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Why use reference books?
Doing research is like building a scaffold of knowledge. At the beginning, you don't know much about your topic, so you should be looking a reference books or reference databases for short, informative articles that will provide you with facts to help put your specific topic into context within the bigger picture. There are two kinds of reference books - general and subject specific. An example of a general reference is the Encyclopedia Britannica, which has a little of everything. An example of a subject specific reference is the Encyclopedia of American Politics, which has a much narrower focus.
Search the Library's Collections
American National Biography
This is a great resource for finding biographical information about the Colonists
Dictionary of National Biography
This is a great resource for finding biographical information about British participants
Gale Virtual Reference Library
This database contains the full text of several excellent US history reference works, such as the American Economy, Dictionary of American History, and the Encyclopedia of the American Revolution.
The searchable Encyclopaedia Britannica, combined with web sites, periodical articles, images, video and more.
Access to the School Collection, a growing database of e-books for high school curricula. Allows simultaneous access to titles.
The books on this list are print reference books that can be found in our library, shelved by call number. Reference books do not circulate, but you may photocopy the pages you need, photocopy directly to your email, or use an app such as ScannerPro to scan the pages to PDF.
- REF 317.3 USB Historical Statistics of the United States
- REF 321.8 ENCYC Encyclopedia of Democracy
- REF 920.073 DICT Dictionary of American Biography(in reference section)
- REF 940.2 CAMBR The New Cambridge Modern History, vol. 8
- REF 941.00321 OXFOR The Oxford Companion to British History
- REF 970 GREAT Great Events from History: North American Series, vol 1
- REF 973 AMERI American Eras: the Revolutionary Era
- REF 973 ENCYC Encyclopedia of American History (in reference section)
- REF 973 PURVI Revolutionary America: 1763-1800
- REF 973.003 GALE Gale Encyclopedia of US History, vol. 1, Government and Politics
- REF 973.0249 DOCUM Documents of American History
- REF 973.0249 MILES Milestone Documents of American History, vol. 1
- REF 973.03 CONSP Conspiracy Theories in American History
- REF 973.03 DICTI Dictionary of American History(in reference section)
- REF 973.03 ENCYC Encyclopedia of American History, vol. 3
- REF 973.03 ENCYC Encyclopedia of American Historical Documents, vol. 1
- REF 973.03 ENCYC Encyclopedia of US Political History, vol.1
- REF 973.3 AMERI Defining Documents in American History: The American Revolution (1754-1805)
- REF 973.303 ENCYC The encyclopedia of the American Revolutionary War : a political, social, and military history