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Drama 54-183/62-183 Writing History Plays: Secondary Resources

Secondary Resources

Secondary resources  are based in commentary, analysis or description outside the time and space frame of the historic person, creation or event.

  • biography, autobiography, newspaper articles, scholarly journal articles, dissertations, historical fiction...

Tertiary resources help organize and locate secondary and primary resources

  • bibliography, encyclopedias, dictionaries, historic surveys, timelines/chronologies, yearbooks...

Search Tips:

Seek out critical monographs dedicated to your topic, person or event. It will more quickly put you on your way to understanding the context and research landscape of your topic

Start your search:


Timelines are a great way to get a holistic view surrounding a person or an event and for understanding an era.


Library of Congress: American Memory Timeline

Oxford Reference Online Timelines

History World Timelines

Great Events from History Series

Empire Online
Click on the Chronology tab. This database covers many types of research resources regarding the rise and fall of Empires from Columbus to the 2nd half of the 20th century.

Grun, Bernard; Stein, The Timetables of History : a Horizontal Linkage of People and Events
HUNT FA-REF-4 D11 .G78 1991

Surveys, Encyclopedias and Biographical Dictionaries

Surveys, Encyclopedias and Biographical Dictionaries can provide concise information on your topic and help you put it in historical context.


American National Biography.  John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds.  New York: Oxford University Press..
HUNT-REF-1 CT213 .A68 1999 9  24 volumes
Each entry is written by a scholar and containing bibliography.

Layman, Richard, ed. American Decades. Detroit: Gale Research, c1994-c1995.
Covers 1900-1999

Appleby, Joyce Oldham., Cheng, Eileen K., and Goodwin, Joanne L. Encyclopedia of Women in American History. Armonk, N. Y: Sharpe Reference, 2002.

O’Dea, Suzanne. From Suffrage to the Senate : America’s Political Women : an Encyclopedia of Leaders, Causes & Issues . Third edition. Amenia, New York: Grey House Publishing, 2013.


Theses and Dissertations


Proquest Dissertations and Theses Global
Dissertations and theses from around the world, from 1861 to the present, with full text for most added since 1997.

Dissertations and Theses @ Carnegie Mellon
1920-present. Full text of some dissertations may be available rom 1997-present.

American Doctoral Dissertations, 1933-1955
100,000 dissertations from 1933 through 1955 accepted by U.S. universities during that period of time.



1955-present. A comprehensive database of journal articles citations and abstracts, book citations, and dissertations relating to the history and culture of the United States and Canada. Also has a non-US history counterpart, Historical Abstracts. You can also search America: History and Life and Historical Abstracts simultaneously.

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Quick Reference

Credo Reference
Online encyclopedias and dictionaries for the arts, literature and across disciplines.

Oxford Reference Online
Encyclopedias and dictionaries across all disciplines