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HIST 132J / AFAM 422: Plantation Societies in the Greater British Caribbean 1627-1761: Home

This guide is intended for students in Dr. Erin M. Trahey's course and provides an introduction to key resources in the Yale Library for your research papers this semester.

Main search portals

Library contacts

Bill Landis, Associate Director for Public Services, Manuscripts and Archives, Sterling Memorial Library -

James Kessenides, Kaplanoff Librarian for American History -


Background or "reference" sources are a great place to start your research. Reference works include bibliographies, scholarly encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, and other sources that provide overviews of topics and suggestions for further reading.

Cambridge Core

Includes the Cambridge Histories and Cambridge Companions

Oxford African American Studies Center

This resource brings together articles from multiple encyclopedias and historical dictionaries and includes potentially helpful articles, such as "British colonies in the Caribbean" by Jonathan Morley, "Resistance" by Paul Finkelman, Peter Hinks and Sam Hitchmough, and "Religion and Slavery" by Kelly J. Baker.

Oxford Bibliographies
An extensive collection of annotated bibliographies often pointing to both primary and secondary sources. Examples of potentially helpful articles include the following:

Oxford Handbooks Online
Lengthy chapters in the Oxford Handbooks usually provide helpful overviews of topics and historiography and suggestions for further reading.

Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History
Arranged by subfields including Slavery and Abolition, which includes the articles "Plantation Life in the British West Indies, 1650-1850" by Jenny Shaw, "Race and the Origins of Plantation Slavery" by Justin Roberts, and other potentially helpful articles.

Wiley Online Library

Secondary sources

The following bibliographic databases will be helpful for finding secondary sources, especially scholarly/peer-reviewed journal articles, magazine articles, book reviews, and citations to book chapters and edited collections of books. Please note: the full text of articles will not always be available in these databases. If you see the "YaleLinks" icon instead of a PDF, click on the icon to discover whether we have online access to the article: 

And, don’t forget, Orbis, Books+ and Articles+ are all useful tools for locating secondary sources!

Primary source databases

Yale-licensed resources are indicated by an asterisk - click here for more information about accessing e-resources remotely:

Archives at Yale

Materials relating to the British Caribbean are mainly located in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library and include collections such as British Caribbean Documents (Call Number: GEN MSS 1412) and the Thomas Thistlewood Papers (Call Number: OSB MSS 176, also available online through the Beinecke Digital Collections). More information on these and additional collections will be provided during the class meeting with Dr. Kathryn James, Curator, Early Modern Books and Manuscripts and the Osborn Collection, Beinecke Library.

In Manuscripts and Archives, Sterling Memorial Library, the Caribbean Collection (Call Number: MS 1708) contains some materials that may be of interest to students in this class.

For general help with navigating Yale's special collections see the Guide to Using Special Collections at Yale University.

Finding Archives Beyond Yale