Chicano Studies 101 – Gamboa

Courtyard mural in downtown Tuscon, AZ

Courtyard mural in downtown Tuscon, AZ

About this guide
This guide provides students with suggested print and online resources for research in Mexican-American (Chicano) history. Your search for information can include books, articles, and credible Internet resources.

Use the tabs above to navigate through the guide.

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Have a question? Stop by the Reference Desk, or contact a librarian by phone, text, or chat for more help.Contact Us

Your Assignment
A research paper on a topic in Chicano history from 1900 to the present using at least five sources, including three from books, scholarly journals, newspapers, or primary sources.

The words you use to describe a topic may be different from the words used by the library catalog and databases. For example:

  • The library catalog refers to the Mexican-American War as “Mexican War, 1846-1848.”
  • Some resources use the term Mexican American, while others use Mexican-American.

If you have trouble finding information on your topic, try using different words to describe it, or ask a librarian for help choosing the best words to use in your search.

TIP: Some databases allow you to use an asterisk (*) in place of the end of a word, in order to find results with any ending. For example, searching for Chican* will return results with any of the following words: Chicano, Chicana, Chicanos, Chicanas.

Print Reference Sources

These resources are available in the Luria Library Reference section.

  • Dictionary of Hispanic Biography — R 920.009268 G151d
  • Encyclopedia Latina: History, Culture, and Society in the United States — R R 973.0468 S798e
  • Encyclopedia of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement — R 305.86872073 M511e
  • Handbook of Hispanic Cultures in the United States — R 973.0468 K16h
  • Hispanic American Almanac — R 973.0468 B474h (another copy is available in the non-fiction section – 973.0468 B474h)
  • Mexican American Biographies: A Historical Dictionary, 1836-1987 — R 920 M499m
  • The Mexican American Experience: An Encyclopedia — R 973.04 M511m
  • Racial and Ethnic Relations in America — R 305.8 B218rR
  • The Color of Words an Encyclopedic Dictionary of Ethnic Bias in the US — R 305.8 H538c
  • Ethnic Relations: A Cross-cultural Encyclopedia — R 305.8 L657e
  • Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity and Society — R 305.8 S294e
  • Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America — R 317.3 V413
  • Dictionary of American History — R 973.03 A194d

Online Reference Sources
These resources are available online. If you are off campus, you will be prompted to log in using your Pipeline account information.

Search the library catalog for books on your topic. Try using some of the keywords listed above.

These databases are available online. If you are off campus, you will be prompted to log in using your Pipeline account information.

This resource is only available from on campus.

Primary sources are first-person accounts or direct evidence of the topics or events you are researching. They may include letters, diaries, photographs, autobiographies, records (such as birth certificates or land deeds), treaties and other government documents, news footage and eyewitness articles, plays, movies, works of art, speeches, interviews, oral histories, memoirs, architectural plans, and many other kinds of artifacts.

To find primary sources related to Mexican-American history, try one of the resources listed below. For more detailed information about finding primary sources, see the Primary Source Materials research guide.

Luria Library Catalog
Some of the books in the library catalog include copies of primary sources. To find them, add one of the following keywords to your search:

  • personal narratives
    Sample search: “mexican war” and personal narratives
  • correspondence
    Sample search: immigrants and correspondence
  • diaries
  • interviews
  • manuscripts
  • speeches
  • letters
  • documents

Luria Library Databases
Some library databases contain primary source materials. When using these resources from off-campus, you’ll be prompted to log in with your Pipeline username and password.

  • History Reference Center: Primary source material in this database includes treaties, photos, maps and videos. Use the advanced search and select “primary source document” in the “publication type” menu.
  • JSTOR: Some journals found in JSTOR were published as early as the mid 19th century and could be considered primary sources depending on your research topic. Use the advanced search and limit your search by date to find materials written during a particular time period.

There are many freely available websites containing primary source material, usually sponsored by a university or a government agency. The following sites include primary sources related to Mexican American History:

  • American Memory — Library of Congress: Includes “written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience.” Check out the other Library of Congress digital collections as well.
  • Calisphere — University of California: Includes over 150,000 digitized text and images about California history and culture.
  • Making of America — University of Michigan: This project is a huge digital library of primary sources having to do with nineteenth-century American history.
  • Making of America — Cornell University: Contains approximately 5,000 books and journal volumes from the nineteenth-century imprints.
  • 19th Century Documents Project — Furman University: “When completed this collection will include accurate transcriptions of many important and representative primary texts from nineteenth century American history, with special emphasis on those sources that shed light on sectional conflict and transformations in regional identity.”
  • Online Archive of California — University of California: The OAC “provides free public access to detailed descriptions of primary resource collections” and “contains more than 220,000 digital images and documents.”
  • Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection — University of Texas: Includes historical maps from all over the world.

Finding good websites for college research can be difficult and time-consuming. Use the C.A.R.S. system to evaluate any websites you find:

  • Credibility: Is an author listed? What are the author’s credentials? Is there evidence of positive peer evaluation?
  • Accuracy:Is the date of the site current? Is the information complete and not too vague? Does the author acknowledge all views?
  • Reasonableness: Is the author fair and objective? Is the author concerned with the truth?
  • Support:Does the author provide support for the information? Are the sources listed?

Consider using some of the reliable websites below to find information on your topic: