Franklin &  Marshall College Library

RST 178: Religion, the Beats, and Postwar America

Secondary sources - Encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks and bibliographies

Secondary sources are informational resources written by individuals who were not the actual participants in the topic at hand. They may be of value to your research since they often provide greater objectivity and different perspectives as a result of the passage of time. Common secondary sources include encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, and bibliographies.
Encyclopedia of Religion
Ref Room BL31 .E46 1986 or 2nd Edition
Now in its second edition (2006), the most comprehensive reference source treating the full spectrum of religious studies. Articles are cross referenced. Contains a thirty-one page synoptic outline and a voluminous detailed index.

Religion and American Cultures
Ref Room BL2525 .R448 2003
This two volume encyclopedia has over 200 article length entries divided into two groups. Volume One covers specific religions while Volume Two deals with topics and trends in comparative religious perspective. There is a third volume comprised of bibliographies and indices.

American Culture After World War II
Ref Room E169.12 .A418 1994
A volume in the series Twentieth Century Culture, this work covers influential American art, music, literature, drama, dance, media - and their creators. An encyclopedic dictionary, it has a topical table of contents and a timeline of important cultural landmarks. Contains bibliographies and index.

American Decades: 1950-1959
Ref Room E169.12 .A419 1994 V.6
Each volume in this series contains chronologies of world and national events, snippets of headline news, brief biographies and essays. The essays in this particular volume deal with topics such as school desegregation, social theory, rock and roll, escalation of the Vietnam War, and the women's liberation movement. The pages are peppered with excerpts from historical texts and black-and-white photographs. A good source for research topic selection. Contains bibliographies and index.

Encyclopedia of Contemporary American Culture
Ref Room E169.12 .E49 2001
This single volume encyclopedic dictionary can serve as a guide to the complex, dynamic stew of US culture as it evolved in the twentieth century. A thematic entry list classifies cross referenced articles according to 35 broad topics. Contains bibliographies and index.

The Fifties in America
Ref Room E169.12 .F498 2005
Designed for general readers, this two volume set surveys the key events and the people who shaped them in the United States and Canada during the 1950's. There are over 600 entries. Most entries are ended by a summary paragraph regarding their "impact." Includes bibliographies and index.

The Beats: Literary Bohemians in Postwar America and The Beats: A Documentary Volume
Ref Room PN 451 .D5 V.16 and V.237
Both these titles are biographical dictionaries and are part of the prestigious Dictionary of Literary Biography series published by Gale Research. They provide rich overviews of both personalities and issues that personified the era in which the Beat generation evolved. These volumes include photographs and chapter bibliographies.

In Their Own Words
Ref Room PS225 .Z4M39 2002
This bibliography provides access to 8,500 interviews culled from literary journals, magazines, and newspapers. Arrangement is alphabetical by writer, then chronological. Appendixes include book-length collections of interviews, and a list of authors interviewing other authors.

The Beat Generation: a Gale Critical Companion
Ref Room PS228 .86Z68 2003
This three volume resource reprints primary sources and critical essays. It offers chronologies, sidebars, numerous photographs, and lists of readings. The "Topics" volume contains a subject index.

Literary Index
An online index to various reference sources published by the Thomson-Gale Publishing Group, this resource combines and cross-references over 159,000 author names, including pseudonyms and variant names, as well as listings for over 210,000 titles.

How to find books

  • Select "Library Catalog" from the Library home page. In finding books for this class use either an author's name or "beat generation" or "modernism (literature) United States" as a subject search.
  • Look at the subject headings for a book that meets your needs. Select those subject headings to find other books that are described the same way and might also be useful.
  • Go to the call number locations of those books both in the stacks and the reference room. Similar books will be nearby. Use the books' indices to further mine their contents.

Browse magazines and journals from the 1950's

How to find and locate journal articles

Scroll within the "A - Z List of Resources" on the Library homepage to find selections most helpful for your topic, some of which are...

A collection of full text articles in .pdf format from the back files of over 200 scholarly journals, many dating from the nineteenth-century to within the last 4 or 5 years.

Humanities Full Text
Indexes over 300 English-language periodicals covering classical studies, history, literature, performing arts, philosophy, and related fields. Covers 1984 to the present..

MLA Bibliography
A comprehensive index of articles, book chapters and essays in literature, languages, and folklore.

America: History and Life
Provides a comprehensive bibliography of articles on the history and culture of the United States and Canada, from prehistory to present. Covers 1964 to the present.

Once you have a specific journal title, go to "Journals at F&M" on the library homepage and type in the title.

How to find information on the World Wide Web

The World Wide Web can be a helpful environment in which to access scholarly information but because it is an unmediated matrix it is advisable to start one's exploration of it at bona fide sites.

The Beat Generation and the Sixties: a guide to web resources
Created by a librarian at the University of Adelaide, this site contains annotated links to resources on the world wide web which provide rich detail on individual authors and issues of the 60's and 70's.

Larry Keenan
Visual imagery and photographic content is helpful for an understanding of postwar America. this site serves as a resource for gaining a sense of the ambiance surrounding people and events of this era.

The Beat Generation Archives
This site provides reviews of books, audio and videos dealing with the Beat Generation..

How to...

  • Evaluate web pages and books & articles. Cite web pages and books & articles. Avoid plagiarism.
  • Last updated: 8/22/07 mg contact Marty Gordon for further assistance