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Early American History: Government Information Sources

Guide to resources for Early American history research- Originally created for Dr. Shannon Duffy's history classes

Government Information- what's that??

Historians often overlook a wealth of information on historical events published by the U.S. Government.  Much of this material is available in libraries round the country in print form (Including the Alkek library) and, increasingly, in online formats. 

Several sources of interest related to the first century of American history are highlighted here. 

Many of these fit the definition of a primary source, as defined in the tab at the top of this page. 

Come visit our Government Information unit on the 4th floor of the library.  Staff there will be happy to help you explore the documents of the Continental Congress,Congressional actions, military history and much more. 


Library of Congress

The Library of Congress conatins a wealth of sources (both primary and secondary) on all aspects of history. Many are available in print in the Government Information area on the 4th floor of the Alkek Library.  These may be found in the online catalog or by consulting the Government Information staff. 

Many may also be found at the Library of Congress website, especially the American Memory project.  American Memory is a multimedia web site of digitized historical documents, photographs, sound recordings, moving pictures, books, pamphlets, maps, and other resources from the Library of Congress’s vast holdings. A historic initiative in its own right, American Memory currently makes available more than 100 collections and more than 9 million individual items to users in the U.S. and throughout the world.

A Small sampling of other Government Information Sources

The U.S. Serial Set contains a wealth of information on early American history.  this guide for information on how to mine this wonderful resource. 

Finding Court Records & Laws of Colonies & States

This can be a difficult task, however, some articles and bibliographies have been compiled to make it easier.  Start with one of these if you need to do this type of research-

Early New England Court Records: A Bibliography of Published Materials 

Colonial Court Records and the Study of Early American History


British Parliamentary Papers