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Find more Regional and State Encyclopedias
A number of U.S. regions and states have their own encyclopedias, often the products of historical societies and university presses. What follows is a list of major print regional and state encyclopedias published in the last 10 years as well as some of the richer ongoing state encyclopedia projects online.
The American Midwest: An Interpretive Encyclopedia.
Ed. by Richard Sisson and others. 2007. 1,916p. Indiana Univ., $75 (9780253348869).
This encyclopedia describes the diverse and self-reliant region known as the Midwest. Sections include portraits of the states, their societies and cultures, community and social life, the economy and technology, and public life. Entries are arranged by section, so the index may be needed to get to a specific entry, such as the Hmong in Minnesota.
The Borderlands: An Encyclopedia of Culture and Politics on the U.S.–Mexico Border. Ed. by Andrew Grant Wood. 2008. 344p. Greenwood, $85 (9780313339967).
This encyclopedia covers social and cultural issues in a volatile region. Included is information on internment camps for Mexicans, drug smuggling, Mormon colonies in Mexico, southwestern cuisine, and other topics. The national interest in the region makes this encyclopedia useful to libraries throughout the country.
Encyclopedia of Appalachia. Ed. by Rudy Abramson and Jean Haskell. 2006. 1,864p. Univ. of Tennessee, $79.95 (9781572334564).
This extensive encyclopedia covers the distinct mountain region that goes from New York to Mississippi. There are chapters on the environment, people, economy, and culture. Entries are alphabetical within the chapters, and the almost 70 pages of indexing provide very good access to the detailed articles.
Encyclopedia of the Great Plains. Ed. by David Wishart. 2004. 940p. Univ. of Nebraska, $75 (9780803247871).
The Great Plains region encompasses all or parts of several U.S. states from Texas to the Dakotas, plus the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. This source is organized thematically and alphabetically, so it is important to use the index. It contains 1,316 entries written by almost 1,000 scholars.
The Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Regional Cultures. 8v. Ed. by William R. Ferris. 2004. 3,200p. Greenwood, $771.95 (9780313332661).
This encyclopedia covers the New England, Mid-Atlantic, South, Midwest, Great Plains, Rocky Mountains, Southwest, and Pacific regions. Content is designed to be used by high-school and college students. The culture of each region is featured. Chapters conclude with resource guides including organizations and special collections for further information.
New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. 2006–. Univ. of North Carolina.
New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture reflects the dramatic growth in southern studies since the Encyclopedia of Southern Culture was published, in 1989. The 24 thematic sections of the original one-volume work have been spun into smaller paperback volumes, numbering 15 as of 2010. Each volume functions independently, with indexing for that volume only. Libraries throughout the region and libraries with American studies or southern studies programs will appreciate this in-depth source.
The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture.
This source on the history and culture of Arkansas is a cooperative effort of historical organizations, state agencies, and interested individuals. Access is by keyword or by browsing entries alphabetically or by type, category, time period, race and ethnicity, and gender. Additional features include materials such as audio recordings of Arkansas performers, searchable photo galleries, and lesson plans for students in grades 5–8.
Encyclopedia of New Jersey. Ed. by Maxine N. Lurie and Marc Mappen. 2004. 958p. Rutgers University, $49.95 (9780813533254).
Contains 2,900 entries by more than 600 contributors as well as black-and-white illustrations and 16 color plates. History, sports, the Underground Railroad, and, of course, Monopoly are among the many areas and topics that are covered.
The Encyclopedia of New York State. Ed. by Peter Eisenstadt and Laura-Eve Moss. 2005. 1,921p. Syracuse University, $45 (9780815608080).
This source, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the New York State Legislature, is the work of 1,200 contributors. There are entries for 1,500 locations along with more than 3,000 entries on other topics. Also included are 120 maps.
Encyclopedia of North Carolina. Ed. by William S. Powell and Jay Mazzocchi. 2006. 1,328p. Univ. of North Carolina, $65 (9780807830710).
Described as a “comprehensive reference work designed to capture the distinctive historical and cultural personality of the Tar Heel State,” this volume has both serious and lighter fare, with articles on topics such as Krispy Kreme doughnuts and grits among its more than 2,000 entries.
The Encyclopedia of Northern Kentucky. Ed. by Paul A. Tenkotte and James C. Claypool. 2009. 1,072p. Univ. Press of Kentucky, $49.95 (9780813125657).
Northern Kentucky can be defined as the 11 counties in the northernmost part of the state, and bordered by the Ohio River. This encyclopedia describes the people, places, landmarks, and history of the area.
Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. 2v. Ed. by Diana Everett. 2007. 1,700p. Oklahoma Historical Society, $100.
The Oklahoma Historical Society, with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, developed this 2,455-entry encyclopedia to commemorate the Centennial of Statehood in 2007. The online edition. is maintained by the Oklahoma State University Library Electronic Publishing Center.
The Handbook of Texas Online.
This multidisciplinary encyclopedia, a project of the Texas State Historical Association, contains broad coverage of Texas history and culture. It is based on the six-volume New Handbook of Texas (1996), with several hundred additional entries.
Covering Washington State, HistoryLink is described as “the first and largest encyclopedia of community history created expressly for the Internet.” It currently has more than 5,560 articles along with interactive cybertours, slideshows, and more. City entries are illustrated with historic postcards.
The State Library of North Carolina maintains this Web site with general North Carolina information. Additional information about North Carolina is available from North Carolina ECHO, which has links to cultural heritage collections.
The New Georgia Encyclopedia.
This award-winning Web site is published by the Georgia Humanities Council, the University of Georgia Press, the University System of Georgia/GALILEO, and the Office of the Governor. In addition to articles, it contains more than 5,000 images and audio and video clips.
Ohio History Central.
Contains detailed information about Ohio history from the Ohio Historical Society. Also links to other Ohio Web sites, such as historical societies or local governments. More Ohio information can be found at the Ohio Public Library Information Network’s Explore Ohio.
The Oregon Encyclopedia.
“Authoritative and free resource on all things Oregon,” from Portland State University, the Oregon Historical Society, and the Oregon Council of Teachers of English. Includes lesson plans. Anyone can contribute, subject to certain guidelines.
The South Carolina Encyclopedia. Ed. by Walter B. Edgar. 2006. 1,077p. Univ. of South Carolina, $65 (9781570035982).
Covering the rich culture and heritage of South Carolina, this encyclopedia contains entries written by almost 600 South Carolina scholars. Includes 16 pages of color plates.
The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture.
Cosponsored by the Tennessee Historical Society and the University of Tennessee Press, this site is based upon the 1998 print edition but with new and updated entries, audio and video files, and several hundred additional images.
Utah History Encyclopedia.
Based upon the 1994 print edition, this site contains 575 articles and 200 photographs of Utah history. Content is browsable, but there is no search box. A companion site is Utah Collections Multimedia Encyclopedia.
The Vermont Encyclopedia. Ed. by John J. Duffy and others. 2003. 352p. Univ. of Vermont, $39.95 (9781584650867).
Includes information about geography, weather, and natural history as well as population, government, and the economy.
The West Virginia Encyclopedia. Ed. by Ken Sullivan. 2006. 944p. West Virginia Humanities Council, $44.95 (9780977849802).
The slogan for this encyclopedia of the Mountain State is “all there is to know about West Virginia.” With 2,200 articles by 600 contributors, it covers biography, history, culture, and natural resources. An online version is set to launch on June 20, 2010.
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