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American Church History

This guide lists encyclopedia and bibliographic resources for the study of American church history, including both Catholicism and Protestant denominations.

Theological Research Guides & Bibliographies

Bradley, James E. and Richard A. Muller. Church History: An Introduction to Research Methods and Resources. 2nd ed.  Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2016.
     Ref. BR138.B69 2016 and Online
See pp. 106 for a (very) brief discussion of primary sources and pp. 250-259 for a partially annotated bibliography of reference titles many of which are not listed in this web guide.

Fraker, Anne T., ed. Religion and American Life: Resources. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1989.
     BL2525.R43 1989
A now somewhat dated, selective, annotated bibliography of books (including reference works and monographs) and articles deemed of particular significance for the question of religion's influence on American life. Especially valuable for the lengthy annotations. See also the "Introduction" for a discussion of this bibliography in relation to other similar bibliographies, many of which are included in this web guide.

Johnston, William M. Recent Reference Books in Religion: A Guide for Students, Scholars, Researchers, Buyers & Readers. Rev. ed. Chicago and London: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1998.
     Ref. BL48.J654 1998.
See pp. 112-130 (passim) for interesting discussion of general theological reference works which include coverage of North America, selected denomination resources are discussed on pp. 153-155, and fourteen recently published reference works focusing specifically on religion in North America are discussed on pp. 190-200. Overall, the emphasis is on titles published after 1970.

Kepple, Robert J. and John R. Muether. Reference Works for Theological Research. 3rd ed. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1991.
     Ref. BR118.R44 1991
The following sections list and annotate bibliographies of particular relevance: Ch. 4, pp. 20-22, “Religious/Theological Handbooks and Directories” (American); Ch. 5, p 26, "Directories of Universities, Colleges, and Libraries" (American Libraries); Ch. 6, pp. 29-31, "Biographical Sources" (American); Ch. 9, "U.S.A. Bibliography;" Ch. 11, pp. 57-59, "Periodical Indexes: General Coverage (American); Ch. 31, "American Church History"

McCabe, James Patrick. Critical Guide to Catholic Reference Books. 3rd ed. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited, Inc., 1989.
     Ref. BX1751.2.M3 1989
The following sections list and annotate bibliographies particular relevance: Ch. 1, pp. 44-47, "General Works" (Biography/American); Ch. 4, pp. 193-196, "Social Sciences" (Statistics/National Yearbooks and Directories/America); Ch. 5, "American Church History.”

Sandeen, Ernest R. and Frederick Hale. American Religion and Philosophy: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1978.
     BR515.S3 1978
A now out-of-date but still useful reference bibliography of secondary and key primary documents relating to all aspects of American religious and philosophical history; intended as a supplement and updating of Nelson Burr's Critical Bibliography of Religion in America (see below under Bibliographies--Miscellaneous). Particularly valuable for the evaluative (and not simply descriptive) annotations.


Historical Research Guides and Bibliographies

Blazek, Ron and Anna H. Perrault. United States History: a Multicultural, Interdisciplinary Guide to Information Sources.. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited, Inc., 2003.
     E178.P47 2003
The section on "Religion" (pp. 457-476) offers fuller annotations for many of the main reference sources on this web guide.

Norton, Mary Beth, general editor and Pamela Gerardi, associate editor. The American Historical Association's Guide to Historical Literature. 3rd ed. 2 vols. New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995.
     D20.A55 1995
Each chapter begins with a brief essay followed by an classified, annotated bibliography "of the finest and most useful books and articles available in every field of historical scholarship" (from the Introduction). Several chapters on American history in vol. 2.

Parish, Peter, J., ed. Reader’s Guide to American History. London and Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1997.
     E178.R43 1997
A collection of about 600 essays on books deemed of special significance and relating to a variety of topics on American history. Each entry begins with a list of books to be discussed. A “Thematic List” of entries begins on p. xxi; categories include periods of American history; political, economic, and social history; and specific topics (see topics under “Religion” on p. xxxiii.

Slavens, Thomas P. Sources of Information for Historical Research. New York and London: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc., 1994.
     D20.S64 1994
Annotated bibliography of historical sources not limited to U.S. or American history, especially valuable for arrangement by Library of Congress classification system and the inclusion with each annotation of one or more subject headings for the item annotated.