SHAFR first published a magisterial, two-volume guide to the literature in the history of American foreign relations in 2003 as American Foreign Relations: A Guide to the Literature, and updated it with an online version beginning in 2007. Initially compiled by Robert L. Beisner of American University and 32 contributing editors, the second edition had 40 editors under the supervision of Thomas W. Zeiler, of the University of Colorado Boulder. The Guide contained over 20,000 annotated entries, arranged in 32 chapters.
In 2014, the SHAFR Council appointed Alan McPherson of Oklahoma State University (from Fall 2017, at Temple University) as Guide editor, overseeing production of the revised (third) edition of the Guide published online and in paper form by Brill, renamed as The SHAFR Guide.
The SHAFR Guide Online: An Annotated Bibliography of U.S. Foreign Relations since 1600 is a near-comprehensive, 2.1 million-word online annotated bibliography of historical work covering the entire span of U.S. foreign relations. It aims to jump-start the research of both students from high school to graduate school as well as the most advanced scholars. The SHAFR Guide Online, created by the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) and helmed by General Editor Alan McPherson, should be the first place to which researchers turn when establishing a bibliography, whether it be about US-Latin American relations in the 19th century, World War II, or US-China/East Asia relations since the Vietnam War.
The SHAFR Guide Online’s thirty chapters cover all eras in U.S. history from colonial days through the Barack Obama presidency as well as all geographical areas of the world. A specialist of the topic has expertly organized and annotated each chapter’s entries. The latest edition also includes four new thematic chapters—on economic issues; non-governmental actors; domestic issues, the Congress, and public opinion; and race, gender, and culture. Entries include every type of historical source, from collections of government documents to biographies, monographs, book chapters, journal articles, web sites, and much more.
The SHAFR Guide itself has a long, illustrious history. Since 1983, SHAFR has published several previous editions, under different names, edited by Richard Dean Burns, Robert Beisner, and Thomas Zeiler. Henceforth, The SHAFR Guide will be primarily an online tool. The addition of keywords for each entry is meant to make searches as effortless as possible, and its chapters will be updated twice a year. It is destined to become the preeminent bibliography in the field and an indispensable research tool for historians of U.S. foreign relations—amateurs and professionals alike.