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CRWR 24009: Advanced Nonfiction Workshop: Writing Lives

Travel guides

Travel guides can be a rich source of information about a locale, especially during a specific time period (How much did it cost to...?). To find them in the library catalog, look for the subject word guidebooks and the name of the place, e.g., Texas guidebooks.

Texas guidebooks search


Maps & atlases


"How do I find films" will help you find specific films, while the Cinema and Media Studies guide will help you find background material on films, including reviews. "How do I find music..." will help you find specific music recordings, while the Music guide will help you find sheet music and background material on music.

We do have a long run of TV Guide to draw on (1953-2011).

Cooking, clothing, things

While you can get a lot of information from news & magazines, there are some specific sources for such things as cooking, clothing, entertainment and, sometimes, even the "things" of a period.

The subject heading in the catalog for cookbooks is cookery but you'll also want to use cooking. Use the advanced search to search for cookery as a subject and limit by date to find cookbooks from a specific time.

cookery search

You can also search for cookery or cooking and the adjective for a country, e.g., Italian, to look for cookbooks of a particular national cuisine.

For clothing, the subject is clothing and dress and you may choose to add in the century or place in which you're interested, e.g., 20th or Italy -- or both.

Buildings & interiors

Architecture and interior decoration are two import elements. Each of these terms can be combined with the name of a place, e.g., Chicago and a century, e.g., 20th in the subject field to find books specific to your needs. If you're only looking at the pictures, you may not even care what language it's in.

Search for chicago 20th architecture in subject field of library catalog



News & magazines

Look in news & magazines for advertisements and images that will tell you something about what people looked like, wore, wanted (or people wanted them to want) and the types of entertainment they were offered. What sorts of hair-styles did people have? Were ties wide or narrow? Skirts long or short? How did they communicate?


André G. Wenzel's picture
André G. Wenzel
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