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Military History: Getting Started

Books not @Duke

Need materials that aren't in the Duke University Libraries' collections? The Document Delivery Department  (ILL) will contact other libraries and institutions on your behalf to get the items that you need. It takes just a few minutes to become a registered ILL user. Fill out the Interlibrary Loan Request Form at the Document Delivery page

Want to search for materials not held at Duke?  Try these options:

Catalog of libraries in US, Canada and beyond.

Search TRLN Search across the catalogs of Duke, UNC, NCSU and NCCU 

General Works

Researching Military History

 Many resources pertinent to Military History are included in this guide but it is not comprehensive.
Consult a librarian for assistance.

- Databases and Online Resources

America: History and Life     periodical articles, book chapters, dissertations- US only

Historical Abstracts    periodical articles, book chapters, dissertations- non-US

Air University Index to Military Periodicals   1990- online

PAIS International   1915- online
(Public Affairs Information Service)

- Electronic Reference  Resources-  You can search these in the catalog

Oxford Reference Online  Blackwell Reference Online
History Reference Online
Gale Virtual Reference

Dictionaries, encyclopedias and chronologes are all  useful for background. 

Generally these will be in the Reference Collections of Lilly and Perkins.

Many useful guides are online books through the Library Catalog


Encyclopedia of American military history

E181 .E63 2003   Perkins Library  and Lilly Library Reference Collection



Timelines of War : a chronology of warfare from 100,000 B.C. to the present

D25.A2 B76 1994   Lilly Library Reference Collection


Searching the Online Catalog


The Duke University Libraries catalog is the place to start to identify books, microforms, journals and other resources held in the Libraries' collections.

The Duke University Libraries contain a wealth of primary and secondary  materials for the researcher in U.S. history. The collections housed in the Rubenstein Special Collections Library  should not be overlooked.  One of the collecting strengths of the RBMSCL is in the area of  memoirs by people who participated in military actions.

Be sure to use the facets on the left-hand sidebar.  This will allow you to limit your search by format, language, and location, like Lilly Library.

In the collections of the libraries , primary resources take the form of published newspapers, periodicals, books, letters, diaries, and papers.  To identify these resources in the online catalog, look for the subdivisions, correspondence, interviews, sources, diaries and personal narratives. Any of these terms can be used in the keyword search mode; for example, revolutionary war correspondence.





Your Librarian

Profile Photo
Carson Holloway
Librarian for Military History, History of Science and Technology, Britain, Ireland and Commonwealth

Perkins and Lilly Libraries



World War I Photography Collections


 An unidentified American in Moscow ( c1918)

Duke's  Rubenstein Special Collections Library includes

many colllectioons of papers and photographs.