Literature of the American West - LPC Library Research Guide

This Library Guide is to provide research ideas and suggestions for both liteary works and information related to the topic of the American West.

Please ask a reference librarian for assistance at any time. We will be glad to help!



Use reference sources for background information, broad overviews and summaries. Reference books cannot be checked out from the library but may be photocopied. 

  • American Nature Writers by J. Elder. Ref PS163 .A6 1996
  • Dictionary of Native American Literature.  Ref PM155 .D53 1994
  • Dictionary of Native American Mythology.  Ref E98.R3 G46 1992
  • Encyclopedia of American Indian History.  Ref E77.E48 2008
  • Encyclopedia of the American West.   Ref F591.E485 1996
  • Encyclopedia of Women in the American West. Ref HQ1438 .W45 E53 2003
  • Icons of the American West:  From Cowgirls to Silicon Valley.  Ref F591 .I36 2008
  • Literary History of the American West.  Ref PS271 .L58 1987                     
  • Native American Writers of the United States.  Ref PS153.I52 N39 1997
  • Native North American Literature.   Ref PS508.I5 N38 1994
  • New Encyclopedia of the American West.  Ref F591.N46 1998
  • 19th Century American Western Writers.   Ref PS27 .N56 1998
  • 20th Century American Western Writers.   Ref PS271 .T8 1999
  • Updating the Literary West.   Ref PS271 .U64 1997



Use the library catalog to find materials in the library. The catalog will show books and audiovisual materials for both LPC Library and Chabot Library. Search for a book or video by the author, title, subject, or keyword. In power search you may also LIMIT your search in many ways, for instance by type, “DVD" to find only DVD's..

Examples of keywords to use when searching the online catalog:

  • African American Cowboys
  • Americanization  
  • Aztlan
  • Black Cowboys   
  • Buffalo Soldiers
  • California Missions            
  • Curanderismo
  • Conservationist
  • Education Indians             
  • Literature American West
  • La Raza 
  • Naturalists
  • Nature Writing                 
  • Western Heroines

Useful Browsing Areas by Call Numbers:

F590-596                History of America (The West)

PS153                     American Literature (Ethnic Studies)

PS561                     American Literature (Western)


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Selected Titles at LPC:  General Resources

The Best of the Real West.   DVD F591 .B47 2000

Circle of Women: an Anthology of Contemporary Western Women Writers by Kim Barnes.    PS561.C57 2001

The First West: Writing from the American Frontier 1776-1860.    PS561.F57 2002                                                                                                       

Literature of the American West: a Cultural Approach by Greg Lyons.  PS561.L59 2003

New Immigrant Literature in the United States: a Source Book to Our Multicultural Literary  Heritage  by Alpana Sharma Knippling.  PS153.M56 N475 1996

The West by Ken Burns.     DVD F591 .W47 2003


Selected Titles at LPC: Women of the Wild West

Buffalo Girls by Larry McMurtry.   PS3563.A319 B84 1991

By Grit & Grace : Eleven Women Who Shaped the American West.   F596.B99 1997

Calamity Jane : the Woman and the Legend by James D. McLaird.  F594.C2 M34 2005

Crazy Woman Creek: Women Rewrite the American West by Gaydell M. Collier.  PS561.C83 2004

Cowgirls by Candace Sherk Savage.  F596.S234 1996

Cowgirls: Women of the Wild West  by E. Flood.  F596 .F568 2000

Frontiers of Femininity : a New Historical Geography of Nineteenth-Century American West. HQ1410 .M67 2008

The Gold Rush.    DVD F865 .G653 2003

Pioneer Women: the Lives of Women on the Frontier by Linda S. Peavy.  HQ1438.W4 P43 1996

Wild women of the Old West Ed. Glenda Riley & Richard W. Etulain. F596.W5798 2003

Women of the West by Silvia Anne Sheafer.  HQ1412.S52 1996

The Best of the Real West. DVD F591 B47 2000


Selected Titles at LPC: John Muir's Environmental Activism

The American Conservation Movement : John Muir and His Legacy. By S. Fox.   QH76 .F69 1985

American Earth:  Environmental Writing since Thoreau by B. McKibben.    PS169 .E25 A44 2008

John Muir:  Protecting and Preserving the Environment by H. Elliot.  QH31 .M9 E55 2009

Natural State: A Literary Anthology of California Nature Writing by S. Gilbar.    QH105 .C2 N425 1998


Selected Titles at LPC : Indian Education and Assimilaltion

Boarding School Blues : Revisiting American Indian Educational Experiences.    E97 .B754 2006

Education for Extinction : American Indians and Boarding School Experience, 1875-1928.   E97.5 .A35 1997

Kill the Indian, Save the Man : the Genocidal Impact of American Indian Residential Schools by W. Churchill.  E97 .C57 2004

The Native American Mascot Controversy : a Handbook by C. King.  GV714.5 .N38 2010

Our Spirits Don’t Speak English.     DVD E97.5 .O97 2008

Red Power : the American Indians' Fight for Freedom by A. Josephy.     E93 .J67 1999

The State of Native America : Genocide, Colonization, and Resistance.     E93 .S77 1992

We Shall Remain: America through Native Eyes.     DVD E77 .W4 2009

Winds of Change : a Matter of Promises.      DVD E77 .W564 1990


Selected Titles at LPC : Black Cowboys and Black Seminoles

African Americans in the West by D. Flamming.     E185.925 .F536 2009

African Americans on the Western Frontier by M Billington.     E185.925 .A58 1998

Africans and Seminoles from Removal to Emancipation.      E99 .S28 L57 2001

Black Indians : an American Story.         DVD E98 .R28 B53 2000

Black Seminoles by Kenneth Porter.      E99 .S28 P67 1966

Black Valor: Buffalo Soldiers and the Medal of Honor 1870-1898.    E185.925 .S43 1997

Buffalo Soldiers  by T. Stovall.   E185.925 .S76 1997

Buffalo Soldiers: a Narrative of the Black Cavalry in the West.     UA31 10TH .L4197 2003  

Cowboys (Reflections of a Black Cowboy) by R. H. Miller.   F596 .M646 2004                   

Guts : Legendary Black Rodeo Cowboy Bill Picket : a biography by Cecil Johnson.   GV1833.6. P5 J64 1994


Selected Titles at LPC: Japanese Internment in WWII    

After Silence : Civil Rights and the Japanese American Experience.   DVD D769.8 .A6 A64 2003

Beyond Barbed Wire : Untold Stories of American Courage.    DVD D769.31 100 TH B49 2001                                            

In good conscience : supporting Japanese Americans during the internment by Shizue Seigel.    D769.8 .A6 S45 2006

Judgment without trial : Japanese American imprisonment during World War II. D769.8 .A6 K37 2004  

Return to the Valley.      DVD D769.8 .A6 R48 2003

What did the internment of Japanese Americans mean? By Alice Yang Murray.   D769.83A6 W53 2000

Also check out the  Japanese American Evacuation and Relocation (1942-1945) Materials Library Guide available on the LPC Library website. 

Selected Titles at LPC : Curandera in Latino Culture

Curanderismo, Mexican American Folk Healing by Robert T. Trotter.   GR111 .M49 T76 1997

They All Want Magaic : Curanderas and Folk Healing by Elizabeth Portilla.  GN296.5 .U6 P67 2009                                                                                                                                       

Woman Who Glows in the Dark : a Curandera Reveals Traditional Aztec Secrets of Physical and Spiritual Health GR880 .A925 2000


Selected Titles at LPC : Aztlan, La Raza, Resistance to Americanization

Fiesta in Aztlan : Anthology of Chicano Poetry.   PS591.M49 F5

After Aztlan : Latino Poets of the Nineties.     PS591.H58 A69 1992

Hispanics in the American West by Jorge Iber and Arnoldo De León.      F596.3 .S75 I24 2006



Databases provide articles from reference materials, magazines and journals.   These databases can be accessed in the LPC Library or from home at LPC Library Homepage. 


Academic Search Complete - provides full-text coverage on a wide variety of subjects in over 4,600 magazines and journals, including peer-reviewed scholarly journals.

Bloom's Literary Reference - Examines great writers, important works, memorable characters, and influential movements and events in literature.

Literature Resource Center – contains thousands of citations and full-text articles of the newspapers, magazines and journals of the ethnic, minority and native press.

History Reference Center contains thousands of citations and full-text articles on history. The database features cover-to-cover full text for more than 650 historical encyclopedias and other non-fiction books. The database also includes full text for more than 50 leading history periodicals.


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Public libraries often carry additional materials on your topic not available through the Las Positas or Chabot libraries. 


Web sites often contain excellent resources to supplement or enhance research.  Be cautious of information found on web sites since the quality of sources varies tremendously.  It is always a good idea to check the information against another source.  As with all information resources, whether in print or on the Internet, quality is evaluated based on the following criteria:

Accuracy.......................... Is it free from mistakes and errors?

Authority......................... What are the qualifications of the author?

Objectivity....................... Is there any strong bias?

Currency .......................... Is the information up-to-date?

Coverage ......................... To what extent is the topic explored?

Examples of Web Sites:

West, Missions and Folk Medicine

Indian Boarding School and Assimilation

John Muir

Japanese Interment



Suggestion: keep printed copies of your sources, or write out all pertinent information on author, title, publisher, date, or Internet address to identify t the information.  Follow the format recommended by the instructor or ask a librarian for help.  NoodleBib, available from the library website, provides an accurate citation generator for ALA or MLA citations.   There is also a link to instructions for MLA or APA citations on the LPC Library Homepage: MLA & APA.


Please ask a reference librarian for help!

Email a Librarian

Library Telephone: 925.424.1150
Library Fax: 925.606.7249

Page last modified: March 17, 2015