ENG 226: Literature in America I

Professor Nancy Teel

Henry David Thoreau

This guide is designed to help you research writers in America topics. It includes an index of scholarly sources that should be used. Included in the list are websites and search engines that will be helpful in your research. If you have any trouble finding these sources, please ask a librarian for help. Good Luck! Any comments or suggestions are welcome!
  • RCC Library Home Page: Most materials found in this research guide are available at the library's home page.
  • William Hoag: Please contact me if you have any questions concerning this guide or research.



The on-line catalog provides access to the Library's collection of approximately 40,000 books, periodicals and audio-visual titles. These resources may be used to find information for assignments or general interest.
Tutorial for searching catalog and ordering books from Metro Boston Library Network (includes Boston Public Library)

Good Search Terms to use: words or phrase

Use specific title or author when searching, example 1: "Emerson and literary criticism", example 2. "Nature and literary criticism". We have whole books in our collection dedicated to literary criticism of specific authors or books. You can also use a subject search such as "Ralph Emerson"

American History
  • American history
  • Colonial period
  • Early American history
  • Transcendentalism
  • Frederick Douglass
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Margaret Fuller
  • Herman Melville
  • Henry David Thoreau
  • Sojourner Truth


The Cambridge Introduction to Herman Melville: PS2386 .H35 2007

My Soul Has Grown Deep : classics of early African-American literature: PS508.N3 M9 2002

The American Transcendentalists : essential writings: PS541 .A667 2006

Reference Books

American Writers; a collection of literary biographies, New York, Scribner, 1974. Ref. PS129 .A55
Guide to American literature from its beginnings through Walt Whitman, New York : Barnes & Noble Books, 1976. Ref. PS92 .C33
The Oxford Companion to American Literature, New York : Oxford University Press, 1995. Ref. PS21 .H3 1995

Benét's Reader's Encyclopedia of American Literature, New York, NY : Harper Collins Publishers, 1991. Ref. PS21 .B46 1991
Continuum Encyclopedia of American Literature, New York : Continuum, 2000. Ref. PS21 .E53 2000

Literary Criticism
African American Literary Criticism, 1773 to 2000, New York : Twayne, 1999. Ref. PS153 .N5 A33 1999


Browse these paper journals and magazines in the library's first floor periodicals section for articles about American literature
  • Use the databases to find articles about early American writers


Access to millions of journal, magazine, newspaper and reference source articles through our research databases.

Literary Reference Center

Literary Reference Centerâ„¢ is a comprehensive database that provides users with a broad spectrum of information on thousands of authors and their works across literary disciplines and timeframes. This is the best place to start.

Literature Resource Center

Find up-to-date biographical information, overviews, full-text literary criticism and reviews on more than 130,000 writers in all disciplines, from all time periods and from around the world. The optional MLA International Bibliography module adds citations for hundreds of thousands of books, articles and dissertations from 1926 to the present, linked to full text where available.

Biography Resource Center

This database contains more than 400,000 biographies on nearly 275,000 people gathered from over 90 reference sources . Good place to find information about authors.

Academic Search Premier

Provides full text for more than 3,800 scholarly publications covering academic areas of study.

American History Online

Spans more than 500 years of political, military, social, and cultural history, highlighting the important people and events of the American experience. Includes timelines, biographies, primary sources and audio/video files

African American Experience

The African American Experience is the definitive electronic research tool for African American history and culture.

Web sites

There are many good American writers web sites on the internet. These web sites have been evaluated by library staff. Remember to always evaluate internet resources. To find out more about evaluating web sites, Lesley University has a very good guide.

Search Engines

Web sites


Selected Authors

Citing Sources: Style Guides

APA Style Tutorial
Duke Library Guide to Assembling a List of Works Cited
Laguardia Community College Library MLA and APA citation styleThe Owl at Purdue: APA Formatting and Style GuideThe Owl at Purdue: MLA 2009 Formatting and Style Guide

Basic Research Help

Please click the Ask a Librarian icon if you have any questions concerning these guides, need help finding material for your research or any general questions you might have.

General Library Information

Research guide prepared on 09/24/08 by Wiliam Hoag: whoag@rcc.mass.edu
Updated on 10/28/12