Current Reference Sources

General reference sources are listed in Library Research Guide for History.

Additional general and specialized (in the disciplinary sections) reference sources are available in the Specialized Resources in the History of Science.

There are many 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

Cambridge Histories Online includes Cambridge History of Science:

  Vol. 2: Medieval Science
  Vol. 3: Early Modern Science
  Vol. 4: Eighteenth Century Science
  Vol. 5: Modern Physical and Mathematical Sciences
  Vol. 6: Modern Biological and Earth Sciences (print only)
  Vol. 7: Modern Social Sciences

Encyclopaedia of the history of science, technology, and medicine in non-western cultures, ed. by Helaine Selin. 2nd ed. Berlin; NY: Springer, 2008. 2 v. HOLLIS record

The Oxford companion to the history of modern science, ed. by J.L. Heilbron et al. NY: Oxford University Press, 2003, 941 p. HOLLIS Record  Online version

The Oxford Encyclopedia of the History of American Science, Medicine, and Technology, ed. by Hugh Richard Slotten. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.
Online Version

The philosophy of science: an encyclopedia, ed. by S. Sarkar, S. and J. Pfeifer. NY: Routledge, 2006, 2 v. HOLLIS record

Science in the early twentieth century: an encyclopedia, by J. D. Hamblin. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2005, 397 p. HOLLIS record

Science, technology, and society: an encyclopedia, ed. by Sal Restivo. NY: Oxford University Press, 2005, 701 p.  HOLLIS Record  Online version

Human Sciences

Encyclopedia of the history of psychological theories, ed. by Robert W. Rieber. NY: Springer, 2012. 2 v. HOLLIS record

The Oxford handbook of the history of psychology: global perspectives, ed. by David B. Baker. Oxford; NY: Oxford University Press, 2012, 645 p. HOLLIS Record

The Routledge history of sex and the body: 1500 to the present, ed. by Sarah Toulalan and Kate Fisher. Abingdon, Oxon; NY: Routledge, 2013, 579 p. HOLLIS Record with detailed contents and Google Books version

The Oxford handbook of the history of eugenics, ed. by Alison Bashford, Philippa Levine. NY: Oxford University Press, 2010, 586 p.
Widener | WID-LC | HQ751 .O94 2010


Cambridge historical dictionary of disease, ed. by Kenneth F. Kiple. Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2003, 412 p.
HOLLIS Record 
Online Version

Cambridge world history of human disease, ed. by Kenneth F. Kiple et al. Cambridge ; NY: Cambridge University Press, 1993, 1176 p.
HOLLIS Record 
Online Version

Companion encyclopedia of the history of medicine, ed. by W.F. Bynum and Roy Porter. London; NY: Routledge, 1993. 2 v.
HOLLIS record

Companion to medicine in the twentieth century, ed. by Roger Cooter and John Pickstone. London; NY: Routledge, 2003, 756 p.
HOLLIS record
--Articles, with references, especially on social, institutional, political, and policy aspects of medicine.

Medical research: a midcentury survey. Boston, Published for the American Foundation by Little, Brown, 1955, 2 v.
--A valuable overview of medical research circa 1940-1955. The first volume covers i9nsitutional and policy aspects, the second summarizes the state of research on cancer, infertility, arteriosclerosis, hypertension, rheumatic syndromes, tuberculosis, viruses, alcoholism, and schizophrenia.

The Oxford companion to medicine, ed. by John Walton et al. Oxford; NY: Oxford University Press, 1986, 2 v.
HOLLIS Record  Online version (3rd ed. 2001)
--Articles on more clinical aspects of medicine.

The Oxford Companion to the body, ed. by Colin Blakemore and Sheila Jennett et al. Oxford; NY: Oxford University Press, 2001, 753 p.
HOLLIS record

Oxford handbook of the history of medicine, ed. by Mark Jackson. Oxford ; New York ; Oxford University Press, 2011, 672 p.

Contemporary Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

Contemporary subject encyclopedias and dictionaries are useful in interpreting primary sources. They can be found by an Expanded Search in the HOLLIS Catalog with, e.g., <Medicine dictionaries> [Keyword search], limited by year range.

Gould, George M. (George Milbry), 1848-1922.
An illustrated dictionary of medicine, biology and allied sciences ...
3d ed. rev.
Philadelphia, Blakiston, 1897, c1894.

Subject: Medicine--Dictionaries.
Natural history--Dictionaries.

In Widener, these books are usually shelved toward the beginning of each subject class.

A short-title list of subject dictionaries of the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, by Giorgio Tonelli ; revised and annotated by Eugenio Canone and Margherita Palumbo. Extended ed. / revised and annotated by Eugenio Canone, Margherita Palumbo. Firenze: Leo S. Olschki, 2006, 173 p.

A short-title catalog of subject dictionaries of the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries in Special Collections, the Library of the School of Library and Information Science, the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario. London : University of Western Ontario, 1984, 108 leaves

General Dictionaries

Large old unabridged dictionaries are useful:
Search the phrase “Webster’s international dictionary of the English language” in HOLLIS, changing Limit to: anywhere to Limit to: title. Use the HOLLIS (not the Everything tab) and Sorted by Year (ascending):

Search in HOLLIS:
"Century dictionary an encyclopedic lexicon” several editions 1889-1914
“New Century dictionary of the English language” several editions 1927-1948

Oxford English Dictionary (click on full entry in order to see uses of this word in context at different points in time)

Dictionary of Regional American English (DARE)

A dictionary of American English on historical principles,ed. by Sir William A. Craigie and James R. Hulbert. The University of Chicago press, 1938-44, 4 v.