In the first decade of the 20th century, http://www.cs.utk.edu/ shuford/terminal_index.html was Shuford's Website at the University of Tennessee. It was the major sit for information about text terminals but is now (2013) defunct. Perhaps one can find it archived on the "Wayback" machine. http://www.cs.utk.edu/ shuford/terminal/repair_hints_news.txt was Shuford's repair archive of newsgroup postings on terminal repair. See below for the vt100 part of this website which is still on the internet.
As far as I know, there is no satisfactory book on text terminals Although this HOWTO has been published as a book, I don't suggest that that you buy it if you have access to the online version which I'm improving on every few months or so. The following are mainly of historical interest:
The "HANDBOOK ... " presents brief specifications of over 100 different models of antique terminals made in the early 1970's by over 60 different companies. It also explains how they work physically but has a diagram for a CRT which erroneously shows electrostatic deflection of the electron beam (p. 36). Terminals actually used magnetic deflection (even in the 1970's). This book explains a number of advanced technical concepts such as "random scan" and "color penetration principle".
The "COMMUNICATING ... " book in contrast to the "Handbook ... " ignores the physical and electronic details of terminals. It has an entire chapter explaining binary numbers (which is not needed in a book on terminals since this information is widely available elsewhere). It seems to mostly cover old IBM terminals (mainly the 3270) in block and synchronous modes of operation. It's of little use for the commonly used ANSI terminals used today on Unix-like systems. Although it does discuss them a little it doesn't show the various wiring schemes used to connect them to serial ports.
These chapters cover almost nothing about the terminals themselves and their capabilities. Rather, these chapters are mostly about how to set up the computer (and its terminal driver) to work with terminals. Due to the differences of different Unix-like systems, much of the information does not not apply to Linux.
The "UNIX POWER TOOLS" book has 3 short chapters on text terminals. It covers less ground than this HOWTO but gives more examples to help you.
The "ADVANCED PROGRAMMING ... " Chapter 11 covers only the device driver included in the operating system to deal with terminals. It explains the parameters one gives to the stty command to configure the terminal.
The "ESSENTIAL SYSTEM ..." book's chapter has more about terminals than modems. It seems well written.
Under Microsoft's DOS one may use the DOS command "ctty COM2" so that the DOS command line will display on a serial terminal (on COM2 in this example). Unfortunately one can then no longer use the computer monitor since MS DOS is not a multiuser operating system. Nor can more than one terminal be used. So this capability is of little (if any) benefit. If you emulate DOS under Linux with the free dosemu, it's reported that you can run several terminals (multiuser). But it's reported that PCTerm emulation doesn't work with it (yet ??).
While MS didn't create a "multiuser DOS" OS, others did. This permits the use of many terminals on one DOS PC. It's compatible with most MS-DOS software. One multiuser DOS OS is named "REAL/32". The terminal's "pcterm" emulation is used here. There also may be a "scan" (scancodes) setup mode which needs to be set. Other OSs such as PICK, PC-MOS, and Concurrent DOS were/are multiuser and support terminals.
There are 3 programs for Linux which let you run Windows applications on a Linux PC: free: Wine, non-free: VMware and NeTraverse. Can they use text-terminals under DOS? Wine can't since it doesn't have a DOS mode. The other two require you to run the MS Windows OS software as a "guest OS". The guest MS Windows OS has a DOS mode but it's not of much use for text-terminals since it's not multiuser.
For other unix-like OSs, the configuration of the host computer for terminals is usually significantly different than for Linux. Here are some links to on-line manuals for non-linux systems.