Ready Reference Tools

"Ready reference" books are generally ones that answer short, quick, factual questions. They are especially helpful in answering "trivia" questions. Some of the most helpful are described below.


This is an alphabetical list of the first times famous events occurred in the United States or which Involved United States citizens. It answers questions like:

  • When was the first paper dress pattern manufactured?
  • What famous first occurred 25 years ago?
  • Did any famous first happen in Bakersfield?

    The author has tried to verify all the "firsts" here, so there are many facts not Included. At times, further research into a subject will turn up conflicting facts from those presented here so, as with all reference materials, you must use caution In accepting these as always true. Sources for the facts given are sometimes, but not always, provided. It covers only events In the United States. It has useful indexes of names, days, years and places.


    The GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS began in 1956 as a manual to settle bar arguments. It attempts to record verified extremes - the fastest, biggest, smallest, etc., of the human and natural world. It is arranged by general subject category such as "The human being" or "Sports, games and pastimes" with an index at the back. It is updated yearly.


    Besides containing the basic rules of etiquette which you would expect, etiquette sources can be helpful for finding less expected information as well.

    Forms of address are here, too (you also found these in some dictionaries, remember?). Helpful hints on coping with certain situations, proper forms for letters and much more can be found here.

    One caution in using etiquette books is that "proper" social custom is changing very fast. You need to be careful If you're using an older book of etiquette. Advice may not be currently accepted, and some topics (e.g., unmarried people living together) may not be covered at all.


    CHASES is the best source for finding designated and special and notable days, weeks, months and years. CHASES is published annually and has a keyword index. The book is arranged by date. Listings give the event and often a brief background narrative. Sometimes a contact for further information is listed. CHASES answers questions like:

    Complete the Ready Reference Tools Practice Questions.

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    This page was last updated on November 19, 2003.