This guide is designed to help students of all ages find resources on colonial American history and culture by using both Internet and print resources. The primary focus of this pathfinder is life in colonial America leading up to but not including the American Revolution.
Places to Start on the Web:
Archiving Early America (http://www.earlyamerica.com/)
“Primary source material from 18th century America — all displayed digitally.” Includes the Early America Review, a “journal of fact and opinion on the people, issues, and events of 18th century America.”
and two features that allow you to DISCUSS or POST QUESTIONS:
The Early America E-Mail Discussion Group
(“…a group to foster serious discussion and debate about the people, issues and events of this period in America’s history”)
Colonial Williamsburg (http://www.history.org)
Click on “Education,” then “Historical Almanack” (under “Research”). The Almanack section provides a colonial dateline, information on famous colonial places and people, as well as information on everyday life in the colonies. There is also a bibliography and a glossary.
Jamestown Rediscovery (http://www.apva.org/jr.html)
The history of Jamestown with a timeline, early settlers listed by occupation, and archeological information.
An Outline of American History, May, 1994
Essays giving an overview of American history. “One of the oldest continuing publications of the U.S. Information Agency (USIA).” Chapter 2 deals with The Colonial Period and Chapter 3 gives the events leading up to and including the American Revolution.
Plimoth-on-Web: The Library
Information on Plymouth Colony history and life. Subject area bibliographies.
About.com. Colonial America
A collection of links to information about early life in America, early settlements and famous colonists. Documents.
Colonial Occupations (http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~sam/occupation.html)
A glossary of hundreds of colonial occupations.
Colonial Diseases and Cures (http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~sam/disease.html)
A glossary of colonial diseases and cures.
Colonial America 1600-1775 K-12 Resources
An extensive annotated list of Internet Websites containing information about life in colonial America, including historical information, maps, information on specific colonies, historic sites, plantations, holidays, everyday life, Indians, literature and more. Includes lesson plans and bibliographies.
Information about historic times, places, events and people centering around Philadelphia and the United States’ early history. Good presentation of the history of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. Includes:
America’s Most Historic Mile (http://www.ushistory.org/tour/index.html) which is a virtual tour of historic Philadelphia.
An extensive collection of links from the TeacherNet web site. Divided into sub-categories such as “Major Databases”, “Children”, “Clothing”, “Music”, “Time Lines”, and “Women.”
Colonial Massachusetts and Boston history articles including some biographies.
Links to over 100 Websites dealing with various aspects of colonial life in America.
Beautifully illustrated, 10-volume set covering all aspects of colonial life. Good cross-referencing of artices. Index and bibliography.
Colonial America Primary Sources
by Peggy Saari (Gale Group, 2000)
“…24 excerpted documents written by people who lived during America’s colonial period…autobiographical essays, diary entries, poems, trial testimonies, and letters….” Beautifully illustrated and presented. Includes a timeline, bibliographies, glossaries and sidebar boxes containing related material. Subject index. Very thorough.
Colonial America Almanac — Volumes 1 and 2
by Peggy Saari (Gale Group, 2000)
“…provides a wide range of historical information on the period in U.S. history between 1565-1760.” Beautifully illustrated and presented with information arranged around fifteen subject areas such as Native North Americans, Government and Law, Community Life, Women, Religion, Science and Medicine and much more. Bibliographies and index.
Colonial America Biographies — Volumes 1 and 2
by Peggy Saari (Gale Group, 2000)
Sixty profiles of men and women “relevant to the colonial era in America.” Illustrated. Bibliographies and index.
Sourcebooks on Colonial America series
by Carter Smith (Millbrook Press, 1991)
Richly illustrated series dealing with all aspects of colonial life. Good source for further suggested readings. Individual titles are: Governing and Teaching, The Explorers and Settlers, Battles in a New Land, The Revolutionary War, Daily Life, and The Arts and Sciences.
Colonial Craftsmen series
by Leonard Everett Fisher (Cavendish, various copyrights, 1997-2001)
A wealth of information about eighteen different occupations of colonial people. Beautifully illustrated and presented. The titles are: The Potters, The Papermakers, The Peddlers, The Wigmakers, The Limners, The Homemakers, The Shipbuilders, The Cabinetmakers, The Schoolmasters, The Shoemakers, The Tanners, The Blacksmiths, The Doctors, The Printers, The Glassmakers, The Silversmiths, The Hatters, and The Weavers.
Child Life In Colonial Days
Home Life In Colonial Days
by Alice Morse Earle (Berkshire House, 1993; first published in 1899 and 1898)
Two “much-requested sourcebooks on colonial life…in continual demand since…original publication.” Nicely illustrated. Two little gems.
Colonial America series (Franklin Watts, 1993)
Four titles: Home Life by John F. Warner, Medicine by Susan Terkel, Holidays and Entertainment by Karen Lizon and Craftspeople by Bernardine Stevens.
Colonial America: A History, 1607-1760
by Richard Middleton (Blackwell, 1992)
Concentrates on the settlements of Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and South Carolina. External events “which affected the development of the English-speaking settlements are covered in depth along with suggestions for additional reading.” A companion book by the same author is
Colonial America: A History, 1585-1776.
Becoming America: The Revolution Before 1776
by Jon Butler (Harvard U. Press, 2000)
“This book traces the enormous social, economic, political and cultural changes that created a distinctively modern and, ultimately, ‘American’ society in Britain’s mainland colonies between 1680 and 1770.” Very readable.
The Encyclopedia of Colonial and Revolutionary America
edited by John Mack Faragher (Facts on File, 1989)
“A quick reference to topics in the history of Colonial and Revolutionary America.” Many biographical as well as topical entries.
Colonial Women: Twenty-three Europeans Who Helped To Build A Nation
by Carole Waldrup (McFarland and Co., 1999)
“Contains biographies of European women who were among the earliest arrivals in Colonial America.”
Encyclopedia of the North American Colonies, Volumes 1-3
Edited by Jacob Ernest Cooke (Scribner’s, 1993)
Extensive essays with bibliographic references on a multitude of topics pertaining to colonial America. Includes a chronology of events, maps, and a comprehensive index.
Hasty Pudding, Johnnycakes and Other Good Stuff: Cooking in Colonial America
by Lorretta Ichord (Millbrook, 1998)
“Presents colonial food preparation with a look at the influences of available ingredients, cooking methods, and equipment. Includes recipes and a wonderful bibliography.
by Richard Steins (Raintree Steck-Vaugn, 2000)
“Describes the daily life and important events in the American colonies during the time of British rule.” Nicely illustrated and suggestions for further reading.
Life in the American Colonies
by Ruth Dean and Melissa Thomson (Lucent Books, 1999)
“Discusses the day-to-day aspects of country and city life in the American colonies for a variety of people including members of different professions, specific immigrant groups, and slaves.”
Building A New Land: African Americans in Colonial America
by James Haskins and Kathleen Benson (Harper Collins, 2001)
“Discusses the changing roles, rights, and contributions of African Americans in the United States during the colonial period from 1607-1763.”
General American history print resources that are highly recommended are The Encyclopedia Americana (Grolier, 2001 — Look under “Colonial Life,” pp. 280-298), Dictionary of American History (Scribner’s, 1976, 8 volumes), Encyclopedia of American History, 7th ed. (Harper Collins, 1996 — “the best all-around one-volume encyclopedia of American history…” — has a unique chronological arrangement), The Reader’s Companion to American History (Houghton Mifflin, 1991 — very readable short essays on a multitude of topics), and The New York Public Library American History Desk Reference (Macmillan, 1997).
Also, on the Internet, try:
A pathfinder site which will point you in many colonial history directions. A lot to sift through with some links better than others, but a true gateway to lots of stuff.
Search under “colonial America” and you will find articles written by amateur editors who are passionate about colonial American topics. The site also provides links to other colonial American Websites and a DISCUSSION forum. A fun site.
The History Channel (http://www.historychannel.com/)
Search “Timeline” by century and find lots of information about people, events, and places.
Additional resources can be found at public and university libraries under call number 973.2 of the Dewey Decimal Classification System and in the E 186-199 section of the Library of Congress Classification System. Useful resources may also be found under the following Library of Congress Subject Heading:
United States — History — Colonial Period, ca. 1600-1775.
This pathfinder created by Patty Gillespie.