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HIST 14203: Doing History: Theory and Practice

A guide to library research for students in Professor Burn's class (Spring 2015)

Helpful Websites

Finding Articles About History Textbooks

Below are some databases that are good to search for articles on history textbooks.

Finding Historical Textbooks at the UChicago Library

Finding Textbooks in the Library Catalog

The University of Chicago Library has a limited number of K-12 textbooks in its collections.  But finding these few items can be tricky.  We recommend using the Library Catalog and the following searches:

Under "Begins With" select "Subject".  Enter the field of interest followed by the subject term "textbooks"For example:

History -- Textbooks
Geography -- Textbooks
Spain -- History -- Textbooks

Or, in the advanced keyword search, select "Subject" and enter "Textbooks".  Add additional keywords under "General" or "Title". 

These searches, however, may also retrieve books about textbooks in that field.  Similarly, some catalog records for textbooks may use the subject term "juvenile literature" .  But this search will retrieve any books for children--including those that aren't considered textbooks. 

Collections of Textbooks

Here are a few additional collections of textbooks in the University of Chicago Library:

American Primers Microfilm Collection
Regenstein, 3rd Floor Microforms, Call Number: microfcPE1119.A1A575 1990
This is a collection consisting of 1401 microfiches that includes primers published between 1711 to 1943. The Library Catalog and include individual records for texts included in the set.  For more information, refer to American primers : guide to the microfiche collection, located in the 3rd Floor Reference Collection in Regenstein, Call Number: PE1119.A1A575 1990.

K-12 Curriculum Materials Collection
The collection specializes in curriculum resources and professional development materials for K-12 teaching.  Most items are from 2007-present.  The collection is comprised of materials in a variety of formats, including professional literature, teacher's manuals, DVDs, CD-ROMs, and online databases.

Finding Textbooks at Other Libraries

Use the UBorrow Catalog to locate textbooks at other University libraries in the CIC (Big 10 conference institutions) plus the Center tor Research Libraries (CRL).  CRL's Textbook Collection includes more than 70,000 U.S. textbooks for K-12 in all subject areas published from the 1780s to 1990s, with the bulk of material dating between 1850 and 1970. Some of CRL's textbooks, however, are not cataloged and included in UBorrow. 

19th Century Schoolbooks
Made available by the University of Pittsburgh Library, this site includes a searchable catalog of the 16,000 volumes comprising the Nietz Old Textbook Collection, a full-text collection of 66 schoolbooks and two surveys of historic schoolbooks by John Nietz, the founder of the Collection. Also available are two documents Using Textbooks as a Research Resource: A Bibliography and Textbooks and Schoolbooks: Resources for Scholars and Researchers.

Directory of historical textbook and curriculum collections.
Compiled by the Ad Hoc Historical Textbook and Curriculum Collections Directory Committee, Education and Behavioral Sciences Section, Association of College and Research Libraries.  Located in print at the Regenstein Library, 3rd Floor Reference Collection, Call Number: LB3047 .D57 2005


Newspapers are a great primary source for information about textbook controversies in communities.  Below is our guide to newspapers to help you find the best database for your search.

Librarian Contact

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Rebecca Starkey
she / her - FLI Ally
Head of Research & Instruction Services
Education & Library Science Librarian
Regenstein Library, Room 309