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Creative Writing



If writing about a specific trade or profession, finding a handbook or guide about it is helpful. For example, a catalog search on the terms "physicians guide" returns books like The Yale Guide to Careers in Medicine & the Health Professions : Pathways to Medicine in the Twenty-first Century published in 2003 as well as A Guide to the Practical Physician published in 1684.


Some useful guides that discuss the process of researching family history as well as sources:

Many of the databases mentioned in the above guides may be subscription-based, but here are some that MHC students can access via local Five College libraries or the South Hadley Public Library: - UMass, Smith, and Amherst subscribe. Visit their campuses and look up in the Five College Library Catalog. and Heritage Quest - the South Hadley Public Library has subscriptions to each of these.  You can visit and use them on site, or, if you get a SHPL library card, you can access Heritage Quest from anywhere using your barcode number.



Note: When searching for works on dress in the library catalog, the subject terms often used are "costume" or "fashion."

Databases and web sites


Etiquette, manners, proper behavior - whatever name you choose, these vary across cultures and time. For best results finding books on this topic, when searching Discover try a Subject terms search on the term "etiquette" modified by geographic area (e.g., "united states") and/or time (e.g., "19th century"). A couple of sample works on etiquette:


For a more in-depth look into the mind of a person from a particular time, place, or background, try searching Discover for autobiographies, memoirs, journals, diaries, correspondence, or narratives (narrow by time – e.g., 19th century – place – e.g., United States - or something descriptive of the person - e.g., Native American). If you have the name of a specific person, do an author search on that person’s name.

You may also find the following biographical databases useful:

Speech - slang dictionaries

There are many free, online slang dictionaries (Urban Dictionary, for example). To be on the safe side, it's probably best to check more than one to confirm the meaning of a term! There are also many books on the topic, current and historic. A sampling:

Speech - sound recordings

Writing in dialect is a tricky task. Listening to native speakers helps. A sampling of web sites offering recordings:
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