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Speeches and Rhetorical Criticism: Reference Materials

Research guide for the study of speeches and rhetorical criticism

Credo eRef

Selected Education Reference Materials

Subject dictionaries, encyclopedias, and handbooks typically provide background essays, definitions, broad overviews of various topics, or other pertinent facts. They also provide a quick overview of authors and their works.

CQ Weekly Report

Facts on File 

Great Speeches for Criticism and Analysis 

Index to American Women Speakers 1828-1978 

Landmark American Speeches

Newspapers of record -- The following newspapers often print entire speeches or long excerpts of important speeches: New York Times, LA Times, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor.

Nobel Lectures, Literature

Penguin Book of 20th Century Speeches 

The Penguin book of historic speeches 

Representative American Speeches 

Speech Collections/Browsing -- Browsing may be helpful if no specific speech is sought. Useful call number ranges for shelf browsing are:


General collections — PN 4199-4355 & PN 6121-6129, 6th Floor
British Speeches — PR 1321-1329, 6th Floor
American Speeches — PS 660-668, 6th Floor
Sermons — BV 4240-4316, 5th Floor
Speech Index, 1935-1980 
Speeches of the American Presidents 
Vital Speeches Of the Day -- Includes speeches made by executives, politicians, and other national figures. 
We Shall Be Heard: Index to Speeches by American Women 1978-1985 
What They Said (1969-1991) -- Use to find excerpts of speeches. Gives citation to resource containing full text of speech.
Government Documents: 
Messages of the Presidents, 1789-1897 — Y 4.P93/1:3/1-10
Public Papers of the Presidents — AE 2.114:
Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, Current issues in Gov Docs AE 2.109; Back issues on microfilm, J80.A24, 3rd floor
Congressional Information Service (CIS), 1970 to present. Indexes speeches made at Congressional hearings.
Congressional Record (and its earlier titles) -- Like the CIS above, the Congressional Record may also access Congressional speeches. 1789-1960 on microfilm, 3rd floor; 1873-present, in Government Documents, 4th floor

Quotations or Passages from Speeches


Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations — Reference PN6081 .B27


Strong's New Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible — Reference BS425 .S8


Indicates where words are mentioned in the Bible.


Granger's Index to PoetryReference PN1022 .G7




Biographical Information


Biography and Genealogy Master Index


Biography Reference Bank


Biography Resource Center


Current Biography (1940 to present) — Reference CT100 .C8


Lengthy articles on prominent people. Also available via Biography Reference Bank database.


Dictionary of American BiographyReference E176 .D56


Information about deceased prominent Americans from 1776-20th century.


Oxford Dictionary of National BiographyReference DA28 .O95


Information about deceased prominent Britons.


Who Was Who in AmericaReference E176 .W64


Information about prominent deceased Americans from 1607-1989.


Who's WhoReference DA28 .W6


Information about prominent Britons. 1971-1994; older volumes on 5th Floor under same call number.


Who's Who in AmericaReference E663 .W56


Information about prominent living Americans. Editions from 1970 to present; older volumes on 5th Floor under same call number.


Who's Who in the WorldReference CT120 .W5


Information about prominent people worldwide.




Criticism or Background Information


Academic OneFile


Indexes scholarly journals AND popular magazines from a variety of disciplines and/or interests. Includes some full-text articles.



Day By Day, The Forties 
Day By Day, The Fifties
Day By Day, The Sixties
Day By Day, The Seventies
Day by Day, The Eighties
Chronicle of the Twentieth Century
Chronicle of the World