searching):

Keywords to consider using in the online Catalog. Consider combining keywords by using "and".

  • Name of artist or tribal group
  • Name of period (17th century; modern, etc.)
  • Type of artwork: mural, painting, sculpture, building, etc.
  • Geographic area: Andes, New England, etc.
  • Media of the painting, architecture, painting, sculpture (stone, clay, oil paint, etc)
  • Name of museum where painting is located - you may find more information in a museum catalog

If you are unable to locate materials in the Geisel Library Catalog, search libraries worldwide using WorldCat.


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Find Journal Articles

Below are several databases that may yield useful journal articles for your research. Some focus on art and architecture criticism while others will provide historical, theological, and socio-cultural context for your area of study. Try searching on the same keywords that you used in the book catalog. Remember to use Boolean operators and wildcards (the asterisk symbol) to improve your search.

In the results screen, if there is no full-text link readily available, click on the WebBridge icon to determine whether the journal is available in the Geisel Library or in full-text via another electronic database. If the article isn't available, consider clicking on the Interlibrary Loan link to request a PDF copy of the article from another library. Articles requested via ILL will be delivered to your email inbox within about a week. Please read the WebBridge info carefully. If the book or article is already available at Saint Anselm College, you will not be able to obtain it through Interlibrary Loan.

Academic Search Premier
Gain access to full-text articles and citations from a wide range of journal titles, covering the arts and more.

America: History and Life
The best place to start for topics involving North American history. Be sure to use the Historical Period From/To limiter (down below the full text limiter checkboxes) to specify your time period of interest.

Early American Newspapers, 1690-1876
This searchable database provides cover-to-cover text from hundreds of historic American newspapers. This includes 37 from New Hampshire, such as the Farmer's Cabinet (1802-1879), Freeman's Journal (1776-1778), New Hampshire Gazette (1756-1831), and New Hampshire Sentinel (1799-1847).

LexisNexis Academic
Find full-text newspaper articles from local, national and international papers. Gain access to full-text general reference information as well.

New York Times
"The New York Times (1851-2003) offers full page and article images with searchable full text back to the first issue. The collection includes digital reproductions providing access to every page from every available issue."

Times of London
The digital archive of 200 years of London's leading newspaper (1785-1985). The collection includes full page images with fully searchable text.

A large collection of back issues of major journals in the humanities and social sciences, including the Arts. Coverage is generally from the beginning of publication to within 5 years of the current issue.

Project MUSE
"Project MUSE provides online, worldwide, institutional subscription access to the full text of more than 200 scholarly journals in arts and humanities, social sciences, and mathematics."    Journal List


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Find Images

Connect to ARTstor to access a half -million images and related text. These images can be printed for use in your paper, or included in PowerPoint demonstrations. Ask a Reference Librarian if you require assistance using ARTstor.

Images are also available from JSTOR, Oxford Art Online, and Google Images.


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Selected Websites

American Memory (Library of Congress)

Making of America (Cornell University)

Making of America (Univ. of Michigan)

Metropolitan Museum of Art History Timeline

Voice of the Shuttle


Art Museum of the Americas

Currier Museum of Art

The Heard Museum

Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

El Museo Del Barrio

National Gallery of Art

National Museum of Mexican Art

National Museum of the American Indian

Yale University Art Gallery


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Citing Sources

See the library's Citing Sources guide for resources on how to properly cite research materials. Always confirm the style required by your instructor.


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