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Department of American Studies College of Arts and Sciences

Research Resources

Indiana University, the Bloomington and Monroe county communities, and the surrounding areas possess many rich resources for the study of American society and culture. Some are obvious and well-known, others are relatively obscure gems. What follows is a sample--suggested by our faculty and by no means exhaustive--of these materials, with links to other home pages which describe them in more detail. We hope following these links will not only highlight the vast possibilities for research in American Studies at IU, but will also lead American Studies scholars to other potential research collections and topics described by or available on the Internet.


Main Library

The Indiana University Library ranks among the leading academic libraries in the United States, containing more than five million volumes with special collections and concentrated holdings in such important areas as American history, literature, and folklore.

The Lilly Library of rare books and manuscripts is of major interest of students of American culture. Among its significant collections are the papers of Upton Sinclair, Orson Welles, Sylvia Plath, Wendell Willkie, Paul McNutt, and many Indiana public figures. It possesses a large body of materials dealing with Abraham Lincoln and has important resources for research on the Old Northwest, Western Americana, the history of American education and publishing, American popular music and culture, and the riverboat industry. Some of the larger literary collections are those of Poe, Cooper, Hawthorne, Mark Twain, Howells, Whitman, Frost, Wharton, Pound, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and William Carlos Williams. The Lilly also has a sizeable collection of materials related to film, radio, and television.

The department of African American & African Diaspora Studies administers the African American Cultural Center Libary.


The Indiana University Archives has comprehensive institutional records as well as faculty and administrator papers.

The world-renowned IU School of Music maintains the Archives of Traditional Music.


IU Art MuseumThe Indiana University Art Museum, designed by I.M. Pei and opened in 1981, contains over 25,000 items.

The William Hammond Mathers Museum (formerly Indiana University Museum) was founded as a research, teaching, and exhibition arm of the departments of Anthropology, Folklore, and History, and serves as a repository for collections of significance to these disciplines.

The Wylie House Museum, situated in the home of IU’s first president, Andrew Wylie, is the only historic house museum in Monroe County and is dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of local history.

Schools, Departments, and Programs

Current American Studies faculty and students are drawn from the schools and departments of:

In addition, several interdisciplinary programs support American Studies initiatives and scholarship. They include:

Centers and Institutes

The Black Film Center/Archive is a repository of films and related materials by and about African Americans.

Bloomington is also the home for the Folklore Institute, a national center for the promotion of research and publication in the field, and one of the few institutions of its kind in the country. Among its fine collections are many important examples of American art.

The Glenn Black Laboratory of Archaeology specializes in midwestern sites.

The Kinsey Institute is a private corporation affiliated with Indiana University that researches, collects, and disseminates information about sex, gender, and reproduction.

The Center for the Study of History and Memory is devoted to the collection, preservation, and interpretation of memories and oral traditions. The center takes a special interest in American history in general and the history of Indiana and the midwest in particular.

The School of Philanthropy at IUPUI promotes research on the theory and practice of philanthropy in America.


Indiana University is the location for the editorial offices of two of the most prestigious historical journals in the country, the American Historical Review and the Journal of American History.

Other Collections

Many Indiana University departments are associated with other resources in Bloomington and the surrounding region that are of interest to American Studies scholars. For example, the Philosophy department in Bloomington maintains ties with the Charles S. Peirce Edition project, now based at Indiana University/Purdue University in Indianapolis. As another example, the History department cooperates with the Indiana Historical Society in Indianapolis to edit and publish a scholarly journal, The Indiana Magazine of History.