Coming from an American Studies program, my experience of U.S. intellectual history appears to be a bit different than that of the historians who make up the majority of this hardy band of bloggers. Specifically, to the extent that anyone in American Studies thinks about intellectual history at all, the subject tends to be understood as one that trucks in primary sources. After reading, in the other post below, about a potential canon of secondary sources, I was curious as to whether the notion of a canon of primary sources even makes sense to those in the history department and, if so, what works would be included in it.
So I again prepared a list of 25 books, on the assumption that I was preparing an orals list for a Ph.D. student. (A lot more wound up on the cutting room floor than did for my secondary source list, which is available in the comments section of the above-mentioned post.) One caveat, however, is that I did not include any works of fiction in this list. I would think that somewhere between five and ten novels might belong, but there was no way to keep the list under 25 under those conditions. So I cheated, and perhaps will post another list of fiction and film that might belong on a third list for my increasingly beleaguered hypothetical student.
The list will be posted in the comments section below.