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One very easy way to start your research is to look in online encyclopedias that will provide an overview of basic background information on a topic. For instance, eLibrary, an online database paid for by the Library, contains several encyclpedias and almanacs in its Referece section. Wikipedia is a very handy tool for getting definitions and creating lists of key words that can be searched elsewhere.
Vogue Archive This resources is perfect for historical research because it has every issue completely available going back to the late 1800s, including ads, articles, etc. All searchable by key word and date range.
There are books which you can browse which will be extremely helpful to you in learning about the cultural, social, and historical context of a particular time or period.
|20th Century Day by Day: 100 years of News||Headlines and front pages of newspapers from 1900 through 1999. This should be your first stop to find out what else was going on for your time period.||Ref.
|This Fabulous Century
|One volume per decade beginning with 1900-1950. Overview of the popular culture of the period. Mostly images.||Ref.
|American Century: Art & Culture 1900-1950||Based on a Whitney exhibition, this is an in-depth overview of art of the period.||N 6512
|One volume per decade beginning with 1950s. Organized with chapters on world events, education, politics, lifestyles, media, the arts, etc.||Ref.
|Fashions of a Decade
|Just fashion. We have the '20s through the '90s.||Ref.
Hulton Getty Picture Collection
|One volume per decade. All pictures with captions. We have the '20s through the '70s.||D 426
Websites of Interest
|American Cultural History: The Twentieth Century||The purpose of these pages is to present a series of web guides on the decades of the twentieth century. The pages are prepared by the Reference Librarians. Period pictures used.
|Year by Year 1900-2001||
This site describes historic events of the twentieth century by year and by decade.