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HIST 3255: Early National U.S. 1789-1848: Books

A guide to BGSU library and Internet resources for researching the United States 1789-1848.

Finding Books That Include Primary Sources

To identify books that are primary sources:

1) Look for books written by people who were involved in the event or activity you are researching.  (Tip: When you look at secondary sources, write down the names of people and then look for them as authors.)

2) In the BGSU Libraries Catalog, the OhioLINK Central Catalog, and WorldCat, books that have been assigned subjects with the subheadings in the list below might be primary sources.  Not all books that include primary sources will include one of these words or phrases in a subject heading. 

--Personal narratives


Washington, George, 1732-1799 -- Correspondence

United States -- Foreign Relations -- 1801-1809 -- Sources

United States -- History -- 1783-1815 -- Anecdotes

United States -- Social Conditions -- To 1865 -- Sources

United States -- History -- War of 1812 -- Personal Narratives, English

New Mexico -- History -- Mexican War, 1846 - 1848 -- Personal Narratives


Internet Archive

Internet Archive logo

Internet Archive is a database of books, magazines, audio and video files, maps, etc.  It's a good place to find books that are old enough to be no longer under copyright.

Searching the Catalogs for Books

To identify books, you can search the three main catalogs:

HathiTrust Digital Library

To find only those books that are available full text, you can search the catalog and click on the box next to "Full View Only." 

To do a more complex search, click on the Advanced Catalog Search link. You can also select "Full View Only" on this page.

Google Books

In addition to keyword searching, you can also browse by subjects, listed on the left side of the page.  Each book in the results list will include the designation:

  • Full View -- You can view the entire text of the book
  • Limited Preview -- You can view some pages of the book
  • Snippet View -- You can see the publication information, plus a few sentences from the book
  • No Preview Available -- You can see only the publication information about the book

To search for only full text books:

  • Fill in the elements of your search in the Google Books Advanced Search
  • From the Search: line, choose Full View Only
  • Click on the Google Search button