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HY 441: Research Seminar: Slavery in the United States: Finding Books

Interlibrary Loan

If the book you need is not owned by the Library, we can request it for you from another library. Go to the Interlibrary Loan page for information on registering for an ILL account, requesting materials, and fees.


To find books and government documents in USA Libraries' collections, use SOUTHcat: USA Libraries' Catalog.

  • Catalog tips and tricks:
    • Keyword searches – use quotation marks to hold phrases together ("southern states")
    • Truncation – use ? after the root of a word to find all its variants (slave? finds slave, slavery, slave-trade)
    • Browse the Subject(s) field in records to find the right words for searches. (Example: Try doing a keyword search for "American slavery," then look at the subject(s) field in several records. You’ll see that the subject term is "Slavery--United States." Click the subject heading to find more records with this subject.)
  • Revise and refine your searches.
  • Watch for repeating call numbers and browse stacks in that area.
  • Pay attention to the Location and Status fields. You will need this information to locate the item in the library.

Suggested Search Terms

Below are some suggested search terms to use when searching the SOUTHcat catalog or library databases. Search techniques may vary with each databases, so look at help screens or ask a librarian for suggestions about using quotation marks and truncation symbols.

Leave out the word "and" when doing a keyword search on SOUTHcat, since this is automatically added if the phrase is not in quotes. Put phrases in quotation marks to search as a phrase. Use ? as a truncation or wildcard symbol in the catalog.

Keyword (AND with relevance)

"african american?" "politics and government " "19th century"
"african american?" education "19th century"
 "african american?" "social conditions" history
agricultur? south?
freedmen "personal narratives"
slavery south?
south? history "19th century"
south? "social conditions" history
south? "social conditions" "19th century"
"southern states" "politics and government"
"southern states" "race relations"
"southern states" autobiography
"united states" history "19th century"
women "southern states" history

Advanced Boolean Search

(slaves or freedmen) and social and (life? or condition?)
women and "southern states" and (diar? or correspondence or narrative?)

LC Subject Headings

Feminism--United States--History--19th century
slave narratives
slaves' writings, American
Racism --United States --History --Sources

Selected Print Titles

Electronic Books Collections

The USA Libraries subscribe to several subscription e-book collections. These collections tend to focus on a specific discipline or field of study in their coverage.

Selected E-Books

Search Google Books

Part of Google's library-scanning project. Only books in the public domain are shown in full text. Others may have just a citation or show selected pages from the book. Remember, you can check SOUTHcat to see if we have a book you find in Google Books if the full text is not available.

Google Book Search

More SOUTHcat Resources