Booth Library
Eastern Illinois University
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HIS 5390: The Civil War Era

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Library Resources
Booth Library has a large collection of learning resources to support the study of the Civil War by undergraduates, graduates and faculty. The materials are held in the reference collection, the main book holdings, the journal collection and the online full-text databases. Books and journal articles from other libraries may be obtained using interlibrary loan.

A list of selected works on Civil War history that are held by the library can be found here
Reference Books
Reference materials help students get started with their research by providing a brief overview of the subject. Types of reference materials include encyclopedias, dictionaries, atlases, and companions. Booth Library has reference materials in print and electronic formats.

Link to reference materials in electronic format here.

Reference books are located on the 3rd floor (north) and can be found by searching the EIU Library Catalog.

Examples of reference books related to Civil War history:
  • Atlas of the Civil War … REF G1201.S5 A85 1994
  • Encyclopedia of the American Civil War ... REF E468.E5 2000
  • Generals in Blue: Lives of the Union Commanders … REF E467.W29
  • Historical Dictionary of Reconstruction … REF E668.T66 1991
Browsing for books on the Civil War
Books in Booth Library are shelved by call number. Browsing for books can help familiarize you with the collection. Books may be borrowed using your Panther Card.

To find books on Civil War history, browse the shelves in these call numbers for the following subject areas:

E 415.6 Collected Works of American Statements
E 433 Slavery Question, 1853-1857
E 436-440.5 Buchanan’s Administration, 1857-1861
E 438 Slavery Question, 1857-1861
E 440.5 State of the Country, November 1860-March 4, 1861
E 441-453 Slavery in the United States, Antislavery Movements
E 456-459 Lincoln’s Administration, 1861- April 15, 1865.
E 456-655 Civil War Period, 1861-1865.
E 461-655 The Civil War, 1861-1865
E 482-489 Confederate States of America.
E 491-586 Armies, Troops
E 591-600 Naval History
E 660 Collected Works of American Statesmen
E 666-670 Johnson’s Administration, April 15, 1865-1869
E 668 Reconstruction, 1865-1877
E 671-680 Grant’s Administration, 1869-1877
Searching the EIU Library Catalog
To find books, ebooks, videos, and other materials held in the library use the EIU Library Catalog

To search the catalog enter search terms in the search box and use the drop box to narrow the search. 

The search results may be narrowed by using the limiting tools on the right hand side of the page.

Click on the item title to bring up the bibliographic record. The item's location, call number, and status are needed to find it in Booth Library.

Article Databases for History

Journal and magazine articles on Civil War History may be found by searching the library's collection of databases. All databases are accessible from off campus by logging-in with your EIU netID and password. Link to the History databases here.

The leading History database for Civil War history is:

America: History and Life (peer reviewed articles, some full-text articles, United States History, Pre-Colonial Era to Present) 

Other databases useful for research for Civil War history are:

Academic Search Complete (full-text articles, broad subject coverage including History)

JSTOR (peer reviewed articles, full-text articles, broad subject coverage including History)

Project Muse (peer reviewed articles, full-text articles, broad subject coverage including History)

Historical Abstracts  (peer reviewed articles, some full-text articles, world history)

Finding Primary Sources
Primary Sources
Primary sources are contemporary documents that are associated with the historical event. Examples of primary sources include diaries, letters, magazine and newspaper articles, court hearings, and government documents. A guide to further information on primary and secondary sources can be found here.

To find primary sources in the print format search use the EIU Library Catalog. Link to the library catalog here.

Examples of primary souces in the Booth Library collection are:
  • Diary of Gideon Welles: Secretary of the Navy under Lincoln and Johnson … Stacks E468.W44
  • Illinois’s War: The Civil War in Documents … Stacks E505 .I46 2013
  • Memoirs of a Soldier, Nurse, and Spy: A Woman’s Adventures in the Union Army ... Stacks E628 .E36 1999
  • Slaves’ War: The Civil War in the Words of Former Slaves … Stacks E464 .W29 2008

Booth Library also has several historical newspaper and magazine databases that provide access to primary sources. Link to the History databases here and the newspaper databases here.

Examples of the library's historical and magazine databases are:

New York Times (Historical) (full-text articles, 1851-2010)

African American Newspapers: The 19th Century (full-text articles, African-American newspapers, 1800`s)

American Periodicals Series Online (full-text articles, American Magazines, 1740`s-early 1900`s)

19th Century UK Periodicals Digital Archive (full-text articles, British magazines, 1800s)

Civil War primary sources may also be found online. A list of useful web sites for primary resources is available here.

Subject Specialist
Picture: Andy Cougill

Andy Cougill
Reference Librarian
Office: 217 581-7548

Picture: Brad Tolppanen

Brad Tolppanen
Head of Circulation Services
Office: 217 581-6006

Reference Desk: 217-581-6072
Email the Reference Desk