Best Nonfiction Books – Reading Guides for Nonfiction – Bibliographies


Free online guides and bibliographies for the best nonfiction books in many fields, including Biographies, Genealogy, Social Sciences, Education, Business, History, Science, Arts, and Music. Early 20th to 21st Centuries.

 
Hint: When a book you want to borrow at Internet Archive is already checked out, go to the Internet Archive’s ‘Search’ box, check “Search Metadata”, and search for the book’s title. Sometimes they have two or more copies.


Century Past Library

-Directory-

 

Biography

Genealogy

Social Sciences, Business

Humanities, History

Travel

Science and Technology

Government Sources and Information

Arts, Music

 

Bibliography Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Bibliography”. Be patient as the page loads.

What do I Read Next? Nonfiction, 2005-2010: A Reader’s Guide to Current Nonfiction

Campbell, Anita et al.
Gale 2011        Dewey Dec.    016

Authored by a team of ‘genre experts’, the book is divided into genre chapters for Arts and Humanities, Biographies and Memoirs, Business, Health and wellness, History, Pop Culture, Science and Social Sciences. Each of the 1,372 entries includes a summary paragraph, references for where the book was reviewed, other books by the same author, and other similar books. Extensive author, title and subject indexes are at the back.

Standard Catalog for Public Libraries; Philosophy, Religion and General Works Section

An Annotated List of 1000 Titles with a full Analytical Index

Wilson, H.W.; Sears, Minnie Earl, comp.
Wilson 1932        Dewey Dec.    016, 016.1, 016.2

Of the 1,000 titles, about 170 are in Dewey Class 000 (General Works), about 350 in Class 100 (Philosophy), and about 480 are in Class 200 (Religion). About 335 additional titles are mentioned in the entry notes.


Biography

Biography Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Biography”. Be patient as the page loads.

Biography and Autobiography Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Biography and Autobiography”. Be patient as the page loads.

African American Biography Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “African Americans – Biography”. Be patient as the page loads.

Notable Women in World History: A Guide to Recommended Biographies and Autobiographies

Adamson, Lynda G.
Greenwood 1998        Dewey Dec.    016

“The entries are arranged alphabetically by last name with appropriate cross-references for alternative designations. Each contains the woman’s name, key dates, occupation or avocation, and birthplace. A short biographical sketch about parents, education, general achievement, and recognition or awards follows. Women of all time periods are included. . . . Because it includes only those born outside the U.S., it complements sources on American women. Notable Women in World History is a useful addition to academic, public, and high-school libraries. It would be especially useful for women’s studies collections.” -Booklist

See our Guides to Best Fiction

Index to Contemporary Biography and Criticism

Hefling, Helen and Richards, Eva
Faxon 1929        Dewey Dec.    012

The index is for collections of biography and criticism, not individual biographies or works of criticism. In addition to literary figures, the index covers persons in the arts, science, politics, and other fields. Most persons covered were born around 1850 or after.

Read On … Biography: Reading Lists for Every Taste

Roche, Rick
Libraries Unlimited 2008        Dewey Dec.    016

“A readers’ advisory guide, with information about 450 biography titles, most published within the last decade, but including some classic titles as well… Written specifically with librarians and their patrons in mind, this title will be invaluable in public, high school and college libraries.” -Publisher

Viewpoints in Biography; an Arrangement of Books According to their Essential Interest

Tappert, Katherine
American Library Assoc. 1921        Dewey Dec.    012

Selected biographical literature, arranged according to distinct interests such as adventure, American Indians, art, etc.; brief annotations, with subject indexes.- A.L.A. Catalog 1912-1921

Standard Catalog: Biography Section

Wilson, H.W.; Baker, Corinne, comp.
Wilson 1919        Dewey Dec.    012

One thousand titles of the most representative, interesting and useful biographies.- A.L.A. Catalog 1926

Standard Catalog for Public Libraries: Biography Section

Second Edition Revised and Enlarged. About 1,150 Titles of the Most Representative, Interesting and Useful Biographies

Wilson, H.W.; Sears, Minnie Earl, comp.
Wilson 1927        Dewey Dec.    012

Many thousands of books published before 1923 (and a smaller number of more recent books) are available online for free. That includes most of the titles found in these bibliographies. Learn how to find them at: Searching for Free eBooks


Genealogy

Genealogy Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Genealogy”. Be patient as the page loads.

Printed Sources: A Guide to Published Genealogical Records

Meyerink, Kory L.
Ancestry 1998        Dewey Dec.    016

The book opens with an “introductory chapter that highlights categories of research, the evaluation of records, interlibrary loan, and even the Dewey Decimal system. Editor Meyerink then divides the book into four sections encompassing background information (how-to-books, atlases), finding aids, printed original records, and compiled records (family histories, periodicals).” -Libr J

A Student’s Guide to Irish American Genealogy

McKenna, Erin
Oryx Press 1996        Dewey Dec.    016.9

A guide to genealogical research in the United States and Ireland for Irish Americans. Includes information on the history of Irish immigration.

A Student’s Guide to German American Genealogy

Robl, Gregory
Oryx Press 1996        Dewey Dec.    016.9

Discusses German and German American history and culture with specific instructions for researching German family history.


Social Sciences, Business

A Guide to the Study of Occupations. A Selected Critical Bibliography of the Common Occupations with Specific References for their Study

Allen, Frederick James
Harvard 1921        Dewey Dec.    016.3

The volume contains unannotated lists of books for each occupation, a 70-page annotated bibliography of books, and a list of about 250 class and trade journals.

Reader’s Guide in Economic, Social and Political Science (Economic Tracts)

Bowker,R. R., & Iles, George, ed.
Society for Political Education 1891        Dewey Dec.    016.3 Rf

Class list with concise notes indicating scope and relative value. Suggestions for reading, citation of authorities, bibliographic helps, etc., introduce each subject.
– – A.L.A.Catalog 1904

Bibliography of Municipal Problems and City Conditions

Brooks, R. C.
Reform club 1901        Dewey Dec.    016.3 Rf

The Social Sciences: A Cross-Disciplinary Guide to Selected Sources

Herron, Nancy L., ed.
Wilson 1932       

General Social Sciences – Political Science – Economics – Business – History – Law & Legal Issues – Anthropology – Sociology – Education – Psychology – Geography – Communication –

The Reader’s Adviser: The Best in General Reference Literature, the Social Sciences, History, and the Arts

Kaufman, Paula T., ed.
R.R. Bowker 1986        Dewey Dec.    016.3

Reference Books-General; Dictionaries; General Biography and Autobiography; Social Sciences; Education; Ancient History; United States History; Western Hemisphere – Canada and Latin America; British History; World History; Music and Dance; Art and Architecture; Mass Media; Folklore and Humor; Travel and Exploration

Social Science Reference Sources: A Practical Guide

Li, Tze-chung
Greenwood 2000       

1: Social Sciences in General; Reference sources in an electronic age – Research resources in the social sciences – Access to sources – Sources of Information – Statistical sources – Periodicals – Government publications.
2: Sub disciplines of the Social Sciences: Cultural Anthropology – Business – Economics – Education – Geography – History – Law – Political Science – Psychology – Sociology

Handbook of Labor Literature

Marot, Helen, comp.
Philadelphia Free Library of Economic and Political Science 1899        Dewey Dec.    016.3 Rf

Classed and annotated list of more important books and pamphlets in English. Articles in periodicals not included. Notes descriptive rather than critical. Lists of labor song books and labor and general sociologic periodicals, publishers’ addresses, author index.
– – A.L.A.Catalog 1904

Catalog of Literature for Advisers of Young Women and Girls

Pierce, Anna Eloise
Wilson 1921        Dewey Dec.    016.3

“An annotated list of about two thousand titles of the most representative and useful books and periodical articles for the use of Deans and Advisors of women and girls; Heads of women’s schools; Instructors of young women …” [goes on to list many other types of advisors to young women]
The contents are organized under about 50 selected subject categories in the Dewey Decimal system.

Social Workers’ Guide to the Serial Publications of Representative Social Agencies

Rushmore, Elsie Mitchell, ed.
Russell Sage 1921        Dewey Dec.    016.3

About 4000 publications received by the Russell Sage foundation are listed and also grouped by subject.

Standard Catalog: Social Sciences Section

Second Edition Revised and Enlarged. About 1,300 Titles of the Most Representative and Useful Books on Social, Economic and Educational Questions

Wilson, H.W.; Bacon, Corinne, comp.
Wilson 1927        Dewey Dec.    016.3

Questions of the Hour; Social, Economic, Industrial. Study Outlines

based on twenty-two volumes in the Debaters’ Handbook Series and the Handbook Series

Wilson, Justina Leavitt, preparer
White Plains, NY: H. W. Wilson 1917        Dewey Dec.    16.3

30-page bibliography, usually with one page or less devoted to each social issue. For every issue a few topics are listed with about three or four of the best sources for each. Topics are:

Immigration – Child Labor – Employment of Women – Mothers’ Pensions – Woman Suffrage – Prohibition of the Liquor Traffic – Unemployment – Minimum Wage – Organization of Labor- Open versus Closed Shop- Municipal Ownership – Federal Control of Interstate Corporations – Taxation – Agricultural Credit – Compulsory Insurance – Socialism – Monroe Doctrine – National Defense – World Peace

Modern Social Movements; Descriptive Summaries and Bibliographies

Zimand, Savel
NY: Wilson 1921        Dewey Dec.    16.3, 330

Chapter headings are:

Trade unionism – The Cooperative Movement – Proposed Experiments in Industrial Democracy:(Copartnership, National Industrial Councils, The Plumb Plan); – The Single Tax – Socialism – Guild Socialism – Syndicalism – Bolshevism – Anarchism

The Debaters’ Handbook Series

In the first decades of the 20th century publisher H.W. Wilson produced many volumes in its Debaters’ Handbook Series on social and political issues that were under discussion at the time. Each book contains the full text of selected articles and documents representing opposing views on the issue, along with a substantial bibliography of books and articles.

Most of the books mentioned in these guides are likely to be freely available online. Search by title; first at the Internet Archive (archive.org), then at HathiTrust.org. Referenced magazine articles may also be available online at the same sites, with HathiTrust the preferred site for magazines.

– Selected Articles on Capital Punishment

-Selected Articles on Child Labor

– Selected Articles on Compulsory Insurance

– Selected Articles on the Conservation of Natural Resources

– Selected Articles on the Employment of Women

– Selected Articles on Government Ownership of Telegraph and Telephone

– Selected Articles on Immigration

– Selected Articles on the Income Tax, with special reference to graduation and exemption

– Selected Articles on Minimum Wage

– Selected Articles on National Defense

– Selected Articles on Unemployment

– Selected Articles on Woman Suffrage

Encyclopedia of Business Information Sources: Europe

Balachandran, M., ed.
Wilson 1932       

Encyclopedia of Business Information Sources, Vol 1: A-L

Encyclopedia of Business Information Sources, Vol 2: M-Z

Burton, Virgil L., ed.
Gale, Cengage Learning 2011       

Hundreds of subjects are covered.

The 100 Best Business Books of All Time: What They Say, Why They Matter, and How They Can Help You

Covert, Jack and Sattersten, Todd
Portfolio 2009        Dewey Dec.    016.6

“Covert and Sattersten operate 800-CEO-READ, a specialty business-book retailer. Out of the countless business books they have read every year for a quarter century, they have culled 100 of the best and presented them in review format. . . . This list and the fine reviews are proof positive that business books can offer a rich treasure of stories and inspiration.” -Booklist

2400 Business Books, and Guide to Business Literature

Morley, Linda H. and Kight, Adelaide C.
Wilson 1920        Dewey Dec.    016.6

A useful dictionary catalog containing many analytics. The selection is usually limited to business practice and special businesses and trades.
“…the book is more than a list of 2400 volumes. It is an index to the contents of those volumes; that is, it lists, in alphabetic order, under 2000 different headings, the subjects which are treated in these 2400 books.”
– From the Introduction.

Many thousands of books published before 1923 (and a smaller number of more recent books) are available online for free. That includes a large share of the titles found in these bibliographies. Learn how to find them at: Searching for Free eBooks

Strauss’s Handbook of Business Information: A Guide for Librarians, Students, and Researchers

Moss, Rita W.
Libraries Unlimited 2004       

“The first seven chapters cover business information according to the formats in which it is made available: Guides – Bibliographies and quick reference sources – Directories – Periodicals and newspapers – Loose-leaf services – Government documents – Statistics – Examples of different types of electronic sources.
The second part covers specific topics within the area of business. Included are chapters on marketing, money, credit, and banking; and the many aspects of investment ranging from stocks through bonds, mutual funds, and futures and options.” – Book cover

Bibliography of Domestic Economy

Shaw, Robert Kendall
New York State Library 1901        Dewey Dec.    640, 016.6

Books in these categories:
– Economics of Consumption – Food, cooking, kitchen – Gastronomy, eating, dining room – Shelter, house, home – Heat, light, ventilation – Furniture, carpets, upholstery – Clothing, toilet, etc. – Administration, household management – Sanitary precautions, cleaning, etc. – Nursery, sick room

Home Economics: A Bibliography for High Schools

State College of Washington Department of Home Economics
State College of Washington 1913        Dewey Dec.    016.6

Books are recommended under four categories:

-Food and Nutrition – Textiles, Clothing, and Home Furnishing – Sanitation – Home Management

REFERENCE – Bibliographies & Indexes, HOUSE & HOME – General, EDUCATION – Vocational


Humanities, History

The Humanities: A Selective Guide to Information Sources

Blazek, Ron, Aversa, Elizabeth
Libraries Unlimited 1988        Dewey Dec.    011

Covers the accessing of information and the principal information sources in: Philosophy, Religion, Mythology, Folklore, Visual Arts and the Performing Arts.

Regimental Publications & Personal Narratives of the Civil War: A Checklist

Dornbusch, Charles Emil
NY: New York Public Library 1961-1972        Dewey Dec.   16.973

This is Volume One, in 7 parts. The first 6 parts cover Civil War histories of 17 participating northern states. Part 7, not available at this link, is an index of the first 6 parts. According to the compiler’s Preface, every battery and regiment is listed, and arranged numerically by arm of service – Artillery, Cavalry and Infantry. Any publications that could be associated with a particular battery or regiment are listed under that unit, including regimental histories, personal narratives, reunion proceedings, unit rosters and even sermons preached at soldiers’ funerals. Personal narratives by individuals who served under more than one unit are found under the unit of their first service.

Women in Popular Culture: A Reference Guide

Fishburn, Katherine
Greenwood 1982       

Histories of women in popular culture — Women in popular literature — Women in magazines and magazine fiction — Women in film — Women in television — Women in advertising, fashion, sports, and comics — Theories of women in popular culture

Literature of American History; a Bibliographical Guide …

in which the Scope, Character, and Comparative Worth of Books in Selected Lists are Set Forth in Brief Notes by Critics of Authority

– Supplement

Larned, J. N., ed.
American Library Association 1902        Dewey Dec.    016.973

4,145 titles, closely classified under six main headings. Appendix: Books suggested for a good school library, for a town library, and for a good working library.
Supplement for 1900 and 1901. Nearly 200 entries. Notes generally condensed from reputable reviews, signed where practicable. – A.L.A.Catalog 1904

Bibliography of New York Colonial History

Flagg, Charles Alcott, comp.
New York State Library 1901        Dewey Dec.    974.7, 16.974

General histories of New York state; general colonial history of the Dutch and English periods and special topics; Local colonial history of each region of the state.

Official Publications of the State of New York Relating to its History as Colony and State

Jewett, Alice Louise, comp.
New York State Library 1917        Dewey Dec.    974.7, 16.974

Annotated bibliography. The principal categories covered are Colonial history, State history, and Indians.

Study Outline of California History

Garoutte, Eudora
California State Library 1920        Dewey Dec.    016.978

A short booklet containing an outline of California history to about 1880, with a bibliography of books for study. Some novels and magazine articles are included.


Travel

Travel and Travel Guides Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Travel and Holiday Guides”. Be patient as the page loads.

U.S. Travel Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Travel – United States”. Be patient as the page loads.

Travel Guides for the U.S. Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Travel Guides – U.S.”. Be patient as the page loads.

Foreign Travel Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Travel – Foreign”. Be patient as the page loads.

Voyages around the World Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Voyages around the World”. Be patient as the page loads.

Viewpoints in Travel; an Arrangement of Books according to their Essential Interest

Rathbone, Josephine Adams
American Library Assoc. 1919        Dewey Dec.    016.9

Selected list of travel literature grouped by the essential interests of adventure, folklore, hunting, etc.; annotated and indexed by authors and regions.- A.L.A. Catalog 1912-1921

Standard Catalog for Public Libraries: History and Travel Section

Wilson, H.W.; Sears, Minnie Earl, comp.
Wilson 1929        Dewey Dec.    016.9

Subtitle: “An Annotated List of 1900 Titles with a Full Analytical Index.”

Reading List on Scotland

Lyman, Alice
New York State Library 1907        Dewey Dec.    16.941

Books in the categories of History, Description and Travel, Religion, Literature and Art.


Science and Technology

List of Books on Automobiles and Motorcycles

Blessing, Arthur R.
Wilson 1918        Dewey Dec.    016.6

Practical Bibliographies series, arranged by sub-topics. Of special interest is the large section on “Road Guides”.

Scientific and Technical Information Sources

Chen, Ching-chih
MIT 1987       

Guide to current reference sources of science and technology. Intended primarily for information professionals and their assistants in science and engineering, as well as a textbook for library and information schools.

Information Sources in Science and Technology

Hurt, C. D.
Libraries Unlimited 1994       

Multidisciplinary sources of information — Biology — Botany — Zoology — Astronomy — Chemistry — Environmental sciences — Geosciences — Physics — Mathematics — General engineering — Chemical engineering — Civil engineering — Computer science — Electrical engineering — Industrial engineering — Materials science — Mechanical engineering — Transportation engineering — Health and veterinary sciences

Bibliography of American Natural History

– Volume 2

– Volume 3

Meisel, Max
Premier        Dewey Dec.    016.5

Vol 1 (1924): An annotated bibliography of the publications relating to the history, biography and bibliography of American natural history and its institutions, during colonial times and the pioneer century, which have been published up to 1924; with a classified subject and geographic index; and a bibliography of biographies.

Vol 2 (1926): The institutions which have contributed to the rise and progress of American natural history, which were founded or organized between 1769 and 1844.

Vol 3 (1929): The institutions founded or organized between 1845 and 1865. Bibliography of books. Chronological tables. Index of authors and institutions. Addenda to Volume 1.

Popular Books in Science; a Reading List

Washington Academy of Sciences, comp.
American Library Association (A.L.A.) 1925        Dewey Dec.    016.5

About one hundred titles annotated. An excellent list for high school and college students or any reader interested in science.- A.L.A. Catalog 1926

Standard Catalog for Public Libraries: Science and Useful Arts Section

An Annotated List of 1800 Titles with a Full Analytical Index

Wilson, H.W.; Sears, Minnie Earl, comp.
Wilson 1931        Dewey Dec.    016.5, 016.6

Standard Catalog for Public Libraries: Science and Useful Arts Section

An Annotated List of 1800 Titles with a Full Analytical Index

Wilson, H.W.; Sears, Minnie Earl, comp.
Wilson 1931        Dewey Dec.    016.6

REFERENCE – Bibliographies & Indexes, SCIENCE – Applied Sciences


Government Sources and Information

Guide to United States Government Legislative Documents in the Library of Congress

Library of Congress
Library of Congress 1992       

Introduction to United States Government Information Sources

An Annotated List of 1000 Titles with a full Analytical Index

Morehead, Joe
Libraries Unlimited 1999       

Using Government Information Sources: Electronic and Print

Sears, Jean L; Moody, Marilyn K.
Oryx 2001       


Arts, Music

Art Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Art”. Be patient as the page loads.

Art Appreciation Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Art Appreciation”. Be patient as the page loads.

Painting Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Painting”. Be patient as the page loads.

Drawing Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Drawing”. Be patient as the page loads.

Graphic Arts Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Graphic Arts”. Be patient as the page loads.

American Painting Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “American Painting”. Be patient as the page loads.

Music Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Music”. Be patient as the page loads.

Music Appreciation Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Music Appreciation”. Be patient as the page loads.

Music & Songbooks Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Music/Songbooks”. Be patient as the page loads.

Jazz Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Jazz”. Be patient as the page loads.

Musical Instruments Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Musical Instruments”. Be patient as the page loads.

Piano Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Piano”. Be patient as the page loads.

Rock Groups Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Rock Groups”. Be patient as the page loads.

Music Trade Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Music Trade”. Be patient as the page loads.

Annotated Bibliography of Fine Art

Sturgis, Russell, & Krehbiel, H: E: comp.
American Library Association 1897        Dewey Dec.    016.7 Rf

Descriptive, critical and comparative notes on 1,000 works on painting, sculpture, architecture, decorative arts, illustration and music. Classed, with author and subject index. – A.L.A.Catalog 1904

REFERENCE – Bibliographies & Indexes, ART – General

Song Index; an Index to More than 12000 Songs in 177 Song Collections, Comprising 262 Volumes

Wilson, H.W.; Sears, Minnie Earl, comp.
Wilson 1926        Dewey Dec.    016.7

Songs in English as well as many other languages. Song titles and authors are indexed alphabetically, with references to the collection where they are contained, plus a full bibliography of the song collections.

REFERENCE – Bibliographies & Indexes, MUSIC – Reference

Standard Catalog for Public Libraries: Fine Arts Section

An Annotated List of 1200 Titles including books on Costume and Amusements, with a Full Analytical Index

Wilson, H.W.; Sears, Minnie Earl, comp.
Wilson 1928        Dewey Dec.    016.7

REFERENCE – Bibliographies & Indexes, ART – General


Century Past Library

-Directory-