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University at Buffalo Libraries

Architecture & Planning Library

Architecture & Planning

Hometown Community History & Analysis

Architecture & Planning Reference Books:

A field guide to American architecture. Rifkind, C. (1980)
APL Ref NA 705 R53 1980
A comprehensive handbook on American architectural heritage traces the development of architectural styles in the United States, from the simple wood houses of the 17th century to the steel and glass towers of our own day. ( illustrations)

American architecture since 1780: a guide to the styles. Whiffen, M. (1992)
APL Ref NA 705 .W47 1992
Contains descriptions, histories, and illustrations of more than forty architectural styles, and has been revised and updated to include two new chapters on late modernism and on post-modernism and another on ‘streamline moderne, ‘ now recognized as an independent style.

How to read buildings : a crash course in architectural styles. Davidson Cragoe, Carol. (2008)
APL Ref NA2550 .C73 2008
Explains how to decode a structure’s style, history, and evolution by recognizing key designs clues, and provides overviews on how geography, history, and religion influenced architecture.

Encyclopedia of vernacular architecture of the world. Oliver, Paul (1997)
APL Ref NA208 .E53 1997
This encyclopedia covers over a diversity of cultures and how their buildings are constructed and lived in by the people.
There are three volumes: The first focuses on the theories, principles and philosophy that underpin traditional architecture. Volumes 2 and 3 consider these principles within specific cultural and societal contexts.

What style is it?: a guide to American architecture. Poppeliers, J. C., Chambers, S. Allen. (2003).
APL Ref NA705 .P6 2003
Architectural style is defined as a definite type of architecture, distinguished by special characteristics of structure and ornament. Includes new sections on Neoclassical, Romanesque and Rustic Styles and examples of how pure styles vary by geographic region across the US. * Includes sections on 25 of the most significant architectural styles including Early Colonial, Federal and Second Empire * More than 200 photos and line drawings make this a visually rich resource. 300f photos and drawings are new to this edition * A glossary offers quick access to architectural terms * Includes an added guide to using the Historical American Buildings Society online catalogue of more than 30,000 historic structures, giving access to more than 51,000 measured drawings, 156,000 photographs and more than 30,000 original historical reports.

Online Books:

Google Books a good resource to determine what books contain information on you city.

Hathi Trust Digital Library
HathiTrust Digital Library is a digital preservation repository and highly functional access platform. It provides long-term preservation and access services for public domain and in copyright content from a variety of sources, including Google, the Internet Archive, Microsoft, and in-house partner institution initiatives.

Internet Archive The Internet Archive is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that was founded to build an Internet library. Its purposes include offering permanent access for researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public to historical collections that exist in digital format.


Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals
comprehensive index to national and international architectural journals, both professional and popular. Covers architecture, urban planning and design, historic preservation, art, and related topics. Comprehensive coverage 1930 to the present; selective coverage from 1860 – 1830.

Digital Sanborn Maps- New York
The UB Libraries has a subscription to the digital edition (available to the UB community), providing electronic access to Sanborn fire insurance maps of cities and towns in New York State (1867-1970). More on Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps…

Historical Abstracts
The most important index/abstract to the literature of world history, excluding the United States and Canada, from 1450 to date. Over 1,700 academic historical journals, in over 40 languages, are covered beginning in 1955. Abstracts and citations are provided to articles, books (noted in key English-language journals and review sources), and dissertations.

Historical News Online A guide to historical newspapers online.

Newspapers Online A list of databases and newspapers web sites.

Periodicals Index Online
Index to over 3,000 academic and popular periodicals published from 1770 to the present. Subject coverage includes anthropology, ethnology, archaeology, ancient civilizations, area studies, and history.


Gale Virtual Reference Library - includes subject encyclopedias, almanacs, and specialized reference works in broad subject areas, including issues related to architecture.

Grove Art Online -  covers all aspects of art worldwide, including architecture and planning, painting, sculpture, graphic and decorative arts, and photography. Provides background information on artists, architects, cities, buildings, periods, styles, and more. Contains bibliographies and links to pertinent definitions and images.

Worldcat – WorldCat is a mega-library catalog containing more than 100 million records contributed by 20,000 libraries around the world. It contains full bibliographic descriptions and cataloging information for the following types of materials: books, serials, manuscripts, sound recordings, audiovisual materials, maps, music scores, and computer-readable files.

Historical Societies:

New York Historical Society Museum & Library – click ‘Library’ tab, left side ‘Bobcat Search’, then ‘All Libraries’ = searches the collection of  The New-York Historical Society Library, the New York University Libraries and the libraries of The New School University, Cooper Union, Brooklyn Historical Society and New York School of Interior Design.

Preservation organizations & resources – links to Historical Societies & Preservation Societies, State Historic Preservation Office, Certified Local Government Commissions.

National Registry of Historic Places- searchable database, not all digital but can do a google image search


American Memory – A primary source materials relating to the history and culture of the United States.

Google Images – use for pictures of historic buildings in your town/city, search by name of building.


Panoramic maps 1847-1929 Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress - This page contains about 1700 idealized schematic views of towns and cities which show a wealth of detail in setting, streets, and buildings. The user is able to search by keyword or browse by geographic location or subject.

Perry-Castaneda Library Map Collection -(Army Map Service Topographic Map Series)
International Historic, Country & City Maps (on left side menu, after selecting your appropriate map site, use Ctrl F to search for your City/Town)

UB Libraries Map Collection – Topographic map guide by the Map Librarian, David Bertuca.

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