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.

Sport & American Society Introduction

This page provides lists of resources or links to resources that explore sport and American society.

Reference        Identifying Books        Journals        Databases and Indexes (identify journal articles)        Associations & Organization


Reference materials are quite useful for finding background information and can be a great starting point for learning names, dates, terms, etc. Note that a number of these encyclopedias are not "sports" encyclopedias, but history or cultural encyclopedias. Look up sports and variations thereof (sport, sport performance, etc.). These articles can provide food for thought about how sports have fit into American society--different ethnic groups have had different experiences--and these have varied from sport to sport. The online encyclopedias and dictionaries are available to CSU affiliates only.

  • American Decades. E 169.12 .A419 1994 Reference (1900-1999; see section on Sports in each volume)
  • American Eras. 6 vols. E 169.1 .A471979 1997 Reference (starts in Colonial period; see section on Sports & Recreation)
  • Baseball: An Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. GV 867.64 .R52 2000 Reference
  • Berkshire Encyclopedia of World Sport. 4 vols. GV 567 .B48 2005 Reference
  • The Book of Rules. GV 731 .B56 1998 Reference
  • The Business of Sports. 3 vols. GV 716 .B89 2008 Reference
  • Civil Rights in the United States. Vol. 2. E 184 .A1C47 2000 Reference
  • Dictionary of American History. Vol. 7. E174 .D52 2003 Reference
  • Encyclopedia of American Studies. Vol. 4. E 169.1 .E625 2001 Reference
  • Encyclopedia of Civil Rights in America. Vol. 3. E 185.61 .E544 1998 Reference
  • Encyclopedia of Ethnicity and Sports in the United States. GV 709.5 .E83 2000 Reference
  • Encyclopedia of Latino Popular Culture. Vol. 2 E184 .S75 E59 2004 Reference
  • Encyclopedia of North American Sport History. GV 567 .H518 2002 Reference
  • Encyclopedia of Recreation and Leisure in America. 2 vols. 2004. GV 53 .E53 2004 Reference
  • Encyclopedia of the Modern Olympic Movement. GV 721.5 .H547 2004 Reference
  • Encyclopedia of War and American Society. Vol. 2. E181 .E634 2006 Reference
  • Encyclopedia of Women and Sport in America. GV 709 .E53 1998 Reference
  • The Fifties in America. Vol. 3. E 169.12 .F498 2005 Reference
  • Gale Virtual Reference Library.
  • The Greenwood Guide to American Popular Culture. Vol. 4. E 169.1 .G7555 2002 Reference
  • The Guide to United States Popular Culture. E 169.1 D399 2001 Reference
  • Handbook on the Economics of Sport. GV 716 .H37 2006 Reference
  • Historical Dictionary of [ebooks]:
  • History Reference Online. (ABC-CLIO.) (30 entries for sport--not all U.S.)
  • Native America in the Twentieth Century: An Encyclopedia. E 76.2 .N36 1994 Reference
  • Notable Sports Figures. 4 vols. GV 697 .A1 N68 2004 Reference
  • The Seventies in America. Vol. 3. E 169.12 .S447 2006 Reference
  • Sports in America: Recreation, Business, Education and Controversy. 2006.
  • U*X*L American Decades. 11vols. 2003. Sections on sports for each decade.
  • United States in the Nineteenth Century. Vol. 3. E 169.1 .E626 2001 Reference
  • World of Sports Science. 2 vols. 2007.

Identifying Books

Books are an important source for information. The subject headings listed in this section can be used to find books related to sport in American society in any library catalog which uses Library of Congress Subject Headings, including CSU's library catalog. Do a subject search using the terms below to identify books in the catalog and the Regional Catalog, Prospector (the Colorado Union Catalog). Books may be requested from Prospector by CSU affiliates. Be sure to look at related subjects (often linked to just above the searched term).

  • Baseball Law And Legislation United States
  • Baseball United States History
  • Baseball United States History 19th Century
  • Basketball United States History
  • Boxing
  • Boxing -- United States -- History.
  • College Sports United States
  • Cycling -- United States -- History [2 + 4 in Prospector]
  • Doping in sports -- United States
  • Football -- History
  • Golf United States History
  • Hockey United States History [2 + 10 in Prospector]
  • Mass media and sports -- United States
  • Physical education and training -- United States -- History
  • Professional Sports United States
  • Racisim in Sports United States
  • School sports -- United States
  • Sex discrimination against women -- Law and legislation -- United States
  • Sex discrimination in sports -- United States
  • Sports -- Economic aspects -- United States
  • Sports -- United States
  • Sports -- United States – History
  • Sports -- United States -- History -- 20th century
  • Sports -- United States -- Marketing
  • Sports -- United States -- Psychological aspects
  • Sports administration -- United States
  • Sports and State United States
  • Sports Anthropological Aspects United States
  • Sports Betting United States
  • Sports for Children
  • Sports for women -- Social aspects -- United States
  • Sports for women -- United States -- History
  • Sports Moral and Ethical Aspects
  • Sports Social Aspects
  • Sports Social Aspects United States
  • Sports Social Aspects United States History
  • Sports United States
  • Sports United States Sociological Aspects
  • Sports United States Statistics
  • Sportsmanship
  • Stadiums United States
  • Television Broadcasting of Sports United States
  • Television Broadcasting of Sports United States History
  • Tennis History
  • United States. Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX
  • Wrestling History

For example: Four Centuries of Sport in America, 1490-1890. GV583 .M3 1968 Morgan



Journal, magazine, annual, newsletter, online news sources.

  • Journal of Sport History. 1974-2002 JSHonline. 1974-1988,1990-2002; GV571 .J68 Movable Shelves
  • North American Society for Sport History. Proceedings & Newsletter. GV 571 .N67a 1974-1989,1996,1999-2003 Morgan and Storage
  • Sociology of Sport Journal. 1988- GV 706.5 .S66  Journal Room and Movable Shelves
  • Sporting News.com: The Vault . Archives.
  • Sports Illustrated. GV 561 .S733 SIonline 1992- . 1954-1970,1978-1988,1990,1991-1993,1994,1995,1996- Journal Room, Microfiche, Microfilm, Movable Shelves, Storage
  • Sports Illustrated . . . Almanac. GV 741 .S768 Reference

Identify additional titles of interest (at least one title listed above) by doing a subject search in the library catalog for:

Sports Periodicals

Databases & Indexes

These indexes may also be accessed remotely by CSU affiliates (also via the "A-Z Databases" page).

Start with these         More Specific              Newspaper Articles                Historical Sources

For a historical perspective (& more) start with these

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

America: History & Life. 1964- . 

U.S. and Canadian history.

Project MUSE. Varies. 

Search by discipline, if desired. Sports discussed vary widely.

WorldCat. All years of materials. 

Books, serials, archival collections, microforms, images, and more.

For more specific information on sports.

SPORT Discus. 1949- . 

Identifies articles and book chapters.

Digital Dissertations & Theses. 1861- . Many full text 1997- . 

Abstracts and citations to dissertations from around the world.

History Reference Center

Book article entries aimed at a younger audience up through junior/community college, but could have some useful background information. Also includes "more than 61,100 historical documents; more than 66,000 biographies of historical figures; more than 110,200 historical photos and maps; and more than 80 hours of historical video."

Academic Search Premier. Years vary.  Catch-all database.

Look here last, if needed, or to find mainstream articles aimed at a lay audience.

Newspaper articles on sports.

Ethnic News Watch. 1990- . 

Find articles from non-mainstream news sources. "[B]ilingual (English and Spanish) and comprehensive full text database of newspapers, magazines and journals from ethnic, minority and native presses."

New York Times Historical 1851- . Up to most recent month available in New York Times ProQuest Microfilm.  Find images of articles from the newspaper. Terminology for earlier years will need to be flexible and possibly quite imaginative in order to find relevant materials on this topic.

Nineteenth Century U.S. Newspapers. Online (Gale NewsVault with London Times).  Full text of newspapers.

Same search interface and will often search at the same time the Times Digital Archive, so if seeking U.S. perspective only, be careful to eliminate the London (U.K.) newspaper.

Historical sources with something on sports available to CSU affiliates.

The Gilded Age. Alexander Street Press. 

This primary source database that also includes scholarly commentary has a few sources that mention sports that could be very much of interest. From 1868: "WE seem to be entering upon another age of brawn. Boating and base-ball — two sports that require the greatest amount of physical skill, agility, and endurance — are the most popular of all the pastimes for young men. Even the young women have caught the fever, and are giving unwonted attention to out-door amusements."--Washington Gladden.

U.S. Congressional Serial Set. Readex. 

As of early February 2009, 96 entries for "sports" in citation text. Look up professional sports, fishing (sport), college sports, sports, baseball, hockey, football, basketball. (Learn about anti-trust laws, telecasting, etc.) There might only be an entry or two, but still interesting.

Summaries, Artifacts, & Documents. CSU History Research Guide section. 

Section of "United States of America (History)" Web page. Links to Web sites and CSU databases (only available to CSU affiliates) that have primary source materials to do with U.S. history. Look up sport, sports, and/or specific sports or sports groups to find materials.

Associations & Organizations

Associations and organizations interested in american sports and/or its history.

Identify additional groups via Associations Unlimited (available to CSU affiliates only; two at a time).

North American Society for Sport History (NASSH). 

"The purpose of The North American Society for Sport History is to promote, stimulate, and encourage study and research and writing of the history of sport; to support and cooperate with local, national, and international organizations having the same purposes. The Society conducts its activities solely for scholarly and literary purposes and not for pecuniary profit." Note: Very few of the links on this site work, but it is interesting that such an organization exists.

North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM). 

"NASSM is actively involved in supporting and assisting professionals working in the fields of sport, leisure and recreation. The purpose of the North American Society for Sport Management is to promote, stimulate, and encourage study, research, scholarly writing, and professional development in the area of sport management - both theoretical and applied aspects. Topics of interest to NASSM members include sport marketing, future directions in management, employment perspectives, management competencies, leadership, sport and the law, personnel management, facility management, organizational structures, fund raising, and conflict resolution." CSU does not own the organization's journal, Journal of Sport Management, but Prospector libraries do, so if the table of contents (starting with volume 1 in 1987) show an interesting article, it should be relatively easy to get a copy through Interlibrary Loan. Recent newsletters are available freely online (as of January 2009).

North American Society for the Sociology of Sport (NASSS). 

"While initially founded as an organization to explore sociological aspects of play, games, and sport, the breadth of contemporary NASSS scholarship is also now informed by a variety of interdisciplinary areas that include critical race theories, cultural studies, feminisms, qualitative approaches, and queer theories, among others. NASSS scholars do a range of work that focuses on topics as diverse as sport and aging, the body, disability, education, extreme sports, fandom, heterosexism, human rights, media, medicine and health, politics, racism(s), sexism(s), risk, state intervention, the urban condition, visual and material culture, and youth sport." CSU owns the society's journal (listed above), Sociology of Sport Journal.

The Society for American Baseball Research

"The Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) was established in Cooperstown, New York in August, 1971. Our mission is to foster the study of baseball past and present, and to provide an outlet for educational, historical and research information about the game." Not much material available freely online, but it is interesting to see that this type of organization exists.

It is essential that you carefully evaluate whatever you might find, no matter the format. See: How to Evaluate Journal ArticlesHow to Evaluate BooksHow to Evaluate a Web Page, and How to Evaluate a Movie, Video, or Film Clip.

Author Information

Content: Naomi Lederer


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