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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.


Benowitz, June Melby. Encyclopedia of American Women and Religion. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 1998.
     Ref. BL2525.B45 1998

Burgess, Stanley M. and Gary B. McGee, eds. New International Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements. Rev. and expanded ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002.
     Ref. BR1644.D53 2002
Coverage is international but a significant proportion is devoted to North America.

Cayton, Mary Kupiec and Peter W. Williams, eds. Encyclopedia of American Cultural and Intellectual History. 3 vols. New York: Scribner, 2001. E169.1.E624 2001 and Online

_____. Encyclopedia of American Social History. 3 vols. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1993.
     Ref. HN57.E58 1993 and Online
This and the previous title above are not specifically oriented toward religion but contain much relevant material for the study of American religion. Both use the extended “reference essay” format rather than the standard encyclopedia format.

Djupe, Paul and Laura R. Olson, eds.  Encyclopedia of American Religion and Politics.  New York, NY: Facts on File, 2003. 

     Ref. BL2525.D58 2003

Fahlbusch, Erwin et al, eds. The Encyclopedia of Christianity. 5 vols. (in progress) Grand Rapids MI: Eerdmans Publishing Co. and Leiden: Brill, 1999.
     Ref. BR95.E8913 1999
English language translation and revision of Evangelisches Kirchenlexikon (Reference BR95.E89); coverage is global but with many articles of interest to a North American audience added to the English edition

Glazier, Stephen D., ed.  Encyclopedia of African and African-American Religions.  New York, NY: Routledge, 2001.  Ref. BL2462.5.E53 2001

Hill, Samuel S., ed. Encyclopedia of Religion in the South. 2nd ed. rev.  Mercer University Press, 2005.
     Ref. BR535.E52 2005

Kostlevy, William C., ed. Historical Dictionary of the Holiness Movement. 2nd ed. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2009.

Krapohl, Robert H. and Charles H. Lippy, eds. The Evangelicals: a historical, thematic, and biographical guide. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1999.
     Ref. BV3773.K73 1999

Kurian, George Thomas and Mark A. Lamport, eds.  Encyclopedia of Christianity in the United States.  5 vols.  Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2016.
     Ref. BR515 .E52 2016

Laderman, Gary and Luis Leon, eds.  Religion and American Cultures: an Encyclopedia of Traditions, Diversity, and Popular Expressions.  3 vols.  Santa Barbara, CA:  ABC-CLIO, 2003.  Ref. BL2525.R448 2003

Lippy, Charles H. and Peter W. Williams, eds. Encyclopedia of the American Religious Experience: Studies of Traditions and Movements. 3 vols. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1988.
     Ref. BL2525.E53 1988
Not a true encyclopedia but a series of “reference essays.”

McClymond, Michael, ed.  Encyclopedia of Religious Revivals in America.  2 vols.  Westport, CT:  Greenwood Publishing, 2007.                          Ref. BV3773.E53 2007

McGinn, Bernard, John J. Collins, and Stephen J. Stein, eds. The Encyclopedia of Apocalypticism. 3 vols. New York: Continuum, 1998.
     BL501.E53 1998
Another collection of topical essays; vol. 3, “Apocalypticism in the Modern Period and the Contemporary Age,” has several articles of relevance for American religious history.

Melton, J. Gordon. Encyclopedia of American Religions. 7th ed. Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 2003.

_____. Encyclopedia of American Religions: Religious Creeds. 2 vols. Detroit, MI: Gale Research Company, 1988, 1994.
     Ref. BT990.E58 1988

_____. Encyclopedic Handbook of Cults in America. Revised and updated edition. New York and London: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1992.
     BL2525.M45 1992

Melton, J. Gordon, Phillip Charles Lucas, Jon R. Stone. Prime-Time Religion: An Encyclopedia of Religious Broadcasting. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press, 1997.
     Ref. BV656.M45 1997

Murphy, Larry G., J. Gordon Melton, and Gary L. Ward. Encyclopedia of African American Religions. New York and London: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1993.
     Ref. BR563.N4E53 1993

Queen II, Edward L., Stephen R. Prothero and Gardiner H. Shattuck, Jr. , eds. The Encyclopedia of American Religious History. Rev. ed. 2 vols. New York: Facts on File, Inc., 2001.
     Ref. BL2525.Q44 2001

Reid, Daniel G., ed. Dictionary of Christianity in America. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 1990.
     Ref. BR515.D53 1990

Schultz, Jeffrey D., John G. West, Jr., and Iain Maclean, eds. Encyclopedia of Religion in American Politics. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press, 1999.
     Ref. BL2525.E52 1999

Shriver, George H., ed. Dictionary of Heresy Trials in American Christianity. Westport, CT; London: Greenwood Press.
     BR517.D5 1997

Shriver, George H. And Bill J. Leonard, eds. Encyclopedia of Religious Controversies in the United States. Westport, CT; London: Greenwood Press, 1997.
    BR515.E53 1997

Swatos, William H., ed. Encyclopedia of Religion and Society. Walnut Creek, London, New Delhi: Altamira Press, 1998.
     Ref. BL60.E53 1998 and Online

Williamson, William B. An Encyclopedia of Religions in the United States: One Hundred Religious Groups Speak for Themselves. New York: Crossroad, 1992.
     BL2520.E53 1992

Wuthnow, Robert, ed. Encyclopedia of Politics and Religion. 2 vols. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Inc., 1998.
     Ref. BL65.P7 E53 1998