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Cold War History: Resources   Tags: history  

A brief guide to local resources on the Cold War, with emphasis on primary source collections available through Western Libraries' Heritage Resources programs.
Last Updated: Mar 6, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Useful Search Terms

You may find it useful to search library and/or archival catalogs using some of the following subject search terms (you can also narrow results by adding a geographic location, e.g. Antinuclear movement--Washington (State)  OR Antinuclear movement--Washington (State)--Bellingham):

  • Antinuclear movement
  • Cold War
  • Communism
  • Nuclear warfare
  • Peace movements
  • United States--Foreign Relations
  • United States--Relations--Soviet Union
  • Soviet Union--Relations--United States
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1974
  • Washington (State).--Legislature.--Joint Legislative Fact-Finding Committee on Un-American Activities.

For resources about social protest and/or civil rights movements during the Cold War period, the following search terms may be useful:

  • Black power
  • Civil rights movements
  • College students
  • College students--Political activity
  • Conscientious Objectors
  • Feminism
  • Gay college students
  • New Left
  • Protest Movements
  • Race relations
  • Radicalism
  • Student movements
  • Student protesters
  • Women's rights

Ask a reference librarian or archivist if you need assistance.



This guide suggests useful resources for studying the history and impact of the Cold War, with an emphasis on primary and secondary sources available through Western Libraries and the Libraries' Heritage Resources collections. Please contact Western Libraries Research Desk or Heritage Resources' staff if you have questions and/or need assistance finding more information.


Searching Western Libraries' Catalog

Consult with your instructors about recommended readings and ask us if you need help finding a specific title or type of resource.
The following may be useful for background information & context: they provide access to primary source material of local & regional interest

Cover Art
American Decades Primary Sources - Cynthia Rose (Editor)
Call Number: Western Library Reference E169.1 .A471977
ISBN: 9780787665944
Also available online. Check the 1950's, '60's & 70's.

Cover Art
American Decades, 1960-1969 - Matthew J. Bruccoli; Richard Layman
Call Number: Western Library Wilson 2W - Reference E169.12 .A419
ISBN: 0810388839
American Decades documents and analyzes periods of contemporary American social history, providing historical context in politics, & social, cultural, & lifestyle.
Check the 1950's & 70's as well for additional material.

Northwest Passage
Alternative newspaper published in Bellingham and later, Seattle, Washington, circa 1969-1986. Additional copies available at the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies.

Cover Art
The Cold War - Kevin Hillstrom (Editor)
Call Number: Western Library Reference D842.H48 2006
ISBN: 9780780809345
Publication Date: 2006-06-26
Good for background information, this work assembles 100 primary documents on this pivotal era in world history, supplemented with background information on the origins and significance of the document, including the historical context in which it was created. Other features include a glossary, chronology, bibliography, and subject index.

Western Student Newspapers [Online Digital Collection]
Student newspaper and a rich source of information re: campus history.


Western Libraries provides access to a wide variety of article and research databases (a WWU log-in is required). Follow this link to the Libraries' online guide to Databases A-Z and/or ask staff at the Libraries' Research Desk for assistance.  

  • Databases for History
    Links to: America: History and Life, the definitive index of literature covering the history and culture of the United States and Canada, from prehistory to the present; American Decades, New York Times online, and several other databases & resources.
  • America History & Life  
    America: History and Life is the definitive index of literature covering the history and culture of the United States and Canada, from prehistory to the present. Available with WWU login

Heritage Resources

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Heritage Resources
Contact Info
Special Collections, 6th Floor Wilson Library, 360-650-3193

University Archives and Records Center, Goltz-Murray Building, 360-650-3124

Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Goltz-Murray Building, 360-650-7534
Send Email

Heritage Resources


Western Libraries Heritage Resources provides for responsible stewardship of and access to unique and archival resources in support of teaching, learning and resarch at Western Washington University and beyond. The Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Special Collections, and University Archives and Records Management work together to document the culture and history of Western, the local community and Pacific Northwest region, and to promote public and scholarly access to holdings.


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