About Twentieth Century Advice Literature

1. About the Database

The twentieth century was a time of rapid and drastic change in values and behaviors held and practiced in American life. The goal of Twentieth Century Advice Literature: North American Guides on Race, Gender, Sex, and the Family is to provide researchers and students with a highly visual and fully searchable archive illustrating how Americans grappled with these changes, and how their day-to-day life, attitudes, mores, and behaviors changed over time. To that end, the collection offers 150,000 pages of handbooks, manuals, textbooks, etiquette guides, self-help books, instructional pamphlets, and how-to books describing American attitudes towards family dynamics, gender roles, sexual relationships, and race relations. This content is often heavily illustrated, and the database presents it visually, conveying the feeling of the time and allowing users to see and read the material just as its original audience did.

This content has been brought together from archives and personal collections from across the United States. Much of the material is classified as ephemeral and was rarely catalogued and preserved by libraries at the time of original publication. Furthermore, many of the handbooks and guides in the collection were produced and distributed by organizations only to their members and so were never collected outside of those groups. This content fell out of date quickly and so now provide very precise snapshots to particular audiences and times. Materials include traditionally published items, including how-to books and guides; professional manuals, such as employee manuals; society publications, including sorority and fraternity pledge manuals and scouting manuals; textbooks that deal with home economics, health and hygiene, and sex education; teacher-training and course manuals; commercial literature that promotes specific behaviors; and government instruction manuals for a variety of workplaces and industries.

All of the literature in the collection has been digitized to allow for both keyword searching and page-by-page image viewing of the texts. Furthermore, all of the texts have been deeply indexed by subjects, metadata about the authors, and the original intended audience of the work. As a result, students and scholars can combine keyword and fielded search capabilities to frame creative and highly targeted queries, and then be taken directly to the page image of the text that helps answer their question, aided not just by the written word but also by the visual artifact.

2. Editorial and Submissions Policy

Our goal is to create an archive that illuminates American values and behaviors with regard to family dynamics, gender roles, sexual relationships, and race relations through the conduct and prescriptive literature produced around these topics. Material has been drawn from archives and personal collections across North America.

We welcome contributions from organizations, individuals, and commercial publishers, especially if you have materials that are rare or of special interest. Submitting materials to our editors is easy and without obligation on your part. To discuss submission and licensing of materials for inclusion in Twentieth Century Advice Literature, please contact us at editor@astreetpress.com with a description of the materials you are interested in submitting.

3. Acknowledgements

Many are to thank in the creation of this database. A special thanks to:

  • Andrea Eastman-Mullins
  • John West
  • Martin Latterner
  • Maura Walz
  • Michelle Eldridge
  • Milena Gruwell
  • Mike Kangal
  • Ning Zhu
  • Nazar Sharunenko
  • Pat Carlson
  • Peter Cooper
  • Stephanie Garrett
  • Stephen Rhind-Tutt
  • Wendi Slagle

4. Subscription and Free Trial Information

For information on how to gain access to Twentieth Century Advice Literature, please contact us at sales@alexanderst.com. Academic institutions and public libraries are encouraged to request a free 30-day trial of this landmark resource.

5. Technical Support

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6. Errata

Our intention is to have a database without errors. We appreciate all suggestions for improvements and reports of factual errors. To report errors or to suggest improvements, please email the Editor at editor@astreetpress.com. Please include the author, the document, and the page number. Please also include your email address, so that we can let you know the status of your correction.

7. Copyright

All materials in collection are protected under U.S. and International Copyright Law. Fair use under the law permits reproduction of single copies for personal research and private use. Further transmission, reproduction, or presentation of protected items requires the written permission of the copyright owners. For information on the copyright of the freely available materials pointed to by the index, please consult the individual websites.


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