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Early American History: Getting started

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

Another Interesting Guide

This guide has some additional resources that might be helpful in researching the Revolutionary era

Oxford English Dictionary

One of the challenges historians face is understanding the spelling and use of the English language words  in previous centuries. 

The Oxford English Dictionary is the most comprehensive dictionary of the English language. Traces the development of "English" words from approximately 1150 AD up to the present day.

The library has the source in print as well as online.  It can be a very handy tool when deciphering early historical primary sources. 

Be sure and look at the online tutorial (linked above) for further information on using this resource. 

Dr. Duffy's List of Sources (July 2021 edition)

Dr. Duffy has compiled a list of databases which will be helpful for historical research.  

Most of these are also linked elsewhere in the guide, this document is also on Canvas. 

It is provided here for easy reference.  

Eras of Early American History

It might be useful in the course of your research to know what the different eras are called and which years they include-

Colonial Era

to 1763

Revolutionary Era


Early National Era


These dates are not ablsolute but, should give you an idea of what the era might be called in the literature. 



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