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HIST 3213: American Colonial History: Books

Library and Internet resources for researching papers on the history of colonial America.

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

Pioneers -- Pennsylvania -- Correspondence

Boston (Mass.) -- History -- Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775 -- Sources

Society of Friends -- History -- 17th century -- Sources 

United States -- History -- Queen Anne's War, 1702-1713 -- 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. 

For a more complex search, click on the Advanced Search link just under the search box on the home page.  This allows you to customize your search in many ways.

Searching the Catalogs for Books

To identify books, search the three main catalogs:‚Äč

HathiTrust Digital Library

The HathiTrust Digital Library provides access to a database of digitized books and other materials.  You can search the catalog, search full text, or browse the public collections.  Note that not all books are available full text.

To find only those books that are available full text, you can search the catalog on the main search page 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.

The HathiTrust Digital Library includes some user-compiled collections of HathiTrust books, such as those listed below.

Google Books

Google Books is a searchable database of books and magazine articles, but not all of the books are full text. 

Simply type in keywords to do a search.  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:

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