Ethnic and Minority Literatures

Many works in sections G: Serial Bibliographies, Indexes, and Abstracts; H: Guides to Dissertations and Theses; L: Genres; and, especially, Q: American Literature/General are important for research in minority and ethnic literatures of the United States.


Histories and Surveys


Di Pietro, Robert J., and Edward Ifkovic, eds. Ethnic Perspectives in American Literature: Selected Essays on the European Contribution. New York: MLA, 1983. 333 pp. PN843.E8 810′.9.

Surveys of Franco-American New England writers and the literatures of Americans of German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Jewish, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Scandinavian, and South Slavic ancestry. Organized chronologically, thematically, or by genre, the essays typically offer a basic historical overview of the development of a literature and of its major authors; some essays briefly comment on important scholarship and suggest topics for research. Indexed by persons and titles. Although the surveys vary in breadth and quality, the collection overall serves as a handy (but dated) introduction to some ethnic literatures of the United States.


Ruoff, A. LaVonne Brown, and Jerry W. Ward, Jr., eds. Redefining American Literary History. New York: MLA, 1990. 406 pp. PS153.M56 R4 810.9′920693.

A collection of essays that seeks to redefine American literary history by “expanding the canon, forging new critical perspectives, and scrutinizing underlying cultural and ideological assumptions” through a focus on African American, American Indian, Asian American, Chicano, and Puerto Rican literature. The essays are organized in three divisions: discussions of “various ways of redefining the American literary canon and its relation to the literatures of minorities and white women”; the oral dimensions of American literature; critical and historical perspectives. Following the essays are selected, annotated bibliographies through 1989—with sections for bibliographies, anthologies, primary works, general criticism, and major authors—of multiethnic, African American, American Indian (superseded by Ruoff, American Indian Literatures [Q3880]), Asian American, Chicano, and Puerto Rican literatures. Concluding the work is a list of selected presses and journals. The lack of an index hampers access, and some of the essays originally prepared for a 1981 convention do not reflect the debate over and changes in the canon since then; however, Redefining American Literary History is an important contribution to the continuing evaluation of the canon of the literature of the United States.

See also

Cambridge History of American Literature (Q3205).

Columbia Literary History of the United States (Q3195).

Literary History of the American West (Q3660).

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism


Miller, Wayne Charles. A Comprehensive Bibliography for the Study of American Minorities. 2 vols. New York: New York UP, 1976. Z1361.E4 M529 [E184.A1] 016.973′04.

Minorities in America: The Annual Bibliography, [1976–78]. 3 vols. University Park: Penn State UP, 1985–86. Annual. Z1361.E4 M57 [E184.A1] 016.973′04.

A bibliography of English-language materials on minority groups in America. The Comprehensive Bibliography covers studies through c. 1973; the Annual Bibliography covers 1976 through 1978. Entries are organized by area of origin (Africa and Middle East, Europe, Eastern Europe and Balkans, Asia, Puerto Rico and Cuba, and America [including Indians and Mexican Americans]), then by minority group, and then by subject. Most groups include sections for language, general literary criticism, fiction, poetry, drama, folklore, and some individual writers. Entries in the annual bibliographies are accompanied by descriptive annotations; although only a few are annotated in the Comprehensive Bibliography, each minority group is preceded by an introduction that identifies important studies and reference works. Two indexes: authors; titles. Although the Comprehensive Bibliography is hardly comprehensive, it—along with the Annual Bibliography—offers the fullest single record of scholarship before 1978 on minority groups in the United States.

See also

“Annual Review,” Journal of Modern Literature (M2780).

Greenwood Guide to American Popular Culture (U6295).

Leary, Articles on American Literature (Q3295).

Ruoff and Ward, Redefining American Literary History (Q3695).

Salzman, American Studies: An Annotated Bibliography (Q3335).



Stuhr-Rommereim, Rebecca. Autobiographies by Americans of Color, 1980–1994: An Annotated Bibliography. Troy: Whitston, 1997. 262 pp. Z5305.U5 S78 [CT220] 016.92.

Iwabuchi, Deborah Stuhr, and Rebecca Stuhr. Autobiographies by Americans of Color, 1995–2000: An Annotated Bibliography. Albany: Whitston, 2003. 565 pp. Z5305.U5 [CT220] 973.049016.

An annotated bibliography of more than 1,100 separately published autobiographies by Americans of color that were printed, reprinted, or digitized between 1980 and 2000. Defining autobiography loosely (to include oral narratives, family histories, and “as told to” accounts), both volumes exclude interviews, dissertations, and journal articles. More than half of the works are by African Americans. Entries, which are organized alphabetically by author (and preceded in 1995–2000 by entries for 21 anthologies), include a bibliographical citation (with references to editions preceding 1980 and later reprints) and a lengthy annotation. Indexed by subject (including ethnic group); the subject indexing is much fuller in 1995–2000. The admirably full annotations (clearly based on an actual reading of the works) and coverage of a number of elusive publications not easily identified in standard catalogs make Autobiographies by Americans of Color the standard resource for identifying recently published autobiographies by ethnic Americans. For earlier works, see Brignano, Black Americans in Autobiography (Q3850) and Brumble, An Annotated Bibliography of American Indian and Eskimo Autobiographies and its supplements (Q3925).

African American Literature

Many works in the other sections on American literature are important to research in African American literature.

Because the Library of Congress subject headings—used in many library catalogs, databases, and printed bibliographies—were until recently inadequate for analyzing African American resources, scholars doing extensive subject searching will find Doris H. Clack, Black Literature Resources: Analysis and Organization (New York: Dekker, 1975; 207 pp.; Books in Lib. and Information Science 16), and Lorene Byron Brown, Subject Headings for African American Materials (Englewood: Libraries Unlimited, 1995; 118 pp.), valuable guides to Library of Congress subject headings and classification numbers in this field.

Guides to Reference Works


The Harvard Guide to African-American History. Ed. Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2001. 923 pp. CD-ROM. E185.H326 973′.0496073.

A guide to reference works on and studies about African American history and culture, with coverage extending through 1999 in some sections. The first part consists of a series of essays on reference works; of most interest to users of this Guide are the ones on general bibliographies, general reference resources, manuscript collections, and film and television. The essays tend to be descriptive rather than evaluative, and some are not as current as users might expect. The second part is a series of classified lists of publications: following a section on general works are ones for ten chronological periods (with that for 1831–65 giving separate treatment to the North and South) and for subjects (women, geographic areas, and autobiography and biography). In each section language, literature, and related topics appear under the Thought and Expression heading. Indexed by authors. The CD-ROM (which is not mentioned in the front matter) provides PDF files of the lists and some of the front matter, as well as a contents file (whose links to other files were nonfunctioning in the two copies I consulted). The first part of Harvard Guide offers the best overview of reference sources for the study of African American culture.

Some additional resources are covered in Nathaniel Davis, comp. and ed., Afro-American Reference: An Annotated Bibliography of Selected Sources (Westport: Greenwood, 1985; 288 pp.; Bibliogs. and Indexes in Afro-Amer. and African Studies 9), an annotated guide to 642 reference sources (some published as recently as 1985) that are important to research in all aspects of African American life. Entries are listed alphabetically in 17 classified divisions: general reference works; journal abstracts, bibliographies, and guides; newspaper indexes, bibliographies, and guides; genealogy; history; slavery (with a section on slave narratives); social sciences (including linguistics); humanities; literature; mass media; education and multimedia; family and related studies; psychology; medicine; sports; armed forces; and Latin America and the Caribbean. An appendix incongruously lists works on African Americans in Los Angeles and the rest of California. The descriptive annotations typically describe scope, content, and organization. Because of some significant omissions, inclusion of several superseded works, and errors of fact and judgment in annotations, this work cannot always be trusted.

For an exacting (but now dated) survey of reference sources devoted to African American literature and the inadequate treatment of African American writers in some standard reference works in American literature, see Richard C. Tobias, “A Matter of Difference: An Interim Guide to the Study of Black American Writing,” Literary Research Newsletter 1 (1976): 129–46. Still valuable because of its broad topical coverage of scholarship through 1970 on African American culture and history is James M. McPherson et al., Blacks in America: Bibliographical Essays (Garden City: Doubleday, 1971; 430 pp.).

See also

Perrault and Blazek, United States History: A Multicultural, Interdisciplinary Guide to Information Sources (Q3185).

Histories and Surveys

For an evaluative survey of literary histories and general critical studies through 1987, see the “Bibliographical Essay,” pp. 401–50 in Jackson, History of Afro-American Literature: The Long Beginning (Q3713).


A History of Afro-American Literature. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 1989. PS153.N5 J33 810′.9′896073.

  • Vol. 1: Jackson, Blyden. The Long Beginning, 1746–1895. 1989. 461 pp.

A history of African American literature from 1746 to the present. Vol. 1 treats poetry and novels as well as slave narratives, historical works, sermons, folk literature, spirituals, journalism, and pamphlets. Although the discussions of both major and lesser-known writers favor the biographical and historical, few works escape stringent evaluation. Vol. 1 concludes with a valuable bibliographical essay that evaluates general historical studies, literary histories, critical books, and anthologies. Indexed by persons, literary forms, and titles of anonymous works. A balanced, thorough account of the development of African American literature that stresses racial protest as its common factor, vol. 1 set a high standard for a work that would have filled a major void in the history of literatures of the United States and promised to become the standard work in its field. After the death of Blyden Jackson, the press decided not to go forward with the project. Reviews: John Lowe, Southern Literary Journal 22.2 (1990): 134–39; Edward Margolies, Mississippi Quarterly 45.1 (1992): 105–10.

A useful complement is The Cambridge History of African American Literature, ed. Maryemma Graham and Jerry W. Ward, Jr. (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2011; 847 pp.), a collection of 28 separately authored essays (organized chronologically) that treat movements, genres, and groups. Although the bibliography is a 60-page alphabetical list, one essay surveys twentieth-century “foundational scholarship, criticism, and theory.”

See also

History of Southern Literature (Q3615).

Literary Handbooks, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias


Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History. Ed. Colin A. Palmer. 2nd ed. 6 vols. Detroit: Gale, 2006. Black Experience in the Americas. E185.E54 973′.0496073′003. Online through Gale Virtual Reference Library (I535) and Gale Biography in Context (J572).

An encyclopedia of a few individuals, events, movements, sports, places, professions, legal cases, and other topics important to the African diaspora in the United States, Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Besides extending the scope beyond the United States, the second edition omits most of the biographies that dominated the first edition (ed. Jack Salzman, David Lionel Smith, and Cornel West, 5 vols. [New York: Macmillan Lib. Reference; London: Simon, 1996]), reprints a third of the original entries with no changes or minor ones, revises another third of the original entries, and claims that the remaining third of the entries are new. Concludes with statistical information and an index of names and subjects; entrants are also indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565). This is the most wide-ranging of encyclopedias devoted to blacks in North America and the Caribbean.

More compact but equally impressive is The Oxford Companion to African American Literature, ed. William L. Andrews, Frances Smith Foster, and Trudier Harris (New York: Oxford UP, 1997; 866 pp.), which contains entries on writers and other persons, genres, literary and other works, characters and character types, customs, concepts, groups, periodicals and newspapers, and other topics of importance to African American literature. Most entries conclude with suggestions for further reading. Indexed by persons, titles, and subjects; entrants are also indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565).

Hazel Arnett Ervin, The Handbook of African American Literature (Gainesville: UP of Florida, 2004; 236 pp.), is an important complement to the preceding works because it explains literary terminology particularly associated with African American literature (e.g., def-jam poetry and ring shout) as well as defines common terms (such as euphony and free verse) as they are used by African American writers. Some entries include suggestions for further reading. In addition to the alphabetic list of terms, there is a section of longer essays on terms of particular importance: ambiguity, influence, literary history, memory, repetition, representation, signifying and signification, and collective unconsciousness. One appendix provides a chronology of African American, African, and anglophone Caribbean literary history from 1657 to 2002. The index of terms (which unnecessarily replicates the alphabetic list) does not include the longer essays.

Bibliographies of Bibliographies


Newman, Richard, comp. Black Access: A Bibliography of Afro-American Bibliographies. Westport: Greenwood, 1984. 249 pp. Z1361.N39 N578 [E185] 016.016973′0496073.

A bibliography of bibliographies through c. 1982 on all aspects of African American history, culture, and life in the United States and Canada. The approximately 3,000 works include books, pamphlets, articles, chapters in books, exhibition catalogs, calendars and guides to manuscripts, works on library collections and book collecting, and discographies; they exclude book dealers’ catalogs, bibliographies appended to monographs, and works on the Civil War, the Caribbean, Latin America, and Africa. Organized in a single alphabetical list by author or title of anonymous work, entries generally provide basic publication information but no annotations. Several citations seem to be taken unverified from other sources. In the introduction, Dorothy Parker reflects on her development of the Afro-American collection at Howard University. Two indexes: chronological (by date of coverage); subjects. Although users would be better served by a classified organization—a deficiency not remedied by the subject index, which is insufficiently thorough and precise—the international scope and inclusion of numerous little-known works make Black Access the best source for identifying bibliographies on all African American topics. For recent bibliographies, see Bibliographic Index (D145).

Guides to Primary Works


Dictionary Catalog of the Schomburg Collection of Negro Literature and History. 9 vols. Boston: Hall, 1962. First Supplement. 2 vols. 1967. Second Supplement. 4 vols. 1972. Supplement 1974. 1976. 580 pp. Continued by G. K. Hall Interdisciplinary Bibliographic Guide to Black Studies, [1975–2003]. Detroit: Gale, 1976–2004. Annual. (Title varies.) Z881.N592 S35. CD-ROM.

A reproduction of the card catalog of the most important and extensive collection of material by and about people of African descent. Along with printed material, the collection includes art objects, recordings, sheet music, photographs, and manuscripts. Manuscripts are listed only in the supplements; photographs and vertical file materials are excluded in all volumes. Since the supplements and G. K. Hall Interdisciplinary Bibliographic Guide to Black Studies record material newly acquired—not just recently published—users must search the supplements and the G. K. Hall Interdisciplinary Bibliographic Guide as well as the original Catalog. An indispensable, but frequently overlooked, source for identifying authors and titles, the Dictionary Catalog is especially valuable for the detailed subject access it offers to works relating to all aspects of African American culture. The CD-ROM (Black Studies on Disc, 1995–2004) includes the Dictionary Catalog, supplements, and Index to Black Periodicals (Q3740); however the data is difficult to extract because the primitive search interface offers limited search and export options. Holdings of the Schomburg Center can be searched through the New York Public Library Catalog (; scroll to the bottom of the Collections menu for the Schomburg Center).

Other published catalogs of important collections include the following:

  • Afro-Americana, 1553–1906: A Catalog of the Holdings of the Library Company of Philadelphia and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 2nd ed. New Castle: Oak Knoll, 2008. 890 pp.

  • Dictionary Catalog of the Arthur B. Spingarn Collection of Negro Authors, Howard University Library, Washington, D.C. 2 vols. Boston: Hall, 1970.

  • Dictionary Catalog of the George Foster Peabody Collection of Negro Literature and History, Collis P. Huntington Memorial Library, Hampton Institute, Hampton, Virginia. 2 vols. Westport: Greenwood, 1972.

  • Dictionary Catalog of the Jesse E. Moorland Collection of Negro Life and History, Howard University Library, Washington, D.C. 9 vols. Boston: Hall, 1970. First Supplement. 3 vols. 1976.

  • Dictionary Catalog of the Negro Collection of the Fisk University Library, Nashville, Tennessee. 6 vols. Boston: Hall, 1974.

  • Dictionary Catalog of the Vivian G. Harsh Collection of Afro-American History and Literature, the Chicago Public Library. 4 vols. Boston: Hall, 1978.

Many of these collections—at least a portion of them—can be searched through their respective library’s OPAC.

The holdings of 65 southern libraries are the basis for Geraldine O. Matthews, comp., Black American Writers, 1773–1949: A Bibliography and Union List (Boston: Hall, 1975; 221 pp.). Although entries are frequently incomplete and only about 60% cite locations, Matthews is occasionally useful for tracking down an elusive work.

To identify other catalogs and collections, see section E: Libraries and Library Catalogs/Library Catalogs.


Jordan, Casper LeRoy, comp. A Bibliographical Guide to African-American Women Writers. Westport: Greenwood, 1993. 387 pp. Bibliogs. and Indexes in Afro-Amer. and African Studies 31. Z1229.N39 J67 [PS153.N5] 016.8108′09287′08996.

A bibliography of works in English by and about black American women writers. Coverage extends to “poetry, memoirs, biographies, criticisms, autobiographies, essays, short fiction, novels, diaries and journals” written between 1746 and 1991. Entries are organized in three divisions: individual authors; anthologies; general works. In the first, authors are listed alphabetically; under each are sections for primary works and for studies (the former listed alphabetically by title and the latter by author), and some sections are followed by “1988–1991 Supplement,” the inconsistent placement of which is decidedly confusing (e.g., the additional list of works by an author sometimes follows the primary works section and sometimes follows the secondary works section). In addition, the separate “Supplement: Additional Writers and Sources, 1988–1991” follows the general-works division. Coverage of primary works seems much fuller than that of studies, especially for post-1987 publications (e.g., “1988–1991 Supplement” under Toni Morrison lists only 20 works about her). The inexcusably haphazard organization, failure to include names in running heads, and poorly designed index make this book needlessly difficult to use. And the numerous omissions—especially in the coverage of critical studies—unfortunately render it untrustworthy.


Kallenbach, Jessamine S., comp. Index to Black American Literary Anthologies. Boston: Hall, 1979. 219 pp. Z1229.N39 K34 [PS153.N5] 016.8108′0896.

An author list of African American poetry, fiction, essays, and plays in some 140 literary anthologies designed for adults, primarily by African American authors, and published through c. 1975. Under each author, works are organized by genre, then alphabetically by title. Indexed by titles. The Index is frequently useful for locating texts, although it is limited in scope.

Chapman, Index to Poetry by Black American Women (Q3840a) and Index to Black Poetry (Q3840a), index, by subject, poems in collections.


Schatz, Walter, ed. Directory of Afro-American Resources. New York: Bowker, 1970. 485 pp. Z1361.N39 R3 917.3′06′96073.

A guide to about 5,365 collections of books, manuscripts, documents, and other materials held by 2,108 organizations, libraries, institutions, and private and government agencies. Entries are organized alphabetically by state, then city, then institution. Entries typically include organization or institution, address and telephone, name of contact person (now outdated), services provided for researchers, purpose of organization, publications (especially guides and indexes to collections), description of individual collections (identifying subject, size, inclusive dates, scope, and content), and restrictions on use. Since entries are based on responses to questionnaires and on printed sources, they vary in accuracy and sophistication; the most complete are taken from National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (F295) through 1968 or submitted by libraries, and the skimpiest are from local organizations and agencies. Two indexes: persons, subjects, institutions, and places; supervisors and administrators of organizations and collections. Although the Directory is now dated and omits several important institutions and organizations, its focus and extensive coverage make it still useful for identifying subject collections and locating manuscripts. The work must, however, be supplemented by Archive Finder (F280), National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections, and works in section E: Libraries and Library Catalogs/Library Catalogs.

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism

Surveys of Research

Inge, M. Thomas, Maurice Duke, and Jackson R. Bryer, eds. Black American Writers: Bibliographical Essays. 2 vols. New York: St. Martin’s, 1978. PS153.N5 B55 016.810′9′896073.

Selective surveys of research through mid-1970, with chapters devoted to major eighteenth-century writers, slave narratives, nineteenth-century polemicists, early modern authors, the Harlem Renaissance, Hughes, Wright, Ellison, Baldwin, and Baraka. The chapters are variously organized, but each has sections for bibliographies, editions, manuscripts and letters, biographical studies, and criticism; a few offer suggestions for further research. Indexed by persons in each volume; also indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565). Although the essays vary in selectiveness and rigor of evaluation, most provide authoritative assessments of scholarship before mid-1970. What is needed is a revised edition that would evaluate recent scholarship and devote chapters to general reference works and studies. Review: R. Baxter Miller, Black American Literature Forum 13.3 (1979): 119–20.

For an evaluative survey of general histories, studies of slavery, and critical volumes through 1987, see the “Bibliographical Essay,” pp. 401–50 in Jackson, History of Afro-American Literature: The Long Beginning (Q3713).

See also

American Literary Scholarship (Q3265): Chapter on black literature in the vols. for 1977–88.

Year’s Work in Critical and Cultural Theory (U6133) sometimes devotes a chapter to black cultural studies.

Serial Bibliographies

G. K. Hall Index to Black Periodicals: [1950–2004]. Detroit: Gale, 1950–2005. Annual, with cumulations for 1950–59 and 1960–70; the volumes since 1989 are included in Black Studies on Disc (CD-ROM; 1995–2004; annual). Former titles: Index to Black Periodicals (1988–99); Index to Periodical Articles by and about Blacks (1973–86); Index to Periodical Articles by and about Negroes (1966–72); Index to Selected Periodicals (1954–65); Index to Selected Negro Periodicals (1950–54). AI3.O4 974.

An author and subject index to the contents of general and scholarly periodicals (currently 38) devoted to African American topics. Literary works are listed by title under genre headings; reviews are indexed by author, reviewer, and title (the last only under headings such as “Book Reviews” and “Drama Reviews”). Because of its highly selective coverage, the work is primarily useful for its indexing of a few periodicals excluded from the serial bibliographies and indexes in section G.

The data from G. K. Hall Index in Black Studies on Disc is difficult to extract because of the primitive search interface that offers limited search and export options.

Some additional studies are included in “Studies in African-American Literature: An Annual Annotated Bibliography, [1983–89],” Callaloo 7–13 (1984–90) and in “An Annual Bibliography of Afro-American Literature, [1975–76], with Selected Bibliographies of African and Caribbean Literature,” CLA Journal 20–21 (1976–77). For earlier publications, some coverage is offered by A Guide to Negro Periodical Literature, 4 vols. (Winston-Salem: n.p., 1941–46).

Some additional periodicals and newspapers are indexed by subject—though idiosyncratically and incompletely—in The Kaiser Index to Black Resources, 1948–1986: From the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library, 5 vols. (Brooklyn: Carlson, 1992), an edited version of a card index at the Schomburg Center.

International Index to Black Periodicals Full Text (; also available through Black Studies Center []) provides the full text of c. 140 periodicals since the mid-1990s and indexes several others. The major gaps in coverage of many journals and the limitation of subject searches to documents dated 1988 or later mean that anyone extracting information from this database must also search all the preceding works in this entry.

See also

Secs. G: Serial Bibliographies, Indexes, and Abstracts and H: Guides to Dissertations and Theses.

MLAIB (G335): American Literature division through the volume for 1969; Afro-American heading in American Literature sections in the volumes for 1970–80; in later volumes, researchers must consult the headings beginning “African American” or “Afro-American” in the subject index and “African American” in the online thesaurus.

Other Bibliographies

Perry, Margaret. The Harlem Renaissance: An Annotated Bibliography and Commentary. New York: Garland, 1982. 272 pp. Garland Reference Lib. of the Humanities 278: Critical Studies on Black Life and Culture 2. Z5956.A47 P47 [NX511.N4] 016.81′09′97471.

A bibliography of works (published through 1980) by and about writers associated with the Harlem Renaissance. Perry includes authors who identified themselves with the movement as well as those who lived during the 1920s through early 1930s, and covers published works as well as dissertations, theses, manuscripts, and films in English or French. The 913 entries are organized alphabetically by author in eight divisions: bibliographies and reference works (including author bibliographies), histories of African American literature that include significant discussion of the Harlem Renaissance, general studies (with sections for works on the period, and for reviews of books and plays), 19 major authors (with selected primary works listed by genre, followed by criticism), miscellaneous materials (a hodgepodge), anthologies, library and special collections (organized by institution, with descriptions of individual collections), and an unannotated list of theses and dissertations. The reasonably full annotations are largely descriptive, although some include evaluative comments. Two indexes: persons (regrettably not indexing references to writers in divisions other than that for individual authors); titles of works cited. Poor and inconsistent organization, incomplete cross-references, and inadequate indexing mean that users searching for single-author studies must skim all entries. These shortcomings, together with the lack of clarity about criteria governing the selection of both primary and secondary works and the exclusion of most foreign scholarship, render Harlem Renaissance much less useful and accessible than it should be. Review: Hensley C. Woodbridge, American Notes and Queries 20.9-10 (1982): 159–60.


Turner, Darwin T., comp. Afro-American Writers. New York: Appleton, 1970. 117 pp. Goldentree Bibliogs. in Lang. and Lit. Z1361.N39 T78 016.8108′091′7496.

A selective bibliography of primary and secondary works (chiefly in English and published through 1969) that are important to the study of African American literature. Theses, dissertations, book reviews, and general literary histories are excluded. Entries are organized in four classified divisions: aids to research (with sections for bibliographies, guides to library collections, other reference works, and periodicals); background studies (with highly selective lists of autobiographies and collections of essays; slave narratives; studies of historical, social, and intellectual backgrounds; and works on art, journalism, music, and theater); literary history and criticism (with sections for anthologies, general studies, drama, fiction, poetry, and folklore); and individual writers who have been the subject of critical or popular attention or are otherwise important (with lists of primary works, bibliographies, and biographical studies and criticism for most authors). Additional entries appear in a supplement on pp. 105–17. Studies of African Americans as characters appear in an appendix. Important works are marked with an asterisk. Indexed by persons. Although now dated, Afro-American Writers remains the best selective guide to scholarship before 1970.

Theressa Gunnels Rush, Carol Fairbanks Myers, and Esther Spring Arata, Black American Writers Past and Present: A Biographical and Bibliographical Dictionary, 2 vols. (Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1975), offers a fuller—but much less accurate—list of works by and about some 2,000 writers. Although it is incomplete, lacks any indexes (however, writers are indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index [J565]), and frequently is based on other sources, the work is useful for its inclusion of parts of books and a host of minor authors.

Modern African American culture through c. 1974 is the subject of Charles D. Peavy, Afro-American Literature and Culture since World War II: A Guide to Information Sources (Detroit: Gale, 1979; 302 pp.; Amer. Studies Information Guide Ser. 6), but the poor organization, inadequate definitions of scope and criteria determining selection, frequent errors, and omission of numerous significant works make it virtually useless as a selective guide. (For the numerous inadequacies, see the review by Jill Warren, Analytical and Enumerative Bibliography 4.1 [1980]: 78–85.)

A major desideratum is an authoritative and current selective bibliography of scholarship on African American literature.

See also

Harvard Guide to African-American History (Q3710).

Leary, Articles on American Literature (Q3295).

Nemanic, Bibliographical Guide to Midwestern Literature (Q3600).

Ruoff and Ward, Redefining American Literary History (Q3695).

Szwed and Abrahams, Afro-American Folk Culture (U5880).

Woodress, Dissertations in American Literature, 1891–1966 (Q3320).


Guides to Scholarship

Brasch, Ila Wales, and Walter Milton Brasch. A Comprehensive Annotated Bibliography of American Black English. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 1974. 289 pp. Z1234.D5 B7 016.427′973.

An author list of publications, dissertations, theses, and unpublished papers (through c. 1973 and primarily in English) on Black English, as well as a few literary and folklore works that use black speech. About 80% of the approximately 2,300 entries are accompanied by brief descriptive annotations. The work is marred by an inadequate explanation of scope (especially regarding the selection of works illustrating Black English), lacks an index and cross-references (thus one must skim all entries to locate studies of a particular topic), and falls far short of the comprehensiveness claimed in the title; nevertheless, Brasch offers the fullest single list of scholarship through c. 1973. It must be supplemented—even for studies before 1973—by MLAIB (G335), ABELL (G340), Bibliographie linguistique (U6010), LLBA: Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts (U6015), and most works in sections G: Serial Bibliographies, Indexes, and Abstracts and H: Guides to Dissertations and Theses. A major desideratum is a current, thorough, adequately indexed bibliography of scholarship on Black English. Review: J[ohn] A[lgeo], American Speech 49.1-2 (1974): 142–46.

See also

ABELL (G340): Dialect section of the English Language division in the volumes for 1920–26; the American English section in the volumes for 1927–33; the English Dialects section in the volume for 1934; the American English section in the volumes for 1935–72; and the Dialects/Dialects of [North] America section in later volumes.

MLAIB (G335): English Language and Literature division in the volumes for 1922–25; American Literature I: Linguistics in the volumes for 1926–40; English Language and Literature I: Linguistics in the volumes for 1941–55; English Language and Literature I: Linguistics/American English in the volumes for 1956–66; Indo-European C: Germanic Linguistics IV: English/Modern English/Dialectology in the volumes for 1967–80; and Indo-European Languages/Germanic Languages/West Germanic Languages/English Language (Modern)/Dialectology in the volumes since 1981. Researchers must also check the heading “Black English Dialect” in the subject index to post-1980 volumes and in the online thesaurus.

Biographical Dictionaries


AABD: African American Biographical Database. Chadwyck-Healey. ProQuest, 2013. 13 Sept. 2013. <>. Updated bimonthly.

A database of biographical information that incorporates Randall K. Burkett, Nancy Hall Burkett, and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., eds., Black Biography, 1790–1950: A Cumulative Index, 3 vols. (Alexandria: Chadwyck-Healey, 1991) and the microform collection Black Biographical Dictionaries, 1790–1950 (Alexandria: Chadwyck-Healey, 1987) as well as other resources (almost all of which are out-of-copyright texts or Web sites). The title of the database is misleading since it includes numerous entries for Africans who have no connection with North America (e.g., Amenotep III and Haile Selassie I), and it is hardly “a resource of first resort.” Entries can be searched by any combination of name, state or country, city or county, occupation, religion, date of birth, date of death, and gender; in addition, full-text documents can be searched by keyword. A typical entry (which can be downloaded by e-mail) includes date of birth and of death, birthplace, occupation, religion, and a hyperlinked list of dictionaries in which a biographical sketch or illustration appears. Although supposedly updated bimonthly, there is no record of updates on the site. The lack of coverage of printed sources published after the late 1940s and the reliance on Web sites for living individuals means that AABD must be complemented by Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565) and Dorothy W. Campbell, Index to Black American Writers in Collective Biographies (Littleton: Libraries Unlimited, 1983; 162 pp.), a name index to biographical sketches of about 1,900 black writers in 267 collective biographies that focus on African Americans and were published between 1837 and 1982. AABD, Black Biography, and Index to Black American Writers are essential starting points for locating biographical information on African Americans; the three resources index a number of works not covered by Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565), which should also be checked, since it offers broader, more current coverage.

See also

Sec. J: Biographical Sources/Biographical Dictionaries/Indexes.


African American National Biography (AANB). Ed. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham. 8 vols. New York: Oxford UP, 2008. E185.96 920′.009296073. Supplement 2008–2012. Ed. Gates and Higginbotham. 2 vols. 2013. <>. Also available through Oxford African American Studies Center (

A biographical dictionary of 4,851 African Americans, living and dead, including the famous, the all-but-forgotten, the infamous, the colorful, and the quirky; a searchable list of entrants is available at the AANB Web site. (New entries appear in the Oxford African American Studies Center version; updated ones appear in the Supplement.) The signed entries (typically ranging from 750 to 1,500 words) conclude with suggestions for further reading and, occasionally, a note on the location of the entrant’s papers. Appendixes include lists of prizewinners, of medalists, of members of Congress, and of judges. Two indexes: subjects and realms of renown; birthplaces. AANB is the most authoritative biography of African Americans and an essential complement to American National Biography (Q3378).

Although now dated, Rayford W. Logan and Michael R. Winston, eds., Dictionary of American Negro Biography (New York: Norton, 1982; 680 pp.), treats 636 African Americans who died before 1970. Entrants, chosen on the basis of historical significance, represent a variety of walks of life. The separately authored entries provide essential details of an entrant’s life and career, a brief estimate of the person’s significance, and references to biographical sources and collections of papers. Entrants are indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565). Review: Henry Louis Gates, Jr., New York Times Book Review 1 May 1983: 13, 29.

For basic biographical information about living African Americans, see the most recent edition of Who’s Who among African Americans (Detroit: Gale-Cengage, 1975– ; online through Gale Biography in Context [J572] and Gale Virtual Reference Library [I535]), which is indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565). The fullest biographical coverage of writers is offered by Dictionary of Literary Biography (J600).

See also

Contemporary Authors (J595).

Rush, Myers, and Arata, Black American Writers Past and Present (Q3755a).


Guides to Primary Works

Danky, James P., and Maureen E. Hady, eds. African-American Newspapers and Periodicals: A National Bibliography. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1998. 740 pp. Harvard UP Reference Lib. Z6944.N39 A37 [PN4882.5] 015.73′035′08996073.

A census of more than 6,500 newspapers and periodicals published, for the most part, in the United States and edited by or published by or for blacks between 1827 and 1997. Organized alphabetically by title, entries (which are based on personal examination by the editors, their research assistants, librarians, and archivists) typically cite current title; beginning and cessation dates; frequency; current editor and address; subscription rate; publisher(s); number of pages in final issue or the last one examined; content (line drawings, photographs, commercial advertising); size; previous editor(s); variations in title, place of publication, or frequency; bibliographies that index the work; availability in microform; ISSN, WorldCat, and LC catalog numbers; subject focus and special features; and libraries that hold the title (with volumes or issues held and location within the library). Four indexes: subjects and features; editors; publishers; places of publication. Although lacking an adequate discussion of scope and editorial procedure and failing to index or cross-reference variant titles, African-American Newspapers and Periodicals is an important resource that provides the basis for the recovery and assessment of the rich tradition of African American periodical fiction and poetry. The plan to update the bibliography and make it available electronically was never realized. Some additions are described in Randall K. Burkett, “The Joy of Finding Periodicals ‘Not in Danky,’” Library Trends 56 (2007–08): 601–17.

African American Newspapers, 1827–1998 ( includes 270 newspapers from Readex’s America’s Historical Newspapers digital archive. A keyword search of full text, headline, and title (standard or as published) can be limited by date, article type, language, place of publication, or newspaper title. Records can be sorted by date (ascending or descending) or relevancy.


Some works in sections L: Genres and Q: American Literature/General/Genres are useful for research in African American literature.


Some works in sections L: Genres/Fiction and Q: American Literature/General/Genres/Fiction are useful for research in African American fiction.

Histories and Surveys

Bell, Bernard W. The Afro-American Novel and Its Tradition. Amherst: U of Massachusetts P, 1987. 421 pp. PS153.N5 B43 813′.009′896.

A “sociopsychological, sociocultural” history of extended prose narratives from 1853 through 1983. Organized chronologically, chapters emphasize the place of about 150 works in their respective historical, cultural, and literary contexts, with particular attention given to the relation to oral, literary, European, and African traditions. Indexed by persons, titles, and subjects. The most thorough, balanced, and sympathetic history of the African American novel, Bell supersedes earlier histories (especially Robert Bone, The Negro Novel in America, rev. ed. [New Haven: Yale UP, 1965], 289 pp.).

Short fiction awaits comparable treatment. Robert Bone, Down Home: Origins of the Afro-American Short Story, rpt. with a new pref. (New York: Columbia UP, 1988; 328 pp.)—a critical survey of African American short fiction (primarily the short story) from 1885 to 1935 that emphasizes its debts to oral tradition as well as to mainstream Western literary forms, the Protestant tradition, the rural South, the anxiety about the role of the African American writer in American society, and (in the preface to the reprint) the blues tradition—is too restrictive in coverage and controversial in its underlying critical assumptions to serve as an adequate history of African American short fiction. For an important disagreement with these assumptions, see the review by Darwin T. Turner, American Literature 48.3 (1976): 416–18.

Guides to Primary Works

Margolies, Edward, and David Bakish. Afro-American Fiction, 1853–1976: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale, 1979. 161 pp. Amer. Lit., English Lit., and World Lits. in English: An Information Guide Ser. 25. Z1229.N39 M37 [PS374.N4] 016.813′008′0352.

A highly selective list of novels, short story collections, and scholarship through c. 1976. Entries are organized in four divisions: novels for adults (listed alphabetically by author, then chronologically by publication date), short story collections (with separate lists of single-author collections and anthologies), 15 major novelists chosen for their historical or literary importance (authors are listed chronologically by publication date of their first novels, with separate lists of bibliographies and critical studies), and bibliographies and general studies. Only entries in the third and fourth divisions are annotated, with many works inadequately described. The appendix lists fictional works by publication date. Three indexes: authors; titles; and subjects. Because it is highly selective in all but the first division, inefficiently organized, and marred by an inadequate explanation of scope and criteria governing selection, Afro-American Fiction is primarily useful for its list of novels. Review: Jill Warren, Analytical and Enumerative Bibliography 4.1 (1980): 78–85.

Somewhat better—although also selective—coverage of novels published between 1965 and 1975 is offered by Helen Ruth Houston, The Afro-American Novel, 1965–1975: A Descriptive Bibliography of Primary and Secondary Materials (Troy: Whitston, 1977; 214 pp.), which is an annotated list—not a “descriptive” bibliography—of novels, studies, and reviews.

More than 850 short stories published between 1950 and 1982 in collections, anthologies, and periodicals are indexed by author, title, collection, and year of publication in Preston M. Yancy, comp., The Afro-American Short Story: A Comprehensive, Annotated Index with Selected Commentaries (Westport: Greenwood, 1986; 171 pp.; Bibliogs. and Indexes in Afro-American and African Studies 10). Coverage is far short of “comprehensive,” and the work is confusingly organized and repetitive.

See also

Fairbanks and Engeldinger, Black American Fiction: A Bibliography (Q3820).

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism

Fairbanks, Carol, and Eugene A. Engeldinger. Black American Fiction: A Bibliography. Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1978. 351 pp. Z1229.N39 F34 [PS153.N5] 016.813.

A selective list of novels, short fiction, and English-language studies (including dissertations) through c. 1976. Under each fiction writer are sections, when appropriate, listing novels, short fiction, collections, biographical studies and criticism, and reviews (by work reviewed). General studies of African American fiction appear in a concluding list. There is no explanation of criteria governing selection and no index; many entries are copied from unidentified sources; significant omissions and incomplete citations occur; and relevant pages of parts of books are not cited. In spite of these serious deficiencies, Black American Fiction provides the single fullest list of works by and about African American fiction writers. The work must, though, be supplemented by Margolies and Bakish, Afro-American Fiction (Q3815), as well as the serial bibliographies and indexes in section G.

See also

Margolies and Bakish, Afro-American Fiction, 1853–1976 (Q3815).

Weixlmann, American Short-Fiction Criticism and Scholarship, 1959–1977 (Q3480).

Drama and Theater

Some works in sections L: Genres/Drama and Theater and Q: American Literature/General/Genres/Drama and Theater are useful for research in African American drama.

Histories and Surveys

Hill, Errol G., and James V. Hatch. A History of African American Theatre. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2003. 608 pp. PN2270.A35 H55 792′.089′96073.

A history of African American theater from 1821 to 2000 that includes the legitimate stage as well as minstrelsy, spectacles, musicals, operas, and educational theater. With the issue of racism at their center, chapters proceed more or less chronologically to examine the principal works, performers, theater personnel, playwrights, and acting companies. An appendix surveys broadly the scholarship on African American theater. Indexed by persons, titles, and subjects. Written by the preeminent scholars in the field, History of African American Theatre offers a masterful survey of African American theater and provides the basis for the “thoroughly integrated American theatre history” that remains to be written. Review: Harry Elam, Theatre Survey 46.1 (2005): 127–29.

Guides to Primary Works

Hatch, James V., and OMANii Abdullah, comps. and eds. Black Playwrights, 1823–1977: An Annotated Bibliography. New York: Bowker, 1977. 319 pp. Z1231.D7 H37 [PS338.N4] 016.812′009′352.

An author bibliography of about 2,700 plays by approximately 900 African Americans, along with some foreigners whose plays have been produced in the United States. Although a majority of the works are published and unpublished stage plays, some film, television, and radio dramas are also included. Each entry provides (when available) title, date of composition and copyright, genre, a brief summary (sometimes based on reviews or written by the playwright or an agent), cast (by race and sex), location of at least one copy, and permission information. Concludes with selected bibliographies of books, anthologies, and dissertations and theses and three appendixes: a list of taped interviews on the African American theater and held in Hatch-Billops archives; awards; addresses of playwrights, agents, and agencies (although more-current addresses are usually available in Contemporary Authors [J595]). Indexed by titles. Superior in coverage to the drama part of French, Afro-American Poetry and Drama (Q3845), Black Playwrights is the fullest record of plays by African Americans and an invaluable source for locating copies of obscure works.

It must, however, be supplemented by Bernard L. Peterson, Jr., Contemporary Black American Playwrights: A Biographical Directory and Dramatic Index (New York: Greenwood, 1988; 625 pp.) and Early Black American Playwrights and Dramatic Writers: A Biographical Directory and Catalog of Plays, Films, and Broadcasting Scripts (New York: Greenwood, 1990; 298 pp.), with entries on about 900 “black American and U. S. resident dramatists, screenwriters, radio and television scriptwriters, musical theatre collaborators, and other originators of theatrical and dramatic works, written, produced, and published” through 1985. Each entry provides biographical information, address, and a list of dramatic works (noting genre, production or publication information, and source; providing a brief synopsis and production history; and locating scripts or recordings). Indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565). Although not the “comprehensive” work claimed in the preface and necessarily incomplete in many entries, Peterson is an invaluable source for identifying and locating frequently unpublished dramatic works by African American writers. The preceding are complemented by Peterson, The African American Theatre Directory, 1816–1960: A Comprehensive Guide to Early Black Theatre Organizations, Companies, Theatres, and Performing Groups (Westport: Greenwood, 1997; 301 pp.).

For additional theatrical works (by blacks and whites) with black characters, see James V. Hatch, Black Image on the American Stage: A Bibliography of Plays and Musicals, 1770–1970 (New York: DBS, 1970; 162 pp.), with additions by Joseph N. Weixlmann, “Black Portraiture on the Eighteenth-Century American Stage: Addenda,” Analytical and Enumerative Bibliography 1.3 (1977): 203–06.

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism

There is no adequate bibliography devoted to studies of African American drama. Esther Spring Arata and Nicholas John Rotoli, Black American Playwrights, 1800 to the Present: A Bibliography (Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1976; 295 pp.), and Arata, More Black American Playwrights: A Bibliography (1978; 321 pp.), are too error-ridden, poorly organized, incomplete, and inconsistent to recommend to researchers. French et al., Afro-American Poetry and Drama (Q3845), is so selective that it is barely a place to begin research. And Dana A. Williams, Contemporary African American Female Playwrights: An Annotated Bibliography (Westport: Greenwood, 1998; 124 pp.; Bibliogs. and Indexes in Afro-Amer. and African Studies 37), is ineffectively organized, incompletely indexed (e.g., authors of critical studies of individual playwrights are excluded from the name index), and—despite its subtitle—offers annotations for fewer than one-third of its entries (the annotations that do exist are hardly informative).


Some works in section L: Genres/Poetry are useful for research in African American poetry.

Histories and Surveys

Sherman, Joan R. Invisible Poets: Afro-Americans of the Nineteenth Century. 2nd ed. Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1989. 288 pp. PS153.N5 S48 811′.009′896073.

A series of essays on 26 poets born between 1796 and 1883 and representative of nineteenth-century African American poets, who are virtually ignored in literary histories and anthologies. The individual essays, organized by birthdate of authors, consist of a biography, critical appraisal, and selective list of sources (including manuscripts). The essays are complemented by a series of bibliographies and appendixes: a bibliography of primary works that includes manuscripts and locations of printed copies; a bibliographical essay that evaluates the bibliographies, periodical guides and indexes, biographical and critical works, anthologies, and manuscript collections important to research in nineteenth-century African American literature; a list of 35 writers who published a significant amount of poetry and who need further research; a list of other, less prolific poets who need further research; anonymous and pseudonymous poets; turn-of-the-century writers who did not publish before 1900; poets erroneously identified as African American; Creole poets of Les Cenelles; and selected bibliographies of Wheatley and Harmon. The bibliographical essay and selective bibliographies appended to discussions of individual poets are updated through c. 1987 in the second edition (pp. 237–53), which is otherwise a reprint of the first edition (1974). Indexed by persons, subjects, and anonymous titles; unfortunately, the index in the second edition is not revised to reflect the repagination of the latter part of the work. Besides providing the fullest history of nineteenth-century African American poets, Invisible Poets is an essential guide to research on the topic and a valuable source for identifying writers who need further attention. Review: Duncan MacLeod, TLS: Times Literary Supplement 13 June 1975: 675.


Wagner, Jean. Black Poets of the United States: From Paul Laurence Dunbar to Langston Hughes. Trans. Kenneth Douglas. Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1973. 561 pp. (Originally published as Les poètes nègres des Etats-Unis: Le sentiment racial et religieux dans la poésie de P. L. Dunbar à L. Hughes, [1890–1940]. Paris: Istra, 1963. 637 pp.) PS153.N5 W313 811′.009.

A detailed critical history of African American poetry that emphasizes “the interdependence of racial and religious feeling” in the works of major poets from 1890 to 1940. The chapters on early nineteenth-century African American poets, Dunbar, his contemporaries, the African American renaissance, McKay, Toomer, Cullen, Johnson, Hughes, and Brown consider biography, cultural and social contexts, and themes. The selective bibliography, extended to c. 1972 by Keneth Kinnamon, is now outdated. Indexed by persons, subjects, and titles. An encyclopedic work noteworthy for its scrupulous scholarship, it remains the standard history. Review: Robert Penn Warren, Études anglaises 28.2 (1975): 241–42.

Guides to Primary Works
Bibliographies and Indexes

Columbia Granger’s Index to African-American Poetry. Ed. Nicholas Frankovich and David Larzelere. New York: Columbia UP, 1999. 302 pp. Z1229.N39 C65 [PS153.N5] 016.811008′0896073.

A title, first-line, last-line, author, and subject index to 7,983 poems by 659 poets that appear in 55 anthologies or collected works (“the poetry books most likely to be found on library shelves”). As in its model, Columbia Granger’s Index to Poetry (L1235), the indexes are cumbersome to use because the author and subject listings are keyed to the title, first-line, and last-line entries, which are in turn keyed to the list of anthologies and collections at the front of the volume; however, the subject indexing in this work goes beyond title keywords, forms, and genres. (The most efficient way to search this resource is through Columbia Granger’s World of Poetry database [L1235].) Although the most current source for identifying poems by African American writers on a topic or in anthologies, Columbia Granger’s Index to African-American Poetry must be supplemented by Dorothy Hilton Chapman, comp., Index to Poetry by Black American Women (New York: Greenwood, 1986; 424 pp.; Bibliogs. and Indexes in Afro-Amer. and African Studies 15), a title, first-line, and subject index to about 4,000 poems in 120 single-author collections and 83 anthologies (through c. 1984) by more than 400 African American women. Also included are about 185 anonymous poems, several of which may be by males. The title and first-line index is keyed to a list of collections. The subject index extends beyond title keywords. Although lacking an adequate explanation of the criteria governing the choice of collections and omitting some significant anthologies, the Index is a useful source for locating texts and identifying poems on topics. Since her projected volume on African American male poets was never published, Chapman’s Index to Black Poetry (Boston: Hall, 1974; 541 pp.) remains useful. Additional anthologies are indexed by title and author in Kallenbach, Index to Black American Literary Anthologies (Q3725). Some poems by African Americans are indexed in Columbia Granger’s Index to Poetry (L1235), Poetry Index Annual (L1235a), and Index of American Periodical Verse (Q4325).


French, William P., et al. Afro-American Poetry and Drama, 1760–1975: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale, 1979. 493 pp. Amer. Lit., English Lit., and World Lits. in English: An Information Guide Ser. 17. Z1229.N39 A37 [PS153.N5] 016.810′9′896073.

A bibliography of primary works and selected studies in two parts: poetry from 1760 through 1975, compiled by French, Michael J. Fabre, and Amritjit Singh; drama from 1850 through 1975, by Geneviève E. Fabre.

Poetry. This part attempts comprehensive coverage of separately published volumes of more than four pages by African Americans born in the United States as well as a few foreign-born residents. Although emphasizing written works, the part includes some folk and oral poetry. Coverage of scholarship is highly selective, especially for major writers. Entries are organized in two divisions: general studies (with sections for bibliographies and reference works, general studies, and anthologies) and individual authors (organized in three periods—1760–1900, 1901–45, 1946–75—with separate lists of primary works, bibliographies, and biographical studies and criticism for each poet). Few entries are annotated. Although coverage of scholarship is highly selective, Afro-American Poetry and Drama offers the fullest list of separately published volumes of poetry by African Americans and is especially valuable for its identification of numerous privately printed and ephemeral publications.

Drama. This part attempts comprehensive coverage of published plays by African Americans born or resident in the United States, includes some unpublished works, and lists selected scholarship. Entries are organized in two divisions: general studies (with sections for library collections, periodicals, bibliographies, collections of plays, and criticism) and individual authors (organized in three periods—1850–1900, 1901–50, 1951–75—with separate lists of published plays, unpublished ones, collections, and biographical studies and criticism for each playwright). Published plays are accompanied by summaries and details of first production; otherwise, few entries are annotated. Because Hatch and Abdullah, Black Playwrights (Q3825), offers more extensive and informative coverage of published and unpublished plays, this section is only marginally useful as a preliminary guide to scholarship. A single index of persons, titles, and subjects encompasses both parts. Left unexplained are the justification for publishing the two parts as a single volume and the criteria governing the selection of studies. Review: Joe Weixlmann, Black American Literature Forum 14.1 (1980): 44–46.

Text Archives

African American Poetry. Chadwyck-Healey Literature Collections. ProQuest, 1996–2013. 13 Sept. 2013. <>.

A text archive of rekeyed texts of about 3,000 English-language poems by eighteenth- and nineteenth-century African American poets. Editions were selected according to the following criteria: first editions or more-inclusive later editions; poems originally appearing in periodicals are also included. Apparently only poets listed in French et al., Afro-American Poetry and Drama, 1760–1975 (Q3845), merited inclusion.

Simple keyword, first-line or title, and author searches can be limited by date during a poet’s lifetime, gender, literary period, rhymed or unrhymed poems, and parts. Searchers can also browse author and first-line or title lists of the contents of the database. Results appear in ascending alphabetical order by poet and cannot be re-sorted. Citations (but not the full text of poems) can be marked for e-mailing, downloading, or printing; each citation includes a durable URL to the full text.

Some works are rekeyed from textually unsound editions; however, the bibliographic record for each work identifies the source of the text and any omissions (e.g., preliminary matter). Besides being a useful source for identifying an elusive quotation or half-remembered line, the scope of African American Poetry’s text archive makes feasible a variety of kinds of studies (stylistic, thematic, imagistic, and topical).

Coverage is continued by Twentieth-Century African American Poetry (; also included in Twentieth-Century American Poetry [Q4333]), which includes more than 9,000 poems by 70 poets. Editions were selected according to the following criteria: a collected edition; other editions for poets without a collected one. Selection seems to be based on the ability to secure rights for electronic publication.

Twentieth-Century African American Poetry uses the same search interface as African American Poetry but allows users to limit a search by publisher, although not to rhymed or unrhymed poems. The contents of both archives can also be searched through LiOn (I527).


Some works in sections L: Genres/Prose and Q: American Literature/General/Genres/Prose are useful for research in African American prose.

Guides to Primary Works

Brignano, Russell C. Black Americans in Autobiography: An Annotated Bibliography of Autobiographies and Autobiographical Books Written since the Civil War. Rev. and expanded ed. Durham: Duke UP, 1984. 193 pp. Z1361.N39 B67 [E185.96] 016.973′0496073022.

An annotated bibliography of book-length autobiographical works by African Americans through 1982. The 710 entries are listed in four divisions: autobiographies (i.e., “volumes describing appreciable spans of the authors’ lives”); autobiographical books that address a phase of the author’s life; works that the compiler could not locate or read; autobiographical works published before 1865 and reprinted since 1945. Entries provide publication information, details of reprints, locations in up to 10 libraries, and, in the first two parts, a descriptive annotation. Five indexes: activities, experiences, occupations, and professions; organizations; geographic locations and educational institutions; chronological listing of works by date of first publication; titles. Except for the rare volumes that have not been reprinted, citing library locations is unnecessary (especially since there is no logic to the choice of locations for commonly available books). Although the value of including post-1945 reprints of pre-1865 publications and the reasons for separating post-1865 works into three lists are unclear, Brignano offers valuable subject access to an important body of African American writing.

For earlier works, see “Annotated Bibliography of Afro-American Autobiography, 1760–1865” in William L. Andrews, To Tell a Free Story: The First Century of Afro-American Autobiography, 1760–1865 (Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1986), 333–42, a selective list of separately published autobiographies; the annotations, however, consist of pagination and publication details for a few translations or later editions. In the same volume is “Annotated Bibliography of Afro-American Biography, 1760–1865” (343–47), which is drawn from Andrews, “Annotated Bibliography of Afro-American Biography, Beginnings to 1930,” Resources for American Literary Study 12.2 (1982): 119–33; the annotations are minimal in both lists.

For autobiographies published or reprinted between 1980 and 2000, see Stuhr-Rommereim, Autobiographies by Americans of Color, 1980–1994, and Iwabuchi and Stuhr, Autobiographies by Americans of Color, 1995–2000 (Q3705).

American Indian Literatures

Some works in section Q: American Literature/General are useful for research in American Indian literatures.

Guides to Reference Works


Hirschfelder, Arlene B., Mary Gloyne Byler, and Michael A. Dorris. Guide to Research on North American Indians. Chicago: Amer. Lib. Assn., 1983. 330 pp. Z1209.2.N67.H57 [E77] 016.970004′97.

A highly selective annotated bibliography of important reference works and studies of Indians of the United States and Alaska, along with a few major works on the rest of the Americas. The approximately 1,100 entries encompass English-language books, articles, and government documents published through 1979 (with a few as late as 1982) but exclude ethnographies. Entries are organized in four divisions: general works (with sections for general bibliographies and general studies); history (including sections for descriptive narratives and autobiographies and biographies); economic and social topics (including a section for language); and religion, arts, and literature (with sections for religion and philosophy, music and dance, education, the arts, science, law, and literature). Each section begins with an essay overview of sources, followed by a list of general studies, then works devoted to a specific region, and then bibliographies. The full annotations offer detailed descriptions of contents. Two indexes: authors and titles; subjects. Superficial and inconsistent in its coverage of specialized studies (especially in the literature and literature-related sections) and now dated, it is primarily useful as a guide to important reference works before 1980.

It is far superior, however, to Marilyn L. Haas, Indians of North America: Methods and Sources for Library Research (Hamden: Lib. Professional–Shoe String, 1983; 163 pp.), an elementary guide that is frequently inaccurate and misleading. Review (Hirschfelder, Byler, and Dorris; Haas): G. Edward Evans, American Indian Culture and Research Journal 8.4 (1984): 66–70.

Histories and Surveys


Wiget, Andrew. Native American Literature. Boston: Twayne, 1985. 147 pp. Twayne’s United States Authors Ser. 467. PM155.W54 810′.9′897.

A critical history of the oral and narrative literatures of Native Americans of North America and Mesoamerica. The six chapters—organized variously by genre, group, or author—offer basic surveys of oral narrative (especially creation myths); oratory and oral poetry; the beginnings of a written literature; modern fiction; contemporary poetry; and recent nonfiction, autobiography, and drama. Concludes with a selected bibliography of primary and secondary works (the latter are accompanied by terse evaluative comments). Indexed by persons, works, and subjects. Although it is an introductory survey that emphasizes representative works and major authors, Wiget is currently the fullest history of Native American literatures. Given the level of interest, the time is ripe for a more comprehensive history.

See also

Cambridge History of American Literature (Q3205).

Columbia Literary History of the United States (Q3195).

Literary Handbooks, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias


Dictionary of Native American Literature. Ed. Andrew Wiget. New York: Garland, 1994. 598 pp. Garland Reference Lib. of the Humanities 1815. (Reprinted as Handbook of Native American Literature [1996].) PM155.D53 897.

A collection of 73 essays by various authors on oral and written Native American literature, organized into three sections: oral literatures (with essays on geographic areas, genres, and topics [e.g., the trickster figure, myth and religion]); the historical emergence of Native American writing (with a historical overview, discussions of genres, and essays on individual writers); Native American renaissance (with a historical overview, discussions of critical approaches, European responses, pedagogy, genres, Native Americans in Anglo-American literature, and essays on individual authors). Written mostly by established authorities, the essays offer essential biographical and bibliographical information and critical estimates; all but a few conclude with a selective bibliography. Indexed by persons, titles, and subjects; entrants are also indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565). Dictionary of Native American Literature is the best single compendium of biographical and bibliographical information on Native American literature.


Handbook of North American Indians. William C. Sturtevant, gen. ed. 20 vols. Washington: Smithsonian Inst., 1978– . E77.H25 970′.004′97.

  • Vol. 1: Introduction.

  • Vol. 2: Indians in Contemporary Society. Ed. Garrick A. Bailey. 2008. 577 pp.

  • Vol. 3: Environment, Origins, and Population. Ed. Douglas H. Ubelaker. 2006. 1,146 pp.

  • Vol. 4: History of Indian-White Relations. Ed. Wilcomb E. Washburn. 1988. 838 pp.

  • Vol. 5: Arctic. Ed. David Damas. 1984. 829 pp.

  • Vol. 6: Subarctic. Ed. June Helm. 1981. 837 pp.

  • Vol. 7: Northwest Coast. Ed. Wayne Suttles. 1990. 777 pp.

  • Vol. 8: California. Ed. Robert F. Heizer. 1978. 800 pp.

  • Vol. 9: Southwest. Ed. Alfonso Ortiz. 1979. 701 pp.

  • Vol. 10: Southwest. Ed. Ortiz. 1983. 868 pp.

  • Vol. 11: Great Basin. Ed. Warren L. d’Azevedo. 1986. 852 pp.

  • Vol. 12: Plateau. Ed. Deward E. Walker, Jr. 1998. 791 pp.

  • Vol. 13: Plains. Ed. Raymond J. DeMallie. 2001. 2 pts.

  • Vol. 14: Southeast. Ed. Raymond D. Fogelson. 2004. 1,042 pp.

  • Vol. 15: Northeast. Ed. Bruce G. Trigger. 1978. 924 pp.

  • Vol. 16: Technology and Visual Arts.

  • Vol. 17: Languages. Ed. Ives Goddard. 1996. 957 pp. (A rev. ed. of the map in the back pocket was published in 1999.)

  • Vols. 18–19: Biographical Dictionary.

  • Vol. 20: Index.

An encyclopedic treatment of the history and culture of North American Indians. The volumes devoted to geographic areas typically include essays by established scholars on ethnography, languages, archaeology, tribal groups, art, and—occasionally—literature, religion, and mythology. The extensive list of works cited in each volume constitutes a valuable bibliography of major studies. Indexed in each volume by names and subjects. Although the essays are uneven in quality and some ignore controversies about their subject matter, the Handbook will eventually be the most authoritative general source of information on American Indian history, ethnography, and culture. Reviews: (vol. 4) J. R. Miller, Canadian Historical Review 72.4 (1991): 241–44; (vol. 5) Steve Talbot, American Indian Culture and Research Journal 11.1 (1987): 123–27; (vol. 7) Michael Harkin, Ethnohistory 39.2 (1992): 172–78; (vol. 9) Bernard L. Fontana, Arizona Quarterly 38.1 (1982): 81–85.

Bibliographies of Bibliographies


White, Phillip M., comp. Bibliography of Native American Bibliographies. Westport: Praeger, 2004. 241 pp. Bibliogs. and Indexes in Ethnic Studies 11. Z1209.2.N67.W55 [E77] 016.970004′97.

A selective bibliography of bibliographies (including books, articles, and Web sites published by 2003) about Native Americans of the United States and Canada. The 843 entries—which exclude outdated material, textbooks, and most dissertations—are organized under a variety of subject headings, of which the following will be of most interest to users of this Guide: archives, authors, biographies and autobiographies, children’s literature, languages and linguistics, libraries, literature, performing arts, periodicals, and stage (the theater). Literature researchers must check both the author and literature sections since there are a number of publications on individual authors in the literature section and vice versa. Entries are accompanied by brief, descriptive, woodenly written annotations. Excluding coverage of annotations in the index of persons, tribes, and subjects seriously hampers access to the work. Despite these shortcomings, White is a serviceable guide to bibliographies of Native American topics.

Guides to Primary Works


Littlefield, Daniel F., Jr., and James W. Parins. A Biobibliography of Native American Writers, 1772–1924. Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1981. 343 pp. Native Amer. Bibliog. Ser. 2. Supplement. 1985. 339 pp. Native Amer. Bibliog. Ser. 5. Z1209.2.U5.L57 [E77] 016.973′0497.

An author list of works published between 1772 and 1924 and written in English by Native Americans of the United States (including Alaska). Except for writers known only by pseudonyms, coverage is limited to individuals definitely identified as Native Americans and to writings composed by the authors themselves. Each volume is made up of three parts: writers of established identity, writers known only by pseudonyms, and biographical notices. Under an author, entries are listed by publication date (a practice that needlessly separates later editions, reprints, and revisions from an original edition or version). A code system identifies the genre of each work, and in the Supplement brief descriptive annotations explain unclear titles. The biographical notices offer basic factual details; only in the Supplement do these cite sources. Two indexes in each volume: writers by tribal affiliation; subjects. In addition, the biographical notices are indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565). Although not comprehensive, Littlefield is an indispensable guide to these early writings, the majority of which are indexed nowhere else. Review: A. LaVonne Brown Ruoff, Arizona Quarterly 38.3 (1982): 272–74.

In “A Literary Journey: Current Scholarship on Early Native American Literature,” Before Yesterday: The Long History of Native American Writing, ed. Simone Pellerin (Pessac: PU de Bordeaux, 2009; Lettres d’Amérique) 21–34, A. LaVonne Brown Ruoff surveys recent editions and suggests authors and works that need editing.

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism

Other Bibliographies

Marken, Jack W., comp. The American Indian: Language and Literature. Arlington Heights: AHM, 1978. 205 pp. Goldentree Bibliogs. in Lang. and Lit. Z7118.M27 [PM181] 016.497.

A selective bibliography of scholarship and some primary works (through c. 1976) for the study of the languages and literatures of Indians (other than the Eskimo) in the United States and Canada. The 3,695 entries are organized alphabetically by author in 16 divisions. The first four are devoted to general topics: bibliography, autobiography (both primary and secondary works), general literature (with sections for collections and anthologies, general studies of Indian authors, types of Indian literature, and general studies of Indian literature), and language (with sections for general studies; lexicography, grammar, and morphology; language classification; glottochronology and lexicostatistics; language and culture; linguists, collecting, recording, and transcribing; interrelationships of Indian languages and their relationships to other languages; sign language). The remaining divisions are devoted to regions, each with sections for literature, language, and tribal groups; under the last heading are separate alphabetical lists for literature and language. An asterisk denotes an important work. Because of the overlapping of regions and tribal groups, users should check the index to locate studies of a particular tribe. Indexed by authors, tribal groups, and subjects, but because of the organization, the subject indexing does not provide adequate access to the entries. Although selective, dated, and emphasizing written literature, this work remains the best general guide to research before 1977 on Indian languages and literatures. Review: Dennis R. Hoilman, Old Northwest 4.2 (1978): 180–82.


Ruoff, A. LaVonne Brown. American Indian Literatures: An Introduction, Bibliographic Review, and Selected Bibliography. New York: MLA, 1990. 200 pp. PM155.R86 897.

A three-part introduction to American Indian literatures. The first is an introduction to the kinds of oral forms and a history of written literatures. The second is an essay review of reference works, anthologies and collections, general studies, scholarship on selected writers, and materials for teaching. The third is a selected bibliography, whose organization copies that of the essay review. Although the essay review and bibliography supersede Ruoff’s selective bibliography in Redefining American Literary History (Q3695), the latter has the advantage of being annotated (and actually includes most entries in the newer version). The index of subjects and authors unfortunately excludes the selected bibliography. Although selective, this is the most current guide to scholarship on American Indian literatures.

See also

Etulain and Howard, Bibliographical Guide to the Study of Western American Literature (Q3670).

Leary, Articles on American Literature (Q3295).

Literary History of the United States: Bibliography (Q3300).

MLAIB (G335): American Literature division through the volume for 1973; American Indian heading in American Literature sections in the volumes for 1974–80; in later volumes, researchers must consult the headings beginning “Native American(s)” and related terms in the subject index and in the online thesaurus.

Woodress, Dissertations in American Literature (Q3320).

Related Topics

Clements, William M., and Frances M. Malpezzi, comps. Native American Folklore, 1879–1979: An Annotated Bibliography. Athens: Swallow, 1984. 247 pp. Z1209.C57 [E98.F6] 016.398′08997073.

An annotated bibliography of about 5,500 English-language books and articles (mostly published between 1879 and 1979) on the “oral narratives, songs, chants, prayers, formulas, orations, proverbs, riddles, word play, music, dances, games, and ceremonials” of Native Americans living north of Mexico. Clements and Malpezzi excludes newspaper articles, works for children, and reviews. Entries are listed alphabetically in 12 classified divisions. The first covers general studies in sections for bibliographies and reference works, collections of essays, collections of primary works in various genres, and general studies of genres. Each of the remaining divisions is devoted to a cultural area, with sections for general studies and individual tribal groups. The descriptive annotations (sometimes accompanied by evaluative comments) are succinct yet admirably clear. Two indexes: subjects; scholars. The indispensable guide to scholarship on the folklore of the Native Americans of North America. For recent studies, see section U: Literature-Related Topics and Sources/Folklore and Literature/Guides to Scholarship and Criticism.

See also

America: History and Life (Q3310).

Haywood, Bibliography of North American Folklore and Folksong (U5875).

Historical Abstracts (U6500).

Miller, Folk Music in America (U5910).

Ruoff and Ward, Redefining American Literary History (Q3695).

Salzman, American Studies: An Annotated Bibliography (Q3335).


Guides to Primary Works

Littlefield, Daniel F., Jr., and James W. Parins, eds. American Indian and Alaska Native Newspapers and Periodicals, [1826–1985]. 3 vols. Westport: Greenwood, 1984–86. Hist. Guides to the World’s Periodicals and Newspapers. PN4883.L57 051.

  • Vol. 1: 1826–1924. 1984. 482 pp.

  • Vol. 2: 1925–1970. 1986. 553 pp.

  • Vol. 3: 1971–1985. 1986. 609 pp.

A collection of profiles of “newspapers and periodicals edited or published by American Indians or Alaska Natives and those whose primary purpose was to publish information about contemporary Indians or Alaska Natives.” Excludes ethnological, archaeological, historical, Mexican, and Canadian publications. Organized alphabetically by most recent title (or title used when under the control of Indians or Alaska Natives), entries provide a publishing history and overview of content and cite scholarship, indexing sources, location sources (noting a few actual locations and availability in microform collections), publication information, and editors. Alternative and earlier titles are cross-referenced to main entries. Three appendixes list titles by date of original publication, place of publication, and tribal affiliation. Indexed by persons and subjects.

Complemented by James P. Danky, ed., and Maureen E. Hady, comp., Native American Periodicals and Newspapers, 1828–1982: Bibliography, Publishing Record, and Holdings (Westport: Greenwood, 1984; 532 pp.), which is more exhaustive in its coverage and precise in recording holdings but lacks the useful overviews of publishing history and is less thorough and precise in its subject indexing.

Together, these works on Native American periodicals are the essential guides to extensive but underutilized sources, many of which are omitted from standard union lists.

See also

Sec. K: Periodicals/Directories and Periodicals/Union Lists.

United States Newspaper Program National Union List (Q3405).



Some works in sections L: Genres/Fiction and Q: American Literature/General/Genres/Fiction are useful for research on fiction by American Indians.

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism

Colonnese, Tom, and Louis Owens. American Indian Novelists: An Annotated Critical Bibliography. New York: Garland, 1985. 161 pp. Garland Reference Lib. of the Humanities 384. Z1229.I52 C65 [PS153.I52] 016.813′009′897.

A selective annotated bibliography of works (published through c. 1983) by and about 21 novelists. Under each novelist are sections for book-length primary works (with separate chronological lists of novels and other books), selected shorter works (organized by genre, then alphabetically by title), and selected studies (with separate lists of criticism—organized by primary work and including reviews—and biographical sources). Novels are accompanied by plot summaries, and studies of novels are accompanied by descriptive annotations; both are wordy and wooden. Indexed by novelists and titles. Highly selective and marred by an inadequate discussion of criteria governing selection of both novelists and studies, American Indian Novelists does little more than offer a place to begin research. Review: Jerome Klinkowitz, American Indian Culture and Research Journal 8.2 (1984): 58–60.

Guides to Primary Works

Brumble, H. David, III. An Annotated Bibliography of American Indian and Eskimo Autobiographies. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1981. 177 pp. Z1209.B78 [E89] 016.970004′97.

———. ““A Supplement to An Annotated Bibliography of American Indian and Eskimo Autobiographies ”.” Western American Literature 17.3 (1982): 243–60.

———. ““The Autobiographies”.” American Indian Autobiography. Berkeley: U of California P, 1988. 211–58. E89.5.B78 970.004′97.

A bibliography of some 600 first-person narratives written by North American Indians and Eskimos or transcribed and edited by other persons. Although largely confined to published autobiographies (through c. 1987), the work includes a few in manuscript or on tape. Organized alphabetically by the commonly used name of the autobiographer, entries provide collaborator, editor, or amanuensis; gender, if not apparent from the name; title; publication information or location of tape or manuscript; birthdate; date of composition; tribal affiliation; an account of how the narrative was composed; and a detailed description of content. Three indexes: editors, anthropologists, ghostwriters, and amanuenses; tribes; subjects. Although it is imprecise and insufficiently detailed in subject indexing and incomplete in cross-referencing Indian and Anglo names, Brumble’s compilation offers the fullest record of these autobiographical narratives, many of which are hidden in anthropological or historical studies. Review: Ralph Maud, Canadian Review of American Studies 14.1 (1983): 71–77.

For autobiographies published or reprinted between 1980 and 2000, see Stuhr-Rommereim, Autobiographies by Americans of Color, 1980–1994, and Iwabuchi and Stuhr, Autobiographies by Americans of Color, 1995–2000 (Q3705).

Asian American Literature

Literary Handbooks, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias


The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Asian American Literature. Ed. Guiyou Huang. 3 vols. Westport: Greenwood, 2009. PS153.A84 G74 810.9′895.

An encyclopedia about literature written between the 1890s and 2007 by North Americans of Asian descent. Although most of the 272 entries are devoted to individuals, some treat works, genres, concepts, ideologies, movements, places, and events. The lengthy entries conclude with a selective bibliography. Indexed by persons, titles, and subjects. Intended for a student audience, the Greenwood Encyclopedia is nevertheless the most extensive encyclopedia of Asian American literature.

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism


Cheung, King-Kok, and Stan Yogi. Asian American Literature: An Annotated Bibliography. New York: MLA, 1988. 276 pp. Z1229.A75 C47 [PS153.A84] 016.81′08′089507.

A bibliography of works (through July 1987) by and about writers of Asian descent resident in the United States and Canada as well as those living elsewhere who have written about the experiences of Asians in North America. Includes autobiographies, essays, and popular fiction but excludes publications by native Pacific Islanders, works in Asian languages not translated into English, individual poems in anthologies or periodicals, manuscripts, and works in student publications. The approximately 3,400 entries are organized in seven divisions: bibliographies and reference works, anthologies, periodicals, primary works (with sections for national groups and children’s literature; each national group has separate lists of prose, poetry, and drama), scholarship and criticism (with the sections for general studies and national groups divided into three parts: books, theses, and dissertations; articles; and interviews, profiles, and commentary), fiction about Asians or Asian Americans by non-Asians, and background studies. Some works have descriptive annotations that sometimes cite reviews; unfortunately, most of the annotations are too brief to convey an adequate sense of content. Four indexes: writers; scholars; reviewers; editors, translators, and illustrators. Although it is frustratingly brief in its annotations and less accessible than it should be because of the lack of a subject index, Asian American Literature fills a major gap in reference sources for the literatures of the United States and Canada.

More recent work by and studies of Asian American writers can be found in An Interethnic Companion to Asian American Literature, ed. Cheung (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1997; 414 pp.). The surveys, covering literature by Americans of Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, South Asian, and Vietnamese descent, are complemented by a selective bibliography.

See also

MLAIB (G335): See the headings beginning “Asian American(s)” in the subject index to post-1980 volumes and in the online thesaurus.

Ruoff and Ward, Redefining American Literary History (Q3695).

Hispanic American Literature

Some works in section Q: American Literature/General are useful to research in Hispanic American literatures.

Guides to Reference Works


Robinson, Barbara J., and J. Cordell Robinson. The Mexican American: A Critical Guide to Research Aids. Greenwich: JAI, 1980. 287 pp. Foundations in Lib. and Information Science 1. Z1361.M4 R63 [E184.M5] 016.973′046872.

A selective, annotated guide to reference works (in English and Spanish and published between 1857 and 1978) on the cultural, historical, social, political, artistic, or economic milieu of Mexican Americans. The authors cover both published and unpublished works (including dissertations, theses, and mimeographed material) and emphasize the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The 668 entries are listed alphabetically by author in two classified divisions: general works and subject bibliographies. The first has sections for general bibliographies, library guides, biographical sources, genealogical sources, statistical sources, directories, dictionaries, newspaper and periodical guides, and audiovisual sources; the second for education, folklore, history, labor, linguistics, literature, social and behavioral sciences, and women. Each section is preceded by an evaluative overview of the reference sources. The full annotations are largely descriptive and focus on scope, content, and organization. Three indexes: authors; titles; subjects. Although it is now dated, includes several ephemeral and superseded works, and lacks an adequate explanation of criteria governing selection, this work remains a useful guide to important reference sources for the study of Mexican Americans.

Julio A. Martínez and Ada Burns, Mexican Americans: An Annotated Bibliography of Bibliographies (Saratoga: R and E, 1984; 132 pp.), is an important complement because of its full evaluative annotations and coverage of works through 1983.

Less thorough than Mexican Americans but including Cuban American and continental Puerto Rican literature as well as sociolinguistics is David William Foster, ed., Sourcebook of Hispanic Culture in the United States (Chicago: Amer. Lib. Assn., 1982; 352 pp.). Coverage is very selective and rarely extends beyond 1975.

Literary Handbooks, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias


Allatson, Paul. Key Terms in Latino/a Cultural and Literary Studies. Malden: Blackwell, 2007. 281 pp. E184.S75 A795 973′.0468003.

An encyclopedia of terms and concepts important to Latino/a literary and cultural studies since the 1960s. Emphasizing the multidisciplinarity and globalization of the field, the 230 entries cover “Latino/a critical and theoretical concepts, cultural and literary practices and forms, Spanish-origin and Spanglish terms that appear in the critical literature and cultural productions, significant historical terms, and discussions of broader sociocultural and transnational processes.” The clear discussions—which typically combine definition, historical overview, and explanation of the importance of the terms to the field—are especially valuable to scholars new to the field.

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism

Serial Bibliographies

HAPI Online. UCLA Latin American Institute. UC Regents, 1997–2013. 30 Dec. 2014. <>. Updated regularly. (HAPI indexing is also included in PRISMA: Publicaciones y revistas sociales y humanísticas [].)

An online compilation of

  • HAPI: Hispanic American Periodicals Index, [1970–2008]. Los Angeles: U of California, Los Angeles, Latin Amer. Center, 1977–2011. Annual. Z1605.H16 [F1408] 016.98′0005. CD-ROM.

  • HAPI: Hispanic American Periodicals Index: Articles in English, 1976–1980. Ed. Barbara G. Valk. Los Angeles: U of California, Los Angeles, Latin Amer. Center; Westwood: Faxon, 1984. 403 pp. Z1605.H6 [F1408] 016.98′0005.

A database that indexes the content of about 500 humanities and social science periodicals on Latin Americans and Hispanics in the United States, with coverage extending to all areas except the hard sciences and technology. Records can be searched by keyword, document author, title, subject (based on a thesaurus), and journal; searches can be limited by date and language and to articles with full-text links or about United States Hispanics only; in addition, searchers can elect to exclude book reviews. Records (which can be sorted by author or date [ascending or descending]) can be printed, exported by e-mail, or downloaded into bibliographic software programs. In the print version, entries are currently organized in two parts: subjects; authors of articles and literary works (coverage of book reviews was discontinued after the volume for 2001). The version in PRISMA uses the standard ProQuest search interface (I519). The substantial coverage of literary periodicals makes HAPI the best source for identifying current studies of Hispanic American literature.

Chicano Database (U of California, Berkeley, Chicano Studies Collection, Ethnic Studies Lib. [online through FirstSearch (E225a)]; updated quarterly), includes records (a few with abstracts) for books, dissertations, and articles since the 1960s on Hispanic American literature, language, and folklore. Its coverage is much less current than that by HAPI.

Other Bibliographies

Eger, Ernestina N. A Bibliography of Criticism of Contemporary Chicano Literature. Berkeley: Chicano Lib., U of California, 1982. 295 pp. Z1229.M48 E36 [PS153.M4] 016.81′08′086872073.

A bibliography of books, articles, theses, dissertations, commercial audio- and videotapes, reviews, newspaper articles, unpublished convention papers, and some works in progress from 1960 to mid-1979 on Chicano and Mexican American literature of the same period. The 2,181 entries are organized alphabetically in 12 divisions: collections of critical essays; bibliographies; general studies; the Chicana or Chicano as writer, critic, or literary character; general criticism; linguistic studies; poetry; fiction; theater (with sections for general studies, Teatro Campesino and Luis Valdez, other teatros, and theater festivals); literary festivals; individual authors; and anthologies. Studies of literature before 1960 are listed in a brief appendix; another appendix serves as a directory of Chicano literary periodicals. Two indexes: scholars; titles. Although there are several omissions as well as duplicate entries for subsequently published convention papers, Eger is the fullest list of scholarship through mid-1979. Review: Hensley C. Woodbridge, Bilingual Review / Revista bilingüe 10.1 (1983): 69–72.

Some recent general studies—but not those of individual authors—are listed in Roberto G. Trujillo and Andres Rodriguez, comps., Literatura Chicana: Creative and Critical Writings through 1984 (Oakland: Floricanto, 1985; 95 pp.); however, numerous omissions, poor organization, and a confusing description of scope make this source an unsatisfactory guide to critical works. More useful as a supplement to Eger is Julio A. Martínez and Francisco A. Lomelí, eds., Chicano Literature: A Reference Guide (Westport: Greenwood, 1985; 492 pp.), a collection of essays with selective bibliographies on established authors and some literary periods, genres, and topics, along with a chronology of Chicano literature from 1539 to 1982 and a glossary of Chicano literary terms. Entrants are indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565). Unfortunately, principles governing selection are not clearly stated, and many entries are poorly written.

See also

Secs. G: Serial Bibliographies, Indexes, and Abstracts and H: Guides to Dissertations and Theses.

Etulain and Howard, Bibliographical Guide to the Study of Western American Literature (Q3670).

MLAIB (G335): Until the volume for 1972, see the American Literature division; in the volumes for 1972–80, see the Mexican American heading in American Literature sections; in later volumes, see the headings beginning “Hispanic American(s)” and “Mexican American(s)” (and related headings) in the subject index and in the online thesaurus.

Ruoff and Ward, Redefining American Literary History (Q3695).


Guides to Scholarship

Teschner, Richard V., gen. ed. Spanish and English of United States Hispanos: A Critical, Annotated, Linguistic Bibliography. Arlington: Center for Applied Linguistics, 1975. 352 pp. Z2695.D5 T47 [PC4826] 016.467′9′73.

Bills, Garland D., Jerry R. Craddock, and Richard V. Teschner. ““Current Research on the Language(s) of U. S. Hispanos”.” Hispania 60.2 (1977): 347–58. PC4001.H7 460′.5.

A bibliography of publications, dissertations, theses, and some unpublished papers and reports (through January 1977 in the supplement) on the Spanish and English used by Hispanic citizens or residents of the mainland United States. Excludes most discussions of language teaching. In the 1975 volume, entries are organized alphabetically in divisions for general studies, Mexican Americans (subdivided by region), Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Louisiana Canary Islanders, Spaniards, and Sephardic Jews. Each division has sections, when appropriate, for bibliographies, general studies, sociolinguistics, textbooks, Spanish phonology, Spanish grammar, Spanish lexicon, onomastics, English influence on Spanish, Spanish influence on English, English as used by the group, and code switching. Each section begins with lists of the most important works and cross-references. Annotations typically combine detailed description with trenchant evaluation, and the introduction surveys trends in research. The author index utilizes a confusing system of sigla. (The supplement is merely an unannotated author list.) The extensive evaluative annotations in the 1975 volume make it a valuable guide to scholarship on Spanish and English as used by Hispanics in the United States. For recent studies, see MLAIB (G335), Bibliographie linguistique (U6010), and LLBA: Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts (U6015). Review: Hensley C. Woodbridge, Modern Language Journal 60.5-6 (1976): 316.

See also

Eger, Bibliography of Criticism of Contemporary Chicano Literature (Q3975).


Guides to Primary Works

Leonard, Kathy S. Bibliographic Guide to Chicana and Latina Narrative. Westport: Praeger, 2003. 273 pp. Bibliogs. and Indexes in Women’s Studies 31. Z1229.M48 L46 [PS153.M4] 016.8109′9287′08968.

An index to short fiction in anthologies or collections, novels, and biographies or autobiographies written by Latina or Chicana authors for an adolescent or older audience and published in English or Spanish between the early 1940s and 2002. The approximately 2,745 works by nearly 600 authors are organized alphabetically in five indexes: authors and titles; titles and authors; anthologies; novels; autobiographies and biographies. The lists of titles and authors (alphabetized according to English-language conventions) are keyed to the other three indexes; novels and autobiographies and biographies include a one- or two-sentence description of content. The list of novels inconsistently cites translations and editions (e.g., the two entries for Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street are for the 1999 Knopf edition and a 1994 Spanish translation; the German, Italian, and Chinese translations and earlier English-language editions are not included); the practice of listing translations separately with virtually the same annotation wastes space. The autobiographies and biographies list is something of a hodgepodge that includes interviews and biographical dictionaries with entries on—not by—Chicana and Latina authors. Although marred by inconsistencies and omissions and a lack of explanation of what denominates Chicana and Latina, in need of a good copyediting, and stronger in its coverage of works published in the United States, Bibliographic Guide to Chicana and Latina Narrative offers a serviceable guide to the subject.

Jewish American Literature

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism


Nadel, Ira Bruce. Jewish Writers of North America: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale, 1981. 493 pp. Amer. Studies Information Guide Ser. 8. Z1229.J4 N32 [PS153.J4] 016.810′8′08924.

A selective bibliography of works by and about American and Canadian Jewish writers chosen for their “literary excellence, cultural significance, and historical importance.” Coverage extends through the late 1970s. The 3,291 entries are organized in four divisions: general works (with sections for bibliographies, biographical sources, indexes, library and manuscript collections, literary history, general criticism, and anthologies), poets, fiction writers, and dramatists (with sections for reference works and criticism and theater history). Each division or section has separate lists for American and Canadian literature and writers. Under each author are lists of bibliographies, primary works (chronologically by genre), and criticism. Appendix A is devoted to Yiddish literature in English translation, appendix B to a list of other Jewish writers. The descriptive annotations are brief but generally adequate; however, many entries are not annotated. Three indexes: authors; titles; subjects. Users should note that some writers appear under more than one genre. Although marred by an inadequate explanation of scope and the failure to index authors and topics mentioned in annotations to the first division, this work offers the fullest single guide to North American Jewish writers. Many studies of American and Canadian Jewish literature can be identified through the headings beginning with “Jewish” in the subject index to post-1980 volumes of MLAIB (G335) or in the online thesaurus.

Additional English-language studies of and works by (published through 1988) 62 Jewish American fiction writers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries can be found in Gloria L. Cronin, Blaine H. Hall, and Connie Lamb, Jewish American Fiction Writers: An Annotated Bibliography (New York: Garland, 1991; 1,233 pp.; Garland Reference Lib. of the Humanities 972). A majority of the entries have been culled from standard databases and indexes, and the excessive number of pages needlessly consumed by annotations of book reviews (while dissertations and general studies are listed without comment) should instead be devoted to an index.