Handbooks, and specifically research handbooks, can provide very valuable overviews of past theories and current thinking on aspects of a particular subject or discipline.  They are generally edited volumes, with chapters written by experts in the field, and these usually include extensive bibliographies of key writings on the topic treated in the chapter.

Gottesman Libraries

You can find handbooks in Educat+ using the following search query string: 

"[your subject] -- Handbooks, manuals, etc."

Use the searching by subject guide to locate the specific controlled vocabulary for your subject subject of interest.

Columbia University Libraries

In CLIO Databases, adjust the field "Browse by Research Type" to "Handbooks" and search for the topic you are looking for. You can also adjust the "Browse by Discipline" field to narrow your results.