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HIST 3223: American Revolutionary Era 1763-1789: Books

A guide to BGSU library resources that might be useful for studying the United States before and during the American Revolution.

Finding Books That Include Primary Sources

One way to identify books that are primary sources is to look for books written by people who were involved in the event or activity you are researching.  When you look at secondary sources, write down the names of people and then look for them as authors.

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.  However, don’t expect that a book that includes primary sources will always include one of these words or phrases in a subject heading.  Also, these subheadings are not used in other databas


--Personal narratives



American Loyalists -- North Carolina -- Biography

Burgoyne's Invasion, 1777 -- Personal Narratives, German

Clark's Expedition to the Illinois, 1778-1779 -- Sources

Hessians -- United States -- Diaries

Indians of North America -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1793 -- Personal Narratives

Massachusetts -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783 -- Correspondence

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

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

United States -- History -- Confederation, 1783-1789 -- Sources

United States -- Politics and Government -- 1783-1809 -- Sources

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

Washington, George, 1732-1799 -- Correspondence

Searching the Catalogs for Books

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

Internet Archive

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. 

To search for a book, type in a search term in the search box on the home page and select "Texts" from the drop down search box. 

If you want to do a more complex search, click on the advanced search link to the right of the search box on the home page.  This allows you to customize your search in many ways.

HathiTrust Digital Library

The Hathi Trust 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.

Google Books

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

At the basic search page, you can simply type in keywords to do a search.  You can also browse by subjects, listed on the left side of the page. 

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