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Material Culture Research : Investigating Things


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Anna Simon
Kohler Art Library
160b Elvehjem Building
800 University Ave.
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Grove Art Online (contained within Oxford Art Online). Extensive art encyclopedia provides historical context and bibliography. Search, e.g.: Norway, Vernacular Art, stereoscop*, dolls.

PRINT:  The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Homes Through American History


Possible primary sources:  Patterns, instruction books, do-it-yourself guides in popular magazines

Search the Library Catalog.  

Search Google Books, HathiTrust, Internet Archive

Letters and diaries

Possible primary sources: historical letters and diaries

Images of comparable objects

Possible image sources for comparative objects: Licensed image databases, museum collections online, historical photographs.

secondary sources

Possible secondary sources: Books, journal articles, dissertations, conference papers, and every form of scholarly communication may provide research findings compiled by other scholars.  Search broadly.  Also look at footnotes and bibliography to discover the original sources the author consulted.


Search for identification guides and historical overviews, such as