There are many helpful encyclopedias, dictionaries, and handbooks in Widener and other libraries that can give you a general overview of a specific topic. You can try searching in HOLLIS for your subject (see the HOLLIS tab for finding the proper Subject terms) plus the words encyclopedias or dictionaries. Thus: “United States” AND “Intellectual life” AND (encyclopedias OR dictionaries) yields:
The Oxford encyclopedia of American cultural and intellectual history, ed. by Joan Shelley Rubin and Scott E. Casper. Oxford; NY: Oxford University Press, 2 v.
Widener | RR 3627.95
Encyclopedia of American cultural & intellectual history, ed. by Mary Kupiec Cayton, Peter W. Williams. NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2001, 3 v.
Lamont | REFERENCE | E169.1 .E624 2001
Widener | RR 3627.93
The SHAFR Guide: An Annotated Bibliography of U.S. Foreign Relations since 1600. Revised online version of:
American Foreign Relations Since 1600: A Guide to the Literature. ed. by Robert L. Beisner and Kurt W. Hanson. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-Clio, 2003. 2nd edition.
Appendix II: Working with Primary Sources. Supplement to Marc Trachtenberg, The Craft of International History, Princeton University Press, 2006 Revised: October, 2017.
Guide to the diplomatic history of the United States, 1775-1921, by Samuel Flagg Bemis and Grace Gardner Griffin. Washington, U.S. Govt. print. off., 1935, 979 p.
--Detailed listing of sources.
A Companion to American Foreign Relations, ed. by Robert D. Schulzinger. Malden, MA : Blackwell Pub., 2003.
Encyclopedia of U.S. Foreign Relations, ed. by Bruce Jetleson. Council on Foreign Relations. NY, Oxford U.P., 1997. 4 vols.
Dictionary of American Diplomatic History, by John E. Findling. New York: Greenwood Press, 1989. xxxiii, 674 p.
--Entries include bibliographical references. Maps, organizational charts, key diplomatic personnel, diplomatic relations, manuscript collections. Index.
The new Cambridge history of American foreign relations Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013. 4 v.
Online and Print Versions
Chronological history of United States foreign relations, ed. by Lester H. Brune, ed. by Richard Dean Burns. 2nd ed. 3 v. NY: Rouledge, 2003.
--Chronological arrangement. Bibliography and index, but no sources given.
Cambridge Histories Online cover 14 subject areas including General History, Regional History, Literary Studies, Philosophy and Religion.
Statesmen who changed the world : a bio-bibliographical dictionary of diplomacy, ed. by Frank W. Thackeray and John E. Findling. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1993, 669 p.