American Fiction, 1774-1920 encompasses more than 17,500 works of prose fiction written by Americans from the political beginnings of the United States through World War I, including thousands never before available online. This digital collection is based on authoritative bibliographies including Lyle H. Wright’s American Fiction: A Contribution Toward a Bibliography, widely considered the most comprehensive bibliography of American adult prose fiction of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and Geoffrey D. Smith’s American Fiction, 1901-1925: A Bibliography, comprising nearly three-quarters of all adult fiction published in the United States during this time period.
Explore the development of American literature in a changing culture through novels, short stories, romances, fictitious biographies, travel accounts, and sketches. These texts reveal much about the socioeconomic, political, and religious tenor of America through centuries of radical change, enabling students and researchers to answer key questions about history, society, identity, psychology, race, gender, and culture. The ability to cross-search American Fiction, 1774-1920 with Gale’s other digital primary source collections places thousands of authors and titles in context with historical newspapers, monographs, ephemera, and other sources to bring to light never-before-discovered collections.
Content inclusion for American Fiction, 1774-1920 is based on several authoritative bibliographies:
- Titles to 1900 include nearly all of the works found in Lyle H. Wright’s American Fiction: A Contribution Toward a Bibliography. The Wright bibliography offers first and hard-to-find editions of major writers including Louisa May Alcott, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Stephen Crane, Mark Twain, Henry James, and other well-known authors. The works of “obscure” writers help to build a comprehensive picture of the period.
- Titles from 1901 to 1910, gathered from major American fiction collections, follow the general selection criteria established by Wright as sourced from the Library of Congress Shelf List of American Adult Fiction.
- Titles from the period 1911-1920 are based on Geoffrey D. Smith’s American Fiction, 1901-1925: A Bibliography and compiled from the holdings of the William Charvat Collection of American Fiction at the Ohio State University Library. In addition to works of major canonical writers, this bibliography highlights local-color fiction, popular genre writing, and treatment of disreputable subjects within the realm of fiction.
The 17,500 titles featured in American Fiction, 1774-1920 include:
- Adventure novels, travels and sketches
- Tract-like tales
- Fictitious biographies
- Immigrant fiction
- Works by minority writers
- Popular genre titles
- Politically-motivated works
- Short stories collections
- Works from often-studied and award-winning authors
- Local fiction
- Social commentaries
- And more