Virtual Reference Desk - Humanities
Last update: June 4, 2014 ShareThis


Return to Virtual Reference Desk


American Institute of Architects -
Lots of information about the field of architecture for the professional and the public.  This site includes an architect finder, news, knowledge centers, and more.
Architecture of the Getty Center -
600 large full-color photographs made available online for self-exploration of the architecture of the J. Paul Getty Center in Los Angeles.

Art History Resources on the Web -
Chris Witcombe, Associate Professor, Art History Department, Sweet Briar College. Links organized by art historical period or culture. Look for architecture, architect, building name, etc.

The Arts and Crafts Society -
As well as providing a discussion forum and events calendar, features an Archive of research on the arts and crafts movement in America, 1890-1929.

Digital Archive of American Architecture -
Images of buildings sorted by architect, time period, and type of building.

Cities/Buildings Image Archive -
Photographs of buildings indexed by nations.

Great Buildings Online -
Database of building images that can be searched or browsed. Many entires include bibliography and architect information.

Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation -
Biography, a chronology of his projects and select events in his life, bibliography, and links to other useful Frank Lloyd Wright websites.

National Building Museum -
Database of building images that can be searched or browsed. Many entires include bibliography and architect information.

Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence -
"The Rudy Bruner Award Digital Archive (RBADA) provides access to award winning and fully documented urban design case studies. Intended as a resource for architecture students and practitioners as they study precedents in urban design, the Archive contains projects from 1987 to the present that have received the prestigious Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence."

State of Alabama Building Commission -
Provides online access to the state building code, contract documents, the manual of procedures, and administrative rules.


An American Ballroom Companion, Dance Instruction Manuals ca. 1490-1920 -
Over 200 social dance manuals presented by the Library of Congress.
George Balanchine Foundation -
A brief biography, bibliography, and videography on the renowned contemporary choreographer as well as news and events information from the Foundation.

New York City Ballet -
Includes a bibliography, discography, videography, and a link to the School of American Ballet.

Sapphire Swan Dance Directory -
A guide to all kinds of dance resources on the Internet.

Fine Arts

Archives of American Art -
The Smithsonian Institution's American art history site.  A growing digital collection allows online access to many of the AAA collections and exhibits.
Artcyclopedia  -
An index of images from 2,300 art sites and links to an estimated 180,000 works by 8,500 artists.  You can search by artist's name, title of work, or museum.  Or, you may browse by name, medium, subject, nationality, or a list of women artists.  The site also includes links to art news, Web sites, art museums, and sellers.
Art Images for College Teaching -
A database of images categorized in historical/style periods.

The Art History Research Centre -
A good beginning place for searching art history over the World Wide Web.

The Mother of All Art History Link Pages -
Had its beginnings at a 1995 University of Michigan workshop for art historians using computers.

Sculptor.Org -
A comprehensive resource for sculptors.

Venetian Painting in the Early Renaissance -
Offers seven paintings from the last quarter of the century of the 1400s with an overview of the period.

The Vincent Van Gogh Gallery -
An impressive site with images of over 4,000 of Van Gogh's works.  The site also includes a biography with references, chronology of his life and works, and sources for further study.

Cleveland Museum of Art -
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco -
The Frick Collection and Frick Art Reference Library -
A collection of Western European art from the Renaissance to the end of the nineteenth century that industrialist Henry Clay Frick bequeathed to the public.

The Getty Museum -
Google Art Project -
Access to museums around the world. You can zoom in for a closer examination of hundreds of pieces of art. You can also create and share your own collections.
Los Angeles Museum of Art -
The Metropolitan Museum of Art -
Museum of Modern Art -
A valuable resource for introductory research with its glimpses of recent exhibits, information about the departments of the Museum, and numerous links.

National Gallery of Art -
The National Gallery of Art: Index of American Design -
This index consists of more than 17,000 watercolors owned by the National Gallery.

The Rembrandt House Museum -
Exhibitions from the house in Breestraat, Amsterdam, where Rembrandt lived during his most successful years.

The Saint Louis Art Museum -
The official Web site of the oldest publically supported art museum in the country and one of the country's top ten most-visited museums.

Tate Modern -
Britain's national museum of modern art.

Yale University Art Gallery -
The Web site of the oldest university art museum in North America.


Ethnologue: Languages of the World -
The online version of the reputable print reference work that seeks to catalog all of the world's known languages.  You can search by language name, language family, or country. Entries include number of speakers, regions where the language is spoken, and more information about the use and development of the language.

Human Languages Page -
A comprehensive catalog of language-related Internet resources, including over 2000 links.

Learn Spanish -
A commercial site with free online tutorials for learning Spanish. Each lesson includes a cultural lesson both in English and Spanish (many with links to additional resources), practice exercises, and a test. Words in the lessons and the cultural files are linked to sound files so you can hear the correct pronunciation. Also has a list of the top ten phrases that don't translate well and a random idiom generator.

LOGOS Dictionary -
7,580,560 entries in 31 languages.

Yamada Language Guides -
Links to resources of all types on world languages, organized by language. From the Yamada Language Center at the University of Oregon.


American Literature
The Academy of American Poets -
Browse or search for information on modern American poetry.
American Authors on the Web -
A large list of American literature links collected by a professor at Nagoya University in Japan.

American Literary Classics -
Full-text of thirty-two classics of American literature.

American Verse Project -
Search more than 50 volumes of American poetry written prior to 1920.

American Writers -
Companion web site for a C-SPAN special series, this site offers an in-depth look at 45 American writers who helped shape the nation, featuring biographical and historical background information for each featured author.

Electronic Archives for Teaching the American Literatures -
Essays, syllabi, bibliographies, and other resources for teaching the multiple literatures of the United States, designed as a complementary resource to the electronic discussion list, T-AMLIT, created and maintained by the Center for Electronic Projects in American Culture Studies (CEPACS) at Georgetown University's American Studies Program.

The Internet Guide to Mississippi Writers -
Biographies, information about their books, and bibliographies of other information sources, including literary criticism.

Modern American Poetry -
Biographies, literary criticism (some created for the site and some that has been published in literary journals or books), historical background, and bibliographies.
Native American Authors -
Bibliographies, biographical information, and links to online resources including interviews, online texts and tribal websites.

PAL: Perspectives in American Literature -
A searchable 278 page research and reference guide by Paul P. Reuben, Professor of English at California State University, Stanislaus.

Voice of the Shuttle American Literature Page -
Links to full text, criticism, teaching resources, and journals.

American Authors

Elizabeth Bishop 
Elizabeth Bishop - Academy of American Poets -
Biography, selected bibliography, a few full-text poems, including one with an audio link of the poem read by the author.

Elizabeth Bishop: American Poet
Biography, a lengthy (but not complete) bibliography, and other links of interest.

Kelly Cherry 
Diana Awaiting her Death in the Colosseum -
A sample of her work in Cortland Review.

Field Notes -
The poem as it appeared in The Atlantic Monthly.

Gethsemane -
The poem as it appeared in The Atlantic Monthly.

Saturday's Child -
The work as it appeared in Cortland Review.

Emily Dickinson 

The Dickinson Electronic Archives -
Writings by the Dickinson family, responses to their writings, critical resources and teaching aids from the University of Virginia's Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities.

The Dickinson Homestead -
In addition to information about the center, there is a good list of links to electronic resources for further study.

Early Nineteenth Century: Emily Dickinson -
From PAL: Perspectives in American Literature.

Emily Dickinson -
From The Academy of American Poets.

Emily Dickinson -
The 3rd volume of her poems at

Emily Dickinson, 1830-1886 -
From Modern American Poetry.

Emily Dickinson International Society -
Includes a calendar of events and scholar registry.

T.S. Eliot  
T.S. Eliot -
His works at

T.S. Eliot Academy of American Poets Page -
A brief biography including list of works with links to other resources about Eliot.

Ralph Waldo Emerson  
Emerson: A Visionary Life -
Ralph Waldo Emerson - Texts
Ralph Waldo Emerson -

William Faulkner  
Mississippi Writers Page on William Faulkner
William Faulkner on the Web -

Robert Frost  
A Frost Bouquet -
An exhibition at the University of Virginia.

The Frost Trail -
Robert Frost -
From the Academy of American Poets' site.

Robert Frost: America's Poet -
Robert Frost Reading His Poems -

Ernest Hemingway  
Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park -
Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum -
Hemingway Resource Center -
Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center -
Picturing Hemingway: A Writer and His Times -

Langston Hughes  
Harlem Renaissance - Langston Hughes -
From PAL, Perspectives in American Literature.

Langston Hughes -
From the Academy of American Poets.

Langston Hughes -
From Modern American Poetry.

Harper Lee 
Harper Lee Teaching Resources -
Monroe County Heritage Museum -
The Courthouse on the town square, which now houses the Monroe County Heritage Museums, served as a model for the famed courtroom scene from the book.

Robert Lowell 
Robert Lowell -
From the Academy of American Poets.

Robert Lowell, 1917-1977 -
From Modern American Poetry.

Flannery O'Connor  
The Flannery O'Connor Andalusia Foundation -
Sylvia Plath 
Sylvia Plath -
From the Academy of American Poets.

A Wind of Such Violence -

Edgar Allan Poe 
Edgar Allan Poe Historic Site -
The Edgar Allan Poe Society -
Knowing Poe -
A Poe Webliography -
Carl Sandburg 
Carl Sandburg: Chicago Poems -
Carl Sandburg -
From the Academy of American Poets.

Mark Twain  
Everything Mark Twain -
Mark Twain in His Times -

Eudora Welty 
Eudora Welty
From the Mississippi Writers Page.

Eudora Welty Foundation -
Eudora Welty Newsletter -
Walt Whitman 
Walt Whitman: Poet at Work -
From the Library of Congress.

Walt Whitman Hypertext Archive -
From the University of Virginia's Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities.

Classical & Biblical 
The Bible Gateway -
Search the Bible in ten languages (English, German, Swedish, Latin, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Tagalog, Norwegian) and multiple versions.

Christian Classics Ethereal Library -
A large on-line library of classic Christian books for download or browsing.

Early Church Fathers -
A large collection of writings from the first 800 years of the Church.

The Internet Classics Archive -
441 works of classical literature by 59 authors.

Online Medieval and Classical Library -
A Berkeley's SunSite resource.

The Perseus Project -
A comprehensive, searchable classical culture site, featuring online texts and images.

Anthology of Middle English Literature (1350 - 1485) -
Primary texts, author biographies, and articles on Middle English literature.  This site also includes links for further study.

Comitatus -
A journal of Medieval and Renaissance studies.

Early Modern Literary Studies -
A refereed journal with full-text criticisms available for free on the Web.  Use the Search EMLS link near the bottom of the first page to find articles on your particular work or author.

Digital Dante -
Columbia University's Institute for Learning site on Dante that includes Dante's work, essays on his work, bibliography, images, news and more.

Internet Medieval Sourcebook -
A large database divided into three categories: an index of selected and excerpted texts, full-text sources, and a section devoted to the Saints Lives.

The Labyrinth: Manuscripts -
Histories, bibliographies, and digital images of manuscripts from the Middle Ages. You can also scroll to the bottom

The Middle English Collection -
A large library of Middle English works made available through the University of Virginia's Electronic Text Center.

Renaissance & 17th Century 
Comitatus -
A journal of Medieval and Renaissance studies.

Early Modern Literary Studies -
A refereed journal with full-text criticisms available for free on the Web.  Use the Search EMLS link near the bottom of the first page to find articles on your particular work or author.

Luminarium: 16th Century Renaissance English Literature (1485-1603) -
This site provides author bios, bibliographies, essays, and links to additional sources about approximately 30 of the most notable figures of the period.

Luminarium: Early 17th Century English Literature (1603-1660) -
This site provides author bios, bibliographies, essays, and links to additional sources about over 30 of the most notable figures of the period.

Renaissance Electronic Texts - "A series of old-spelling, SGML-encoded editions of early individual copies of English Renaissance books and manuscripts, and of plain transcriptions of such works."
English Literature: Early 17th Century (1603-1660) -
Biographies and the works of John Donne, Ben Jonson, Francis Bacon, Edward, Lord Herbert of Chirbury, Robert Herrick, Lady Mary Wroth, Henry Vaughan, John Milton, Andrew Marvell, Thomas Carew, Richard Lovelace and Sir John Suckling.

18th Century 
18th Century E-Texts -
A searchable catalog of 18th century texts available on the Web.

Early Modern Literary Studies -
A refereed journal with full-text criticisms available for free on the Web.  Use the Search EMLS link near the bottom of the first page to find articles on your particular work or author.

Restoration & 18th Century Literature -
A directory of links to 18th Century resources maintained by representatives from the University of California Santa Barbara's English Department.

Complete Works of William Shakespeare -
An award-winning site offering a chronological/alphabetical listing of the plays in the categories of comedy, history, tragedy, and poetry, with a searchable concordance and with selected words linked to their definitions.

Early Modern Literary Studies -
A refereed journal with full-text criticisms available for free on the Web.  Use the Search EMLS link near the bottom of the first page to find articles on your particular work or author.

Open Source Shakespeare -
Full-text access to the plays, sonnets, and poems. This site also includes advanced searching, a concordance, character lists, and statistics about the texts.

Shakespeare and the Globe: Then and Now (Encyclopedia Britannica) -
An information rich Web site with essays on Shakespeare's life, his work, and his contemporaries.  It also includes study guides and a bibliography of works which can be viewed by date written, title, type, characters, or settings.

Ethnicities & Nationalities 
Literatures Other Than English -
The Voice of the Shuttle's extensive directory on world literature and related resources organized by country.

Voices from the Gaps: Women Writers of Color -
An instructional site focusing on the lives and works of women writers of color.

Romantic Circles -
A Web site devoted to the study of Romantic-period literature and culture.

Romanticism on the Net -
Romanticism on the Net is an International Refereed Electronic Journal devoted to British Romantic studies.  You can search the articles database or view articles by issue.  This site also includes an excellent directory of other Romanticism Web sites.

English Literature, Victorian Period -
From the Academic Info directory.

Literary Resources: Victorian British -
Part of the Literary Resources collection maintained by Jack Lynch at Rutgers.

Victorian Studies on the Web -
Information on every important publication from 1945 to 1999 on every area of Victorian Studies.

Victorian Women Writers Project -
Transcriptions of literary works by British women writers of the 19th century, encoded using SGML. Works include anthologies, novels, political pamphlets, poetry and verse drama.

Women's Literature & Feminism 
A Celebration of Women Writers -
Recognizes the contributions of women writers throughout history.

Distinguished Women of Past and Present -
Biographies of women who contributed to our culture in many different ways, including writers, educators, scientists, heads of state, politicians, civil rights crusaders, artists, entertainers, and others.

Victorian Women's Writer's Project -
Transcriptions of works by British women writers of the 19th century, including anthologies, novels, political pamphlets, religious tracts, children's books, and volumes of poetry and verse drama.

Voices from the Gaps: Women Writers of Color -
An instructional site focusing on the lives and works of women writers of color.

Women Come to the Front -
A Library of Congress exhibition on women journalists, photographers, and broadcasters during World War II.

Bibliography & History of the Book 
Alabama Center for the Book -
The Alabama affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book.  This Web site provides information about events, programs, and resources.

Bibliographical Society of America -
The Society's papers and an extensive list of Web links.

Bibliography and History of the Book -
Part of the Literary Resources collection maintained by Jack Lynch at Rutgers.

Resources for the History of Books and Printing -
Extensive links compiled by Daniel Traister at the University of Pennsylvania.

Abstracts, papers, and conferences, as well as extensive related links from the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading & Publishing.

Writing Materials & The History of Books and Printing: Some Related Links -
A collection of Web sites on the history of paleography, the book and the printing press.

Full Text Sources Online 
Christian Classics Ethereal Library -
A large on-line library of classic Christian books for download or browsing, many available in a variety of formats including pdf, Microsoft or Adobe e-book reader, HTML, and zipped for easy downloading.

Early American Fiction -
A collection of American fiction from 1789-1875.

Electronic Text Collections in Western European Literature -
German, Italian, French, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, and others.

Page by Page Books -
Hundreds of classic books, from Aesop to H. G. Wells and everything in between, all in convenient page-by-page format.

Project Bartleby -
A large collection of verse, fiction, encyclopedias, quotation dictionaries, and other reference works.  Many reference works are available in later editions in print, so be aware of possible updates to information provided in older editions.

Project Gutenburg
The oldest producer of free electronic books most from pre-1923.

Cambridge History of English and American Literature -
All eighteen volumes of this distinguished scholarly encyclopedia assembled from 1907 to 1921.

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable -
Browse the dictionary by alphabet.

Dictionary of Symbolism -
Browse alphabetically or search the index.

The Literary Encyclopedia and the Literary Dictionary -
Edited by Robert Clark and other professors of English at various universities..

Representative Poetry Online -
Poetry edited by members of the Department of English at the University of Toronto from 1912 to the present, including over 2,000 poems by 310 poets.

Theatre & Drama 
Applied & Interactive Theater Guide -
A resource for those who use theatre techniques for other or more than arts or entertainment purposes, and for those whose theatre styles incorporate other than traditional presentation styles.

A Brief Guide to Internet Resources in Theatre and Performance Studies -
Maintained by Ken McCoy of Stetson University, this site lists Internet resources divided into five major sections: those McCoy finds most helpful, Web resources by topic (actors and acting, stagecraft, etc.),other ways to connect (discussion lists, for example), and other guides.

Dramatists Play Service, Inc. -
Publishing new plays since 1936, the Dramatists Play Service offers a handy directory for identifying and purchasing specific plays.

Glossary of Technical Theatre Terms -
A 1500+ word and growing catalog of theatre terms that can be searched or browsed by keyword or category.  This glossary is maintained in the UK, but U.S. terms are included and some terms are equivalent.

Irish Literature, Mythology, Folklore, and Drama -
An extensive collection of resources including history, literature, language, and culture of the Irish.

WWW Virtual Library of Theatre and Drama -
A gateway to resources in more than fifty countries around the world, for professionals, amateurs, academics and students of all ages.

Essential Comparative Literature and Literary Theory site from the University of Pennsylvania.

The Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory & Criticism -
On-line version of the extensive print guide to theory and criticism.

Illuminations: The Critical Theory Website -
A project at the University of Texas including commentary on the works of the Frankfurt School of thought.

Literary Theory Page -
The Voice of the Shuttle comprehensive directory of resources on Theory from the Classical period to modern day.


American Music Resource -
Provides bibliographies, lists, Internet links and text-files covering all styles of American music and related issues.

American Music Center: Online Library -
Three searchable libraries - the Scores library of over 30,000 scores, a catalog of American music for young audiences, and a recordings library.  The site also includes a virtual library and listening room updated daily by the composers themselves.

Publishing & Record Labels 
Record Labels on the Web
Searchable database of over 24,000 record labels on the Web. 

A-R Editions, Inc. -
Publisher of scholarly editions of music and books dealing with music.

Societies & Organizations  
American Federation of Musicians -
The largest union for professional musicians.  This site provides music business resources (such as booking agents, news, and conferences) and information about music schools and scholarships.

American Musicological Society -
"Founded in 1934 as a non-profit organization to advance research in the various fields of music as a branch of learning and scholarship."

The College Music Society -
A consortium of college and university musicians.

International Association for the Study of Popular Music -
Lots of resources and papers on popular music study.

National Association for Music Education  -
The Web site of the National Association for Music Education.

Music Theory  
Music History 102 -
A guide to Western composers and their music from the middle ages to the present.

Society for Music Theory -
Information about the society, access to full-text journals, and links to highly relevant resources in music theory.

Classical and Early Music  
Classical Net -
Provides wide array of information about classical music with over 4200 files at the site and over 2500 links to other web sites.

The Classical Music Navigator -
A project conceived by Dr. Charles H. Smith, Associate Professor of Library Public Services at Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green.

Mudcat Cafe -
A site devoted to traditional folk music, it includes a lyrics database.  This site goes offline from time to time due to lack of funding, but is worth retrying for its unique content.

"Now What a Time": Blues, Gospel, and the Fort Valley Music Festivals -
From the Library of Congress' American Memory Site's Folklife Center, this online collection consists of sound recordings, primarily blues and gospel songs, and related documentation created by John Wesley Work III in 1941 and by Lewis Jones and Willis Laurence James in March, June, and July 1943 at the folk festival at Fort Valley College, now Fort Valley State University, Fort Valley, Georgia.

Southern Mosaic: The John and Ruby Lomax 1939 Southern States Recording Trip -
From the Library of Congress' American Memory Site's Folklife Center, is a multi-format ethnographic field collection which includes nearly 700 sound recordings (102 of which are performed in Spanish), fieldnotes, dust jackets, and other manuscripts documenting a three-month, 6,502 mile trip through the Southern United States collecting folksongs.

The International Lyrics Server -
A searchable database of over two million songs.

Mudcat Cafe -
A site devoted to traditional folk music, it includes a lyrics database.


Full-Text Speech Collections 
American Rhetoric: Online Speech Bank -
A "database of 5000+ full text, audio and video (streaming) versions of public speeches, sermons, legal proceedings, lectures, debates, interviews, other recorded media events, and a declaration or two."

Gifts of Speech: Women's Speeches From Around the World -
A database of full-text speeches made by influential women from around the world.  The database primarily contains speeches made after 1900.

History and Politics Outloud -
A "searchable multimedia database of audio relevant to American history and politics" funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Speaking Tips  
Toastmasters International -
Web site to the well known speakers' association.  It includes 10 tips for public speaking.

CMU Pronouncing Dictionary -
A "machine-readable pronunciation dictionary for North American English that contains over 125,000 words and their transcriptions."

Voice of America Pronunciation Guide -
The Voice of America pronunciation database for people and places.  It includes audio for each entry.

Sources for Argumentative/Persuasive Speeches 
Public Agenda -
A "nonpartisan opinion research organization" that provides indepth issue guides, research studies, and polling data on the Web.


Alabama Writer's Forum -
The statewide literary arts organization of Alabama.
On the Art of Writing -
By Arthur Quiller-Couch, online at

Online Writing Lab, Purdue University -
Online materials, links, and services designed to help writers and researchers.

Paradigm - Online Writing Assistant -
Helpful to the student in choosing a topic, writing the information, exploratory, and argumentative essays, editing, revising, etc.

Power Reporting Resources for Journalists -
Created by Pulitzer Prize winnning journalist Bill Dedman (Univ. of Maryland), this site links helpful journalism resources in 62 categories.