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Speech and Public Speaking: In the Library

The purpose of this guide is to help identify sources for use in preparing speeches as well as finding topics and texts of speeches made by others. It is not comprehensive, but provides a good starting point for research.

Find Sources

Search multiple databases and the library catalog.

Type in keywords, titles, or authors to find what the library has to offer on your topic.

Lookup a journal article by DOI or PMID



If you have a DOI or a PubMed ID (PMID), enter it here to begin your request. This will point you to immediate full-text access through our subscriptions or Open Access (if available).

Call Numbers

If you want to browse the collection, these are some call numbers where you can find books about Public Speeking and general speech topic ideas.

  • HC10-1085 -- Economic History and Conditions
  • HN1-981 -- Social History, Social Problems, Social Reform
  • HQ1-2039 -- The family, Marriage, Women
  • HV1-9960 -- Social Pathology, Social and Public Welfare, Criminology
  • J80-82 --Presidents' messages and other executive papers
  • PN4121 -- Public Speaking Skills, Oral Communication Skills
  • PN4001-4355 --Oratory. Elocution, etc.
  • PN6121-6129 --Orations
  • PS660-668.2 -- Collections of American literature. Oratory
  • QH75-77 -- Nature Conservation and Landscape Protection
  • QH426-470 -- Genetics
  • R131-784 -- History of Medicine
  • RA1-1270 -- Public Aspects of Medicine
  • U1-900 -- Military Science (General)
  • UA10-997 -- Armies: Organization, Description, Facilities, Etc.
  • Z657-659 -- Censorship

Subject Headings

This is a list of suggested terms to use in a search for Public Speaking and Speech Writing resources in the Library Catalog:

  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Oral Communication
  • Oratory
  • Public Speaking
  • Self-Presentation
  • Speech Writing
  • Speeches, Addresses, Etc.
  • Speeches, Addresses, Etc., American
  • Speeches, Addresses, Etc. -- History and Criticism

Journals & Magazines

The following titles are available in print on the 3rd floor in the Periodicals Room:

  • Imprimis -- December 2001-March 2018 --Each issue contains a single speech.
  • Vital Speeches -- June 1985-Present --Each issue contains several speeches from a wide array of national/international figures.


Browse the current issues of periodicals for topic ideas.


The following titles are available on the main (2nd) floor in the Audio/Visual Room:


The Art of public speaking: lessons from the greatest speeches in history
Call #: Great PN4129.15 .A78 2010 DVD & Guide (Great Courses)


Selected Books

These books are in the circulating collection.  You may check them out for three weeks at a time.  When you click on the book, it will take you to the catalog, where you can check whether the book is currently available, or when it is due back, as well as where it is located.

These are available on the third floor in the Reference Room.  They are for in-library use only, but you can make copies of pages as needed.

These books are highlighted as possible sources for speech topics and information.

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