Writing Resources for Historians
These links and books will help you with specific aspects of historical research and writing.
History Department Style Sheet
Unless your professor specifies another style guide, use this style sheet for papers in history courses.
Online guides for writing research papers
- Writing A Good History Paper (Hamilton College)
- Reading, Writing and Researching for History: A Guide for College Students, by Patrick Rael (Bowdoin College)
- Richardson's Rules of Order: Tips for Writing Research Papers for a College History Course by Heather Cox Richardson
How to read articles, books, and primary sources
- How to Read a Secondary Source (PDF), by Patrick Rael (Bowdoin College) - see above for the entire document
- How to Read a Primary Source (PDF), by Patrick Rael (Bowdoin College - see above for the entire document
- A Student's Guide: How to Read a History Assignment, by Steven Kreis (Historyguide.org)
Online guides to style and grammar
Online guides to argumentation
Arguments, concepts, and philosophical terms by Jim Pryor, Princeton University (intended for philosophers, but the section on arguments is useful for history students)
Online Reference Works for Writers
- Silva Rhetoricae: The Forest of Rhetoric - guide to classical rhetoric, including general concepts and a nearly exhaustive list of figures of speech
- Oxford English Dictionary - the historical dictionary of the English language (access restricted to UMass campus community)
Writing Resources at UMass
- Professional Writing and Technical Communication Program, including the Writing Center
- History Department guidelines for Junior Writing Seminars
Writing Centers at other colleges and universities
- Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL)
- Harvard University Expository Writing Program
- Hamilton College Writing Resources
Plagiarism - What it is and how to avoid it
- The university's official policy on academic honesty is contained in the Code of Student Conduct booklet
- http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/pamphlets/plagiarism.shtml -- Indiana University
Some useful books on writing and reading
- Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams. The craft of research. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995. ISBN 0-226-06584-7. An excellent guide to research from the perspective of rhetoric; treats research and writing as mutually interacting activities.
- Mann, Thomas. The Oxford guide to library research. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. ISBN 0-195-12313-1. User’s manual for the academic library.
- McCoy, F. N. Researching and writing in history: A practical handbook for students. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1974. ISBN 0-520-02621-7. A useful handbook for the beginning researcher. Some of the specific techniques are out of date (cf. Mann), but the book as a whole provides an overview of what goes into research, with more specific tips for historians than Booth, Colomb, and Williams.
- Rampolla, Mary Lynn. A Pocket Guide to Writing in History. 8th Ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's Press, 2015. A concise guide outlining the finer details of research and writing for college history courses.
- Turabian, Kate. A manual for writers of term papers, theses, and dissertations. 6th ed. Revised by John Grossman and Alice Bennett. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996. The nuts and bolts of formatting papers, writing footnotes, using abbreviations, etc. Some courses may require that your papers be formatted according to Turabian.
- Williams, Joseph M. Style: Toward clarity and grace. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990. ISBN 0-226-89915-2. An excellent guide to improving your writing style. The textbook edition, published by Longman, has useful exercises but omits the detailed discussion of coherence that the Chicago edition contains.
Online Resources for Historians
This section is intended only as an entry to the wide range of historical material online and to provide links of local interest. See the first few items for more comprehensive history web guides. If a link no longer works, please inform the webmaster.
- History News Network, Center for History and New Media, George Mason University
- Index of Resources for History, University of Kansas
- WWW Services for Historians, AHC
- Edsitement: The Best of Humanities on the Web, National Endowment for the Humanities, the Council of Great City Schools, MCI Communications Corp., National Trust for the Humanities
- H-Net: Humanities & Social Sciences Online (includes discussion lists and job postings)
- Links to History Departments Elsewhere, George Mason University
Resources for writing history
- Now on a separate history writing page.
Sampling of Archival Resources
- American Memory Project, Library of Congress
- Digital Classroom, National Archives and Records Administration
- Five Colleges Digital Archive Project (particularly focused on women's history), Five Colleges, Inc.
- The Making of America: Primary Sources in American Social History, University of Michigan
- The Making of America (Cornell University contributions) - digitized 19th-century books and magazines
- New Deal Network (FDR and Depression Era Programs), The Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute
- Online Exhibit Hall, National Archives and Records Administration
- The Perseus Project: Exploring the Ancient World, Classics Department, Tufts University
- United States Federal Court System & Decisions, Guide to Law Online, Library of Congress
- Virtual Exhibits, Ministry of Culture and Communication, France
Cartographic and Demographic Resources
- UMass Map Library (including digitized maps and GIS data)
- Map Libraries on the World Wide Web, University of Minnesota
- U.S. Historical Map Collection, University of Texas
- U.S. Census Data, U.S. Census Bureau
- Online Data Archive: Social Science Research Datasets, Data & Program Library Service, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Curriculum Development Ideas (syllabi, projects, etc.)
- History Matters: Teaching the U.S. History Survey Course, American Social History Project/ Center for Media and Learning, City University of New York, Center for History and New Media/George Mason University
Local Historical Organizations
- Historic Deerfield
- Historic Northampton
- Wistariahurst Museum, Holyoke
- Old Sturbridge Village
- Hancock Shaker Village
- Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association (including digital museum)
- Memorial Hall Museum Online: American Centuries...view from New England
- Valley Women's History Collaborative
Local Academic Programs and Departments
- Amherst College Department of History
- Hampshire College
- Mount Holyoke College Department of History
- Smith College Department of History
- Five College Center for Crossroads in the Study of the Americas
- Institute for Curatorial Practice, Hampshire College
- Warring States project, UMass Amherst
- Medieval Studies at UMass
Professional Organizations & Electronic Journals
- American Historical Association
- American Historical Review
- Organization of American Historians
- Journal of American History
- The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations
- Diplomatic History
- JSTOR (Journal storage project) - NOTE: off-campus users need their OITUnix account and password to connect to JSTOR