Material Culture at UW

The Material Culture Program is an interdisciplinary program that examines forms, uses, and meanings of objects, design, and environments in everyday life. See the program website for departmental information, courses offered, activities, and people involved.


Chazen Museum of Art
Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection
Kohler Art Library
Memorial Library
Ruth Ketterer Harris Library
Silver Buckle Press
Steenbock Library
Wisconsin Historical Society


Ames, Kenneth, and Gerald W.R. Ward, editors. Decorative Arts and Household Furnishings in America, 1650-1920: An Annotated Bibliography. Winterthur, Del: Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, 1989. NK 805 D3 D43 1989 Art Library Reference Collection, Steenbock; Z 5956 D3 D43 1989 Historical Society.

Ehresmann, Donald L. Applied and Decorative Arts: A Bibliographic Guide (2nd ed.). Englewood, Colo: Libraries Unlimited, 1993. NK 1110 E3 1993 Art Library Reference Collection.

Frank, Isabelle. Theory of Decorative Art: An Anthology of European and American Writings, 1750-1940. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press for The Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, 2000. NK 25 T48 2000 Art Library.

Franklin, Linda Campbell. Antiques and Collectibles: A Bibliography of Works in English, 16th Century to 1976. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1978. NK 1125 F6 Art Library Reference Collection.

Greenhalgh, Paul, editor. Quotations and Sources on Design and the Decorative Arts. New York: Manchester University Press, 1993. PN 6084 D46 Q68 1993 Art Library Reference Collection.

Martin, Ann Smart, and J. Ritchie Garrison, editors. American Material Culture: The Shape of the Field. Winterthur, Del: Henry Francis Du Pont Winterthur Museum, 1997. E 161 A388 1997 Art Library, Historical Society, Steenbock.

Schlereth, Thomas J. Material Culture: A Research Guide. Lawrence, Kan: University Press of Kansas, 1985. E 161 M35 1985 Art Library, Memorial Reference, Historical Society, Steenbock.

Schlereth, Thomas J. Material Culture Studies in America. Nashville, Tenn: American Association for State and Local History, 1982. E 169.1 M416 1982 Art Library, Historical Society, Steenbock.

Trench, Lucy. Materials and Techniques in the Decorative Arts: An Illustrated Dictionary. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000. NK 30 M38 2000 Art Library Reference Collection, Steenbock Library.


Unless noted, the following are licensed resources available to University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers only.

America: History and Life (1982-)
Art Full Text (1984-)
Art Index Retrospective (1929-1984)
ARTbibliographies Modern (1974-)
Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals (1930-)
Bibliography of the History of Art (1973-)
Design and Applied Arts Index (1973-)
Design Abstracts Retrospective within Arts:Search (1894-1986)
Historical Abstracts (1955-)
Index to Nineteenth-Century American Art Periodicals (1844-1907)
Internet Library of Early Journals (18th -19th Centuries) PUBLIC ACCESS
JSTOR – Journal Storage Project
NewspaperARCHIVE (1700s-)
19th Century Masterfile: Series I and V (1786-1907)
Palmer’s Full Text Online [London Times] (1790-1905)
PIO: Periodicals Index Online (formerly Periodicals Contents Index) (Late 18th Century -1993)
ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Chicago Tribune (1849-1986)
ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Los Angeles Times (1881-1986)
ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2004)
ProQuest Digital Dissertations (1861-)
Times (London) Digital Archive (1785-1985)
Victorian Database Online (1945-) PUBLIC ACCESS
ViVa: A Bibliography of Women’s History in Historical and Women’s Studies Journals (1995-) PUBLIC ACCESS
Web of Science (1982-)


Licensed resources available to UW-Madison researchers only.

Grove/Oxford Art Online
Grove Encyclopedia of Decorative Arts (in Oxford Reference Online)
OED Online (Oxford English Dictionary)
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Reference Universe
World Biographical Information System


Unless noted, the following are licensed resources available to UW-Madison researchers only.

ACLS Humanities E-Book Project (Antiquity-to date)
American Pamphlets, Series I (1820-1922)
American Periodicals (1741-1940)
American Poetry Database (Colonial Period – Early 20th Century)
America’s Historical Newspapers (1690-1922)
British and Irish Women’s Letters and Diaries (1500-1900)
Database of African-American Poetry (1760-1900)
Defining Gender, advice literature (1450-1910)
Early English Books Online (1475-1700)
Everyday Life and Women in America (c. 1800-1920s)
Eighteenth Century Collections Online (1700-1800)
Eighteenth Century Fiction (British, 1700-1780)
Evans (Early American Imprints) Series I (1639-1800)
German Decorative Trade Bindings (19th and 20th Century) PUBLIC ACCESS
Global Perspectives on Design and Culture (3000 BC – contemporary)
Godey’s Lady’s Book, Folio I (1830-1845) and II (1846-1855)
Hearth: Home Economics Archive (1850-1950) PUBLIC ACCESS
Historical Primary Sources, Texts from UW-Madison Collections (1851-1911)
Litfinder (9th century-current)
London Low Life (Victorian era)
Nineteenth Century Collections Online
North American Immigrant Letters, Diaries and Oral Histories (1840-)
North American Women’s Diaries and Letters (Colonial Times to 1950)

Women’s Magazine Archive
Wright American Fiction (1851-1875)

See the UW-Madison’s list of databases containing pre-1970 content for additional resources.