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Good Title For Nature Essay

The Nature Essay, c.1850-1920:
Additional Resources in the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress's General Collection and Rare Book Division include many volumes of nature essays, a literary genre which flourished in the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and contributed much to the cultural climate from which the American conservation movement developed. After consulting works included in the Conservation Collection, readers who have direct access to the Library, or to other major research libraries, might wish to look at titles such as those on the list below. They might also wish to consult some of the titles on three other Additional Resources lists, "Scenic and Wilderness Travel Literature, c.1850-1920", "Popular Ornithology, c.1850-1920", and "Juvenile Nature Literature and Nature Pedagogy, c.1850-1920."


Bibliography Menu

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Abbott, Charles C. Clear skies and cloudy. Philadelphia and London, J.B. Lippincott company, 1899.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.A13
LCCN: 98-821

Abbott, Charles C. The freedom of the fields. Philadelphia, J.B. Lippincott co., 1898.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.A17
LCCN: 13-10044

Abbott, Charles C. Outings at odd times. New York, D. Appleton and company, 1890.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.A22
LCCN: 05-42238

Abbott, Charles C. Recent rambles; or, in touch with nature. Philadelphia, J.B. Lippincott company, 1892.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.A23
LCCN: 04-30229

Abbott, Charles C. Upland and meadow: a Poaetquissings chronicle. New York, Harper & brothers, 1886.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.A25
LCCN: 11-23659

Abbott, Charles C. Waste-land wanderings. New York, Harper & brothers, 1887.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.A26
LCCN: 11-23477

Abbott, Charles Conrad. In nature's realm. Trenton, N.J., Albert Brandt, publisher, 1900.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.A2
LCCN: 00-4946

Abbott, Charles Conrad. Notes of the night, and other outdoor sketches. New York, The Century co., 1896.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.A215
LCCN: 13-10043

Abbott, Charles Conrad. The rambles of an idler. Philadelphia and London, George W. Jacobs & company, [1906].
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.A225
LCCN: 06-23559

Adams, John Coleman. Nature studies in Berkshire. New York and London, G.P. Putnam's sons, 1899.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.A27
LCCN: 99-2378

Bignell, Effie. My woodland intimates. New York, The Baker & Taylor company, [1902].
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.B49
LCCN: 03-5772

Buckham, James. Afield with the seasons. New York, Thomas Y. Crowell & co., publishers, [1907].
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.B86
LCCN: 07-23873

Burroughs, John. Birds and bees and other studies in nature. Boston, New York and Chicago, Houghton, Mifflin & company, [1896].
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.B92 1896
LCCN: 04-13850

Burroughs, John. A bunch of herbs and other papers. Boston and New York, Houghton, Mifflin and company, [1896].
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.B923
LCCN: 05-42323

Burroughs, John. Far and near. Boston and New York, Houghton, Mifflin and company, 1904.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.B925
LCCN: 04-30580

Burroughs, John. Field and study. Boston and New York, Houghton Mifflin company, 1919.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.B927
LCCN: 19-6434

Burroughs, John. Fresh fields. Boston, Houghton, Mifflin and company, 1885.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.B93
LCCN: 12-18408

Burroughs, John. Leaf and tendril. Boston and New York, Houghton, Mifflin and company, 1908.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.B937
LCCN: 08-11501

Burroughs, John. Locusts and wild honey. Boston, Houghton, Osgood and company, 1879.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.B94 1879
LCCN: 05-2474

Burroughs, John. Nature near home and other papers. Boston, Houghton Mifflin company, [1919].
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.B945
LCCN: 23-10095

Burroughs, John. Pepacton. Boston, Houghton, Mifflin and company, 1881.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.B95 1881
LCCN: 12-18409

Burroughs, John. Riverby. Boston and New York, Houghton, Mifflin and company, 1894.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.B96
LCCN: 12-31069

Burroughs, John. The summit of the years. Boston and New York, Houghton Mifflin company, 1913.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.B972
LCCN: 13-22803

Burroughs, John. Time and change. Boston and New York, Houghton Mifflin company, 1912.
LC CALL NUMBER: PS1224.T6 1912
LCCN: 12-25134

Burroughs, John. Under the apple-trees. Boston and New York, Houghton Mifflin company, 1916.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.B973
LCCN: 16-11728

Burroughs, John. Wake-robin. New York, Hurd and Houghton, 1871.
LC CALL NUMBER: QL676.B96
LCCN: 05-21547

Burroughs, John. Ways of nature. Boston and New York, Houghton, Mifflin and company, 1905.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.B975
LCCN: 05-32706

Burroughs, John. Winter sunshine. New York, published by Hurd and Houghton, 1876.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.B98 1876
LCCN: 07-36023

Burroughs, John. The wit of a duck and other papers. Boston, Houghton Mifflin company, [1913].
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.B985
LCCN: 19-13233

Burroughs, John. A year in the fields: selections from the writings of John Burroughs: with illustrations from photographs by Clifton Johnson. Boston and New York, Houghton, Mifflin and company, 1896.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.B99 1896
LCCN: 13-18935

Clark, Francis E. The gospel of out of doors. New York, Association press, 1920.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.C5
LCCN: 20-9999

[Cooper, Susan Fenimore, publishing as "A Lady"]. Rural hours. New York, George P. Putnam, 1850.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.C77
LCCN: 04-30235

Curtis, Olin Alfred. The mountains and other nature sketches. New York and Cincinnati, The Abingdon press, [1920].
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.C87
LCCN: 20-8914

Davis, William T. Days afield on Staten Island. [New York, L.H. Biglow & co., 1892].
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.D26 1892
LCCN: 04-30234

Eaton, Walter Prichard. In Berkshire fields. New York and London, Harper & brothers, publishers, [1920].
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.E3
LCCN: 20-18686

Flagg, Wilson. The birds and seasons of New England. Boston, James R. Osgood and company, 1875.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.F57
LCCN: 06-28819

Flagg, Wilson. Halcyon days. Boston, Estes and Lauriat, publishers, 1881.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.F58
LCCN: 15-3221

Flagg, Wilson. Studies in the field and forest. Boston, Little, Brown and company, 1857.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH104.5.N4F5
LCCN: a14-927

Flagg, Wilson. The woods and by-ways of New England. Boston, James R. Osgood and company, 1872.
LC CALL NUMBER: SD381.F56
LCCN: 05-40105

Gibson, W. Hamilton. Pastoral days; or, memories of a New England year. New York, Harper & brothers, 1908.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.G44
LCCN: 09-74

Gibson, W. Hamilton. Strolls by starlight and sunshine. New York, Harper & brothers, 1891.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.G47
LCCN: 04-12894

Gibson, William Hamilton. Happy hunting-grounds: a tribute to the woods and fields. New York, Harper & brothers, 1887.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.G42
LCCN: 10-34341

Gray, William. Camp-fire musings: life and good times in the woods. New York, A.D.F. Randolph & co., 1894.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.G8
LCCN: 09-2655

Higginson, Thomas Wentworth. Out-door papers. Boston, Ticknor and Fields, 1863.
LC CALL NUMBER: PS1927.O7 1863
LCCN: 26-21921

Higginson, Thomas Wentworth. The procession of the flowers, and kindred papers. New York, Longmans, Green, and co., 1897.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.H5
LCCN: 12-5104

Huston, Paul Griswold. An old-fashioned sugar camp and other dreams of the woods: a book of the seasons. Chicago, New York, [etc.], Fleming H. Revell company, [1903].
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.H895
LCCN: 03-26381

Kenyon, James B. Remembered days. New York, Eaton & Mains, [1902].
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.K37
LCCN: 02-29012

Kirkham, Stanton Davis. East and west: comparative studies of nature in eastern and western states. New York and London, G.P. Putnam's sons, 1911.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.K6
LCCN: 11-5387

Kirkham, Stanton Davis. In the open: intimate studies and appreciations of nature. San Francisco and New York, Paul Elder & company, [1908].
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.K62
LCCN: 08-24897

Lazell, Frederick John. Some autumn days in Iowa. Cedar Rapids, Iowa, The Ioway club, 1906.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.L33
LCCN: 07-496

Lazell, Frederick John. Some spring days in Iowa. Cedar Rapids, Iowa, The Torch press, 1908.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.L35
LCCN: 09-100

Lazell, Frederick John. Some summer days in Iowa. Cedar Rapids, Iowa, The Torch press, 1909.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.L36
LCCN: 09-29332

Lazell, Frederick John. Some winter days in Iowa. Cedar Rapids, Iowa, The Torch press, 1907.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.L38
LCCN: 08-1465

Lunt, Horace. Across lots. Boston, D. Lothrop company, [1888].
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.L91
LCCN: 05-42243

Lunt, Horace. As the wild bee hums. Cincinnati, The Editor publishing company, 1899.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.L93
LCCN: 00-59

Lunt, Horace. Short cuts and by-paths. Boston, D. Lothrop company, [1891].
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.L95
LCCN: 05-42242

Packard, Winthrop. Wild pastures. Boston, Small, Maynard and company, publishers, [1909].
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.P2
LCCN: 09-16426

Packard, Winthrop. Wildwood ways. Boston, Small, Maynard and company, publishers, [1909].
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.P23
LCCN: 09-29596

Packard, Winthrop. Wood wanderings. Boston, Small, Maynard and company, publishers, [1910].
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.P24
LCCN: 10-19939

Packard, Winthrop. Woodland paths. Boston, Small, Maynard and company, publishers, [1910].
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.P25
LCCN: 10-11751

Quayle, William A. Beside Lake Beautiful. New York and Cincinnati, The Abingdon press, [1914].
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.Q2
LCCN: 14-15049

Quayle, William A. In God's out-of-doors. Cincinnati, Jennings & Pye, [1902].
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.Q24
LCCN: 02-27500

Quayle, William A. The prairie and the sea. Cincinnati, Jennings and Graham; New York, Eaton and Mains, [1905].
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.Q26
LCCN: 06-741

Robinson, Rowland E. In New England fields and woods. Boston and New York, Houghton, Mifflin and company, 1896.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.R69
LCCN: 09-2653

Scoville, Samuel. Everyday adventures. Boston, The Atlantic monthly press, [1920].
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.S4
LCCN: 20-19518

Serl, Elmer Willis. The fraternity of the fields. New York, The Neale publishing company, 1914.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.S46
LCCN: 14-17858

Sharp, Dallas Lore. The face of the fields. Boston and New York, Houghton Mifflin company, 1911.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.S48
LCCN: 11-5205

Sharp, Dallas Lore. Where rolls the Oregon. Boston and New York, Houghton Mifflin company, 1914.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.S514
LCCN: 14-11164

Sharp, Dallas Lore. Wild life near home. New York, The Century co., 1901.
LC CALL NUMBER: QL81.S53
LCCN: unk83-29349

Shaw, Lloyd. Nature notes of the Pikes Peak region. [Colorado Springs], Apex, [1916].
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.S56
LCCN: 17-865

Skinner, Charles M. Nature in a city yard: some rambling dissertations thereupon. New York, The Century co., 1897.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.S72
LCCN: 09-2654

Thompson, Maurice. My winter garden: a nature-lover under Southern skies. New York, The Century co., 1900.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.T47
LCCN: 00-5597

Thoreau, Henry D. Walden; or, life in the woods. Boston, Ticknor and Fields, 1854.
LC CALL NUMBER: PS3048.A1 1854 (Rare BK Coll)
LCCN: 15-2573

Thoreau, Henry D. A week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers.... New and revised edition. Boston, Ticknor and Fields, 1868.
LC CALL NUMBER: F72.C5T5 (Rare BK Coll)
LCCN: 08-14409

Thoreau, Henry D., John Burroughs, John Muir, Bradford Torrey, Dallas Lore Sharp, and Olive Thorne Miller. In American fields and forests. Boston and New York, Houghton Mifflin company, 1909.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.I3
LCCN: 09-13942

Torrey, Bradford. The clerk of the woods. Boston and New York, Houghton Mifflin company, 1903.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.T63
LCCN: 03-22540

Torrey, Bradford. Field-days in California. Boston and New York, Houghton Mifflin company, 1913.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.T635
LCCN: 13-1989

Torrey, Bradford. The foot-path way. Boston and New York, Houghton, Mifflin and company, 1892.
LC CALL NUMBER: QL676.T72
LCCN: 09-12161

Torrey, Bradford. Nature's invitation: notes of a bird-gazer north and south. Boston and New York, Houghton, Mifflin and company, 1904.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.T66
LCCN: 04-26926

Torrey, Bradford. A rambler's lease. Boston and New York, Houghton, Mifflin and company, 1889.
LC CALL NUMBER: QL676.T74
LCCN: 09-12160

Torrey, Bradford. Spring notes from Tennessee. Boston and New York, Houghton, Mifflin and company, 1896.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.T67
LCCN: rc01-1282

Torrey, Bradford. A world of green hills: observations of nature and human nature in the Blue Ridge. Boston and New York, Houghton, Mifflin and company, 1898.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.T69
LCCN: 98-1095

Townsend, Charles Wendell. Sand dunes and salt marshes. Boston, Dana Estes & company, publishers, [1913].
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.T7
LCCN: 13-15302

Whittemore, H.W. A blueberry pasture and other outdoor sketches made in New Hampshire. [N.p.], The Tufts College press, 1910.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.W5
LCCN: 10-8394

Wright, Mabel Osgood. The friendship of nature: a New England chronicle of birds and flowers. New York and London, Macmillan and company, 1894.
LC CALL NUMBER: QH81.W8
LCCN: 12-40310


Bibliography Menu

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Introduction

Titles are like billboards: they try to sell you a product. In the case of your essay, the title should be both informative and creative, so that the reader is eager to read on and discover what your essay has to offer.

Key Words

The first step to creating a good title is to find a few words that describe the topic of your paper. If your instructor has given you a research question, you can pick some words from there, but a better place to look is your thesis statement (once it’s written). What is your argument about?

Let’s say you’re writing an essay about the potential benefits of electric toothbrushes.

At first the number of potential key words may seem overwhelming:

manual, electric, pros and cons, bristles, benefits, plague, gums, cavities, pressure, braces, cost, timer, flossing, bad breath, brands, safety.

Depending on what we want to argue, the first step is to choose the most appropriate key words. Here are some examples of basic titles:

The Safety Record of Electric Toothbrushes

The Surprising Benefits of Electric Toothbrushes

Manual or Electric: Which Toothbrush is Better at Fighting Plague?

Of course this is all very basic yet, but it’s a start. And who knows—perhaps this outlandish example may come in handy when your writing skills land you a job in advertising…

Focusing Your Title

Once you’ve figured out a few key words, the next step is to make your title as specific as possible.

Here are some sample titles that sound dramatic, but are lacking in detail:

Hitler’s Final Days

David Livingstone on Safari

Decriminalizing Marijuana

Fundraising for Terrorism

Each of these titles can be more specific:

Fear and Paranoia in the Führerbunker: Tracing Adolf Hitler’s Final Days.

David Livingstone’s Impact on Christian Missionary Activity in Africa

The Financial Impact of Decriminalizing Marijuana

Fundraising for Terrorism: How the Columbian Drug Trade Benefits Rebel Groups.

Always ask yourself if your title sufficiently captures the ideas in your paper.

Formatting Titles

You should capitalize key words in your title. As a general guideline, we provide here the MLA rules for capitalization (also covered here).

According to the MLA rules, you do not need to capitalize the following parts of speech unless they are the first word in your title or come right after the colon:

  • Articles (aanthe)
  • Prepositions (e.g., withinofbeside)
  • Coordinating conjunctions (andbutfornororso, yet)
  • The to in infinitives (e.g., to loveto be)

Tips

The Creative Touch

In academic writing, the emphasis is on being informative. Since you’re writing for a general audience (and not just your instructor), try make your title as clear as possible.

In a less formal context, you can be more dramatic or enigmatic. Whatever you do, though, avoid corny and melodramatic titles such as the following:

Everlasting Love

To Be or Not to Be

Into the Mist

Of course, creative titles are often on the cusp of being lame, so it’s a matter of knowing your audience and acting accordingly.

Questions

If you’re feeling experimental, you could use a question as a title:

Why Can’t We Impeach the President?

Whatever Happened to the Novella?

Be careful though: using a question will make your tone more casual.

Using a Colon

Academic titles often employ a colon to connect ideas and phrases. The usual method is to insert a creative phrase or short quotation before the colon:

Suspiciously Delicious: A Brief History of Poison

“These Romans are Crazy”: The Representation of Julius Caesar in Asterix 

While such introductory phrases add flavour, they are easily overused. That’s why some people consider this use of the colon an abomination. Be careful, then, not to abuse this device.

Remove Metadiscourse

The term metadiscourse refers to language that describes the process of thinking and writing. Often you don’t need to draw attention to the act of doing research:

With metadiscourse: My Meditations on the Effects of Mediated Bargaining at Three Carefully Selected Australian Universities.

Without Metadiscourse: The Effects of Mediated Bargaining at Three Australian Universities

The exception is if you’re trying to be clever:

An Analysis of Dialysis: Recent Advances in the Treatment of Kidney Failure.

Of course, such titles can easily seem corny.

Conclusion

Crafting a good title is not easy. It’s often best to add the title at the very end, once you have a clear idea what you’ve actually been meaning to say. So as you put the final touches on your essay, spend some time crafting a great title. That way you will make a great first impression.
 

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