This page has information and links to information related to history. See Biographical Research for history of individual people. For specific time periods, places/areas, and/or topics see left-hand side for topics.

Jazz as a Primary Metaphor Introduction

Jazz as a primary metaphor for American popular culture in the 20th century & all that jazz: civil rights, social change & diplomacy in the 20th century America.

This page lists resources related to American popular culture in the 20th century using jazz music as a basis and background.

See also (on the CSU Libraries site):

Reference Books         Books           Indexes (identify journal articles)         Journals Owned            Web Sites            Listen to Jazz           Films

Reference Books

See also the Reference listings on the Web pages listed above for reference book recommendations. Online databases are available remotely to CSU affiliates only.

  • The American Century. E741 .E93 1998 Reference
  • Cold War America, 1946 to 1990. E741 .G75 2003 Reference
  • The Cold War Encyclopedia. D840 .P28 1996 Reference
  • The Eighties in America. 3 vols. E876 .E347 2008 Reference
  • Encyclopedia of Cold War Politics. E840 .T57 2000 Reference
  • Encyclopedia of the Cold War. D843 .A668 1994 Reference
  • Encyclopedia of the Great Depression and the New Deal. 2 vols. E806 .C543 2001 Reference
  • Encyclopedia of the Harlem Literary Renaissance. PS153.N5 B675 2006 Reference
  • Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance. PS153.N5 A24 2003 Reference
  • The Fifties in America. 3 vols. E169.12 .F498 2005 Reference
  • Gale Virtual Reference Library. 
    • African American Almanac
    • American Decades
    • American Social Reform Movements Reference Library
    • Cold War Reference Library
    • Encyclopedia of American Foreign Policy
    • Encyclopedia of Race and Racism
    • Human and Civil Rights: Essential Primary Sources
    • Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives, Thematic Series: The 1960s
    • The Sixties: 1960-1969
    • The Sixties in America Reference Library
    • UXL American Decades
  • The Great Depression. E806 .B9 2005 Reference
  • Government, Politics, and Protest: Essential Primary Sources. GPPonline to CSU affiliates.
  • Literature Criticism Online. Includes material from Contemporary Literary Criticism, Twentieth Century Literary Criticism, Dictionary of Literary Biography, and more.
  • The Oxford Companion to United States History. E174 .O94 2001 Reference
  • Oxford Music Online. Search The Oxford Dictionary of Music; Grove Music Online; and The Oxford Companion to Music
  • Historical Dictionary from the Great War to the Great Depression. E740.7 .W96 2003 Reference South
  • Modern America 1914 to 1945. E766 .G67 1995 Reference
  • The Seventies in America. 3 vols. E169.12 .S447 2006 Reference
  • The Sixties in America. 3 vols. E841 .S55 1999 Reference
  • St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. 5 vols. E169.1 .S764 2000 Reference and SJEPConline to CSU affiliates.

Circulating Research Materials of Interest

  • American Women in Jazz: 1900 to the Present: Their Words, Lives, and Music. ML3508 .P58 1982 Morgan
  • America's Musical Life: A History. ML200 .C69 2001 Morgan
  • Body and Soul: Jazz and Blues in American Film, 1927-63. Storage Access
  • Blowin' Hot and Cool: Jazz and Its Critics. ML3506 .G46 2006 Morgan
  • Cuttin' Up: How Early Jazz Got America's Ear. ML3508 .C37 2009 Prospector (not at CSU)
  • Freedom Is, Freedom Ain't: Jazz and the Making of the Sixties. ML3508 .S28 2003 Morgan
  • Freedom Rights: New Perspectives on the Civil Rights Movement. ebook [CSU eID required]
  • Freedom Sounds: Civil Rights Call Out to Jazz and Africa. ML3508 .M65 2007 Reserve [Fall 2013]
  • Giants in Their Time: Representative Americans from the Jazz Age to the Cold War. CT220 .R57 2006 Morgan
  • Impact of Race: Theatre and Culture. PN2270 .A35 K54 Morgan
  • The Jazz Ambassadors of the United States Army Field Band: The U.S. Army's Finest Jazz Musicians. D 101.2:J 33 Documents
  • Jazz in the Movies. ML128 .M7 M38 Morgan
  • Jazz, Rock, and Rebels: Cold War Politics and American Culture in a Divided Germany. DD239 .P65 2000 Morgan & ebook
  • Satchmo Blows up the World: Jazz Ambassadors Play the Cold War. ML3795 .V63 2004 Reserve [Fall 2013]
  • The 1900s. E169.1 .B248 2002 Morgan
  • The 1910s. E169.1 .B634 2002 Morgan
  • The 1920s. E169.1 .D796 2004 Morgan
  • The 1930s. E169.1 .Y59 2002 Morgan
  • The 1940s. E169.1 .S559 2004 Morgan
  • The 1950s. E169.12 .Y69 2004 Morgan
  • The 1960s. E169.12 .R53 2003 Morgan
  • The 1970s. E169.Z8 S24 2007 Morgan
  • The 1980s. E169.Z82 B386 2007 Morgan
  • The 1990s. E169.12 .O96 2003 Morgan
  • Thriving on a Riff: Jazz & Blues Influences in African American Literature and Film. PS153 .N5 T465 2009 Morgan
  • Visual Shock: A History of Art Controversies in American Culture. N72.S6 K225 2006 Morgan
  • When Harlem Was in Vogue. NX511 N4L48 1981 Morgan

Online Books

Search within these large databases to find topics of interest.

Note: Google Books is not listed above because many of the titles are not complete (rightly so, due to copyright restrictions). By all means search it, but the full text for a book will not necessarily be available. The HathiTrust has digitized books, but only approximately 27% of all titles are available for free online as of very late January 2012. Check library record holdings for other titles.

Online Images


Books are a key resource for information about jazz and American culture in the 20th century. The subject headings listed in this section can be used to find books related to this topic in any library catalog which uses Library of Congress Subject Headings, including CSU's library catalog (it is not an exhaustive list). Do a subject search using the terms below to identify books in Sage/Discovery and Prospector (the Colorado Regional Catalog). Books may be requested from Prospector by CSU affiliates. Be sure to look at subdivisions for the terms below--not every possibility is listed here. Remove the bullet after doing a cut 'n paste into the library catalog.

  • African American Men In Popular Culture
  • African American Women In Popular Culture
  • African Americans Civil Rights History 20th Century
  • African Americans In Popular Culture
  • African Americans In Popular Culture History 20th Century
  • Art American 20th Century
  • Art And Society United States History 20th Century
  • Art And State United States
  • Beat generation**
  • Broadway (New York, N.Y.)
  • Cold War Social Aspects
  • Comic Books Strips Etc United States History 20th Century
  • Culture Conflict United States
  • Culture Conflict United States History 20th Century
  • Federal Art Project
  • Harlem New York N Y Intellectual Life 20th Century
  • Harlem Renaissance
  • Jazz
  • Jazz 1921 1930 History And Criticism
  • Jazz 1931 1940 History And Criticism
  • Jazz 1941 1950 History And Criticism
  • Jazz 1951 1960
  • Jazz 1951 1960 History And Criticism
  • Jazz 1961 1970
  • Jazz 1961 1970 History And Criticism
  • Jazz 1981 1990 History And Criticism
  • Jazz 1991 2000 History And Criticism
  • Jazz Dictionaries
  • Jazz Discography
  • Jazz Encyclopedias
  • Jazz History And Criticism
  • Jazz in Literature
  • Jazz In Motion Pictures
  • Jazz Louisiana New Orleans
  • Jazz Louisiana New Orleans History And Criticism
  • Jazz Missouri Kansas City History And Criticism
  • Jazz Musicians
  • Jazz Musicians Biography
  • Jazz Musicians Interviews
  • Jazz Musicians Louisiana New Orleans Biography
  • Jazz Musicians Portraits
  • Jazz Musicians United States
  • Jazz Musicians United States Biography
  • Jazz Musicians United States Interviews
  • Jazz Political Aspects United States [1 in Sage]
  • Jazz Social Aspects
  • Jazz Social Aspects United States
  • Jazz Vocals
  • Men In Popular Culture
  • Men In Popular Culture United States
  • Mexican Americans In Popular Culture
  • Motion Pictures***
  • Motion Pictures In Propaganda
  • Motion Pictures United States History 20th Century
  • Music and State
  • Musicals New York State New York
  • Musicals United States History And Criticism
  • National Endowment For The Arts
  • National Endowment For The Arts History
  • National Endowment For The Humanities
  • National Public Radio U S
  • Painting American 20th Century Popular Culture
  • Popular Culture United States
  • Popular Culture United States 20th Century
  • Popular Culture United States Encyclopedias
  • Popular Culture United States History
  • Popular Culture United States History 20th Century
  • Popular Culture United States History 20th Century Encyclopedias
  • Popular Culture United States History Sources*
  • Popular Music United States History And Criticism
  • Racism In Popular Culture United States
  • Racism In Popular Culture United States History 20th Century
  • United States Cultural Policy
  • United States History 20th Century
  • United States History 20th Century Sources*
  • Whites In Popular Culture United States
  • Women In Popular Culture
  • Women In Popular Culture United States
  • Women In Popular Culture United States History
  • Women In Popular Culture United States History 20th Century

*includes or consists entirely of primary sources; other subject categories may also include primary sources 
** see additional subject headings on Beat Writers page.
*** see additional subject headings in the Books/Reference on Films section of the Films/Movies page.


Use indexes to identify articles of interest. Be sure to make use of their bibliographies, works cited, and references for additional resources that will help with research on any topic.

Indexes, Print

  • Readers’ Guide to Periodical Literature. AI 3 .R48 Reference South 1900-
  • Humanities Index. AI 3 .I495 Reference South 1974-1998
  • International Index to Periodicals. AI 3 .I49 Reference South 1920/1923-1952/1955
  • International Index. AI 3 .I49 Reference South 1955/1958-1964/1965
  • International Political Science Abstracts. JA 36 .I5 Reference South 1951-2006
  • London Times Index (various titles: Palmer's, etc.) AI 21 T51 & AI21 .T46 Reference South & others nearby 1785- ; the newspaper itself is on microfilm in the Journal Room, call number AN .T5 (current issues in print in newspaper area);  See Times Digital Archive below for 1785-2005 online.
  • Nineteenth Century Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature, 1890-1899; with supplementary indexing, 1900-1922. AI3 .R496 Reference South
  • Poole's Index to Periodical Literature. AI3 .P6 Reference South 1802-1901
  • Social Sciences Index. AI 3 .I496 Reference South 1974/75-1998/99

Indexes/Databases, Electronic

These indexes may also be accessed by CSU affiliates via the "A-Z Databases" (Articles & Databases tab) pages. See Truncation and Proximity Operators for advanced searching methods for these and other databases.

Academic Search Premier. Varies. 

General database with broad coverage.

America: History & Life. 1954- . 

Historical coverage of the United States and Canada. Latin America appears as well. Jazz is a subject term.

Art Abstracts. 1984- . 

Search by subject: Jazz; Improvisation; Race awareness in motion pictures; Influence; Music; Jazz in motion pictures; New Deal, 1933-1939

Art Index Retrospective. 1929-1984. 

Same terms as Art Abstracts. Identify articles on earlier contemporary jazz, art, and other cultural topics.

Family & Society Worldwide. 1970- . 

Subject terms that work in this database include: Immigrants; Emigration & immigration; Emigration & immigration law; immigration opponents; immigration enforcement; emigration & immigration government policy; cultural pluralism; immigrant families.

JSTOR. Full text articles at least 3-5 years old (varies by journal). 

Full text or linked to full text for more recent articles (most of them). Contemporary vocabulary is vital for success.

Project Muse. Varies. 

Full text articles (view in PDF).

Historical Abstracts. 1954- . 

Covers events of 1450 to the present.

MLA Bibliography. 

Identify resources of criticism for literary items.

New York Times 1851- . 

Contemporary vocabulary is vital for success.

Times Digital Archive. London Times 1785-2008. 

Get the British perspective on topics. Only has week days. Look for the Sunday Times either combined or as a separate link to be added shortly. Same search interface and will often search at the same time the Nineteenth Century U.S. Newspapers database (which is a different century than the topic of this Web page).

Web of Science (Arts & Humanities Citation Index). 

Identify scholarly articles in this database.

See also:

WorldCat.  Identifies books, archival materials, etc., but not articles. (Subject terms should match those listed under Books. The library catalog, Prospector, and Interlibrary Loan requests can be made directly from WorldCat via the  button)

Biographical Material

Look through Biographical Research for information on finding biographies of famous people.

Journals Owned

Journals/Magazines Owned by CSU

Identify journals/magazines owned by CSU about topics related to American culture in the 20th century by doing to subject search in the library catalog for:

  • Popular Culture United States Periodicals
  • Jazz Periodicals
  • National Endowment For The Arts Periodicals
  • National Endowment For The Humanities Periodicals
  • United States History Periodicals


See United States of America (History) for additional related sites.

Focus on Jazz

American Jazz Institute

"The American Jazz Institute is a non-profit organization dedicated to the enrichment and enhancement of the appreciation of jazz music." A selected number of audio tracks are available for listening. Site is mostly a venue to promote upcoming events. Additional features are forthcoming (history of jazz, photo gallery, etc.).

Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn: Jazz Composers. Smithsonian. Albert H. Small Documents Gallery. 

Online exhibition that gives an overview of two composers of jazz music. Images of sheet music and photographs accompany the text. Need to scroll down to see material; top images are not viewable as of September 2013.

Jazz. National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center. Smithsonian. 

Smithsonian Jazz covers exhibits, outreach, events, and has resources (use links at foot of main page). Answers the question: "What is Jazz?" Oral histories, information about Latin jazz, and more.

Jazz at Lincoln Center

See what concerts are forthcoming. Learn menu has online learning modules (although when accessed none were available). Listen & Watch menu has many available audio and slideshows. For example, a program on "Basie and the Blues (17-51)" is a 58 minute audio track.

Jazz Greats Digital Exhibits. Institute of Jazz Studies. Rutgers University Libraries. 

Exhibits entitled: 'One More Once' A Centennial Celebration of the Life and Music of Count Basie; Fats Waller Forever; Mary Lou Williams: Soul on Soul; Benny Carter: Eight Decades in American Music; and US Jazz Ambassadors Embrace the World.

Jazz in America. The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. 

The site is "an Internet-based jazz curriculum for social studies, American history, and music classes in the United States." Find lessons plans by grade level (5, 8, 11) and topic (The Blues and Jazz). Under jazz resources find images, important firsts, and more.

JazzReach. JazzReach. 

See YouTube videos of jazz musicians playing their music. Click on the Video> to see what is currently available.

NEA Jazz in Schools. National Endowment for the Arts. 

This site "is a web-based curriculum and DVD toolkit that explores jazz as an indigenous American art from and as a means to understand American history." Includes a timeline, something to listen to, and information about major artists.

Focus on Art

Federal Art Project. New Deal Programs: Selected Library of Congress Resources. Library of Congress. 

"The Federal Art Project (FAP) was created in 1935 to provide work relief for artists in various media--painters, sculptors, muralists and graphic artists, with various levels of experience." Online materials include WPA posters, fine prints by Federal Art Project artists, and links to external collections from the National Archives and Records Administration, Archives of American Art (Smithsonian Institution), and National Gallery of Art.

Painting and Sculpture with Images. MoMA (Museum of Modern Art). 

Over 1700 images (shown initially as thumbnails) on display. Mouse over for brief information, click on image for additional description.

Focus on Theater, Writing, Harlem Renaissance, and Other

The Harlem Renaissance: Primary Source Set. For Teachers. Library of Congress. 

Links to portraits, drafts of writing and music, and one audio file.

The Harlem Renaissance. Enoch Pratt Free Library. 

Works are literature, art, and music. Links out to excerpts and complete resources. See also Primary Source Investigation - Harlem Renaissance.

New Deal Arts/ Culture. Archives Library Information Center. National Archives. 

Annotated bibliography (check local library for holdings) and information on special collections at the Archives. Starting with the Federal Records section, some or all of the listed material may be only available at the Archive.

The New Deal Stage: Selections from the Federal Theater Project 1935-1939 . American Memory. Library of Congress. 

Displays "over 13,000 images of items selected from the Federal Theatre Project Collection at the Library of Congress. Featured . . . are stage and costume designs, still photographs, posters, and scripts for productions."

Primary Sources on the Web

Find links to additional primary sources under Summaries, Artifacts, & Documents (Primary Sources) on the United States of America (History) Web page.

Internet Modern History Sourcebook. Paul Halsall. Fordham University. 

Links to primary source material from multiple sites on the Web (some on-site). Arranged by various categories. An extremely helpful site.

Prints and Photographs Online Catalog. Library of Congress.

Search for photographs by name or topic. Or by collection, for example, Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black-and-White Negatives or Posters: WPA Posters. Information on individual items includes title, creator(s), date created, rights advisory, and subjects.

William P. Gottlieb Collection: Photographs from the Golden Age of Jazz. Music Division. Library of Congress. 

Over 1600 photos of "jazz artists, [which] documents the jazz scene from 1938 to 1948, primarily in New York City and Washington, D.C."

Listen to Jazz

If you are looking for sources available to listen to some Jazz pieces this list provides resources for use.

Charles W. Brown Jazz Collection. CSU affiliates only can listen to these recordings.

Under construction with additions forthcoming (we hope). Mp3.  As of late June 2014 there are 8 sample 33 1/3 rpm and 96 sample 78 rpm recordings available for CSU affiliate listening only.

Jazz24. A division of Pacific Public Media and a service of Pacific Lutheran University. 

Jazz radio online, with disc jockeys. Advertisement (15 seconds when "listen" was selected; ad recurs every hour or so) plays before the online player provided by the station starts. Play list provided as well as multiple options to buy albums. Choice for listening with player of your choice.  Search "jazz radio" on your browser to identify additional radio stations.

Naxos Music Library. CSU affiliates only. 

A search for "jazz" in the search box finds over 4000 items. You can also via the genre menu choose jazz to see three page listing of jazz legends (not all of them are American), and search for composers and artists. Select category to see listing. Check box(es) for tracks you wish to hear. Then click on Play Selections on left-hand side of screen. (The entire database has over 66,000 discs and over 948,000 tracks.) Length of the piece, sometimes a selection from a longer tune/song/album, indicated on the right-hand side.


These films feature jazz or may have a theme augmented by jazz music. Most of these films on DVD, but there is at least one video.

  • Against the Odds: The Artists of the Harlem Renaissance (PBS). N6538.N5 A33 2006 Elec Media
  • Bird. PN1997 .B57 2010 Elec Media
  • B’Way – Broadway The American Musical (PBS). ML1711.8.N3 B762 2004 Elec Media
  • A Great Day in Harlem (Jean Bach). ML394 .G74 2005 Elec Media
  • The Girls in the Band: A Judy Chaikin Film. ML3508 .G56 2011 Elec Media
  • Jazz in Five Points [Denver]. ML3508.8 .D3 J37 2009 Elec Media
  • Jazz on a Summer’s Day (Bert Stern). M1366 .J384 2000 Elec Media
  • Jazz: A Film by Ken Burns. 10 discs. ML3506 .J39 2004 Elec Media. See also accompanying Web site for Jazz on PBS.
  • Kansas City. PN1997 .K37 2005 Elec Media
  • Lady Sings the Blues. ML420.H38 L33 2005 Elec Media
  • Mo' Better Blues. PN1997 .M63 2000 Elec Media
  • Monterey Pop (D.A. Pennebaker). 2 videos. ML38.M657 M65 2002  Elec Media
  • New York, New York. PN1997 .N49 2007  Elec Media
  • Round Midnight. PN1997 .R675 2008 Elec Media

See How to Evaluate a Movie, Video, or Film Clip for evaluation ideas.

As in all research, be sure to evaluate what you find, be it an articlebook, or Web page.

Author Information

Content: Naomi Lederer


24/7 Library Help

24/7 Library Help

Connect with library staff via chat, email, phone or text.

URL: https://libguides.colostate.edu/History | Print Page