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HIST 133J: The Creation of the American Politician, 1789-1820: Home


This course guide is intended to assist students in their research projects for the course, "The Creation of the American Politician, 1789-1820" (HIST 133J), taught by Professor Joanne Freeman during Fall term 2023 at Yale University. The selection of resources included in this guide is not intended to be comprehensive.

Library Contacts

Students in HIST 135J should feel free to contact any of the following librarians as a starting point for research assistance with their projects for this course.

  • Joshua Cochran: Curator, American History and Diplomacy, Beinecke Library -
  • James Kessenides: Kaplanoff Librarian for American History, Sterling Memorial Library -
  • Bill Landis: Education Program Director, Beinecke Library - 

Yale Library Search Tools

The main search tools for finding books, articles, databases, archival collections, and more at Yale (and beyond) can all be found on the "Find, Request, and Use" page of the library's website. Here are a few quick refreshers, but be sure to visit the page for a full overview:

Finding Archives Beyond Yale

Archive Grid contains records for finding aids from over 1000 archival institutions. Start here when you are seeking to discover if there are any relevant archival collections for your research beyond Yale. The "Summary View" option is a good way to filter your search results after running a search. This is an open access resource/no login required.

Background Sources

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.

Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History
A scholarly encyclopedia, often really useful for a variety of U.S. history research topics. Each article has a discussion of the literature, including primary sources -- a great starting point for finding more sources.

Oxford Bibliographies
Offers peer-reviewed annotated bibliographies on specific topics across varied subject areas. The Atlantic History module may be particularly helpful, but, depending on your research area, other modules may provide leads for your work, too - for instance, "The Political Thought of the American Founders" is an article in the Political Science module, which includes several more articles of potential interest, such as "Federalism" and "Religion in American Political Thought."  The Communication module includes a sub-set of articles on "Political Communication."

Cambridge Core

Link to the general collections of Cambridge University Press, including the Cambridge Histories and Cambridge Companions. Titles include:

Oxford Handbooks Online
Lengthy chapters in the Oxford Handbooks usually provide helpful overviews of scholarly topics and historical literature, along with suggestions for further reading. A number of the handbooks may be helpful depending on your research topic.

Wiley Online Library

A large collection of resources. The Wiley Companions will be especially useful. Navigate to "Humanities" and then "History" in order to find a detailed listing of titles by sub-field.

SHAFR Guide Online

From the Society for the History of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR), this is the most recent, online 3rd edition of this standard bibliography of U.S. foreign relations.

For biographical information, a key background source is the American National Biography Online.

Secondary Sources/Subject Databases

In addition to the online library catalog (Books+ and Orbis), reference sources, and footnotes in sources you've already found (etc.), subject-specific databases are another extremely helpful resource for finding secondary literature, including the latest scholarly journal articles in the field, and a key one for researching U.S. history including early America is:

Searching America: History and Life will allow you to check for the latest scholarly articles, reviews of books, citations to book chapters, and more in historical journals such as The William and Mary Quarterly, Journal of the Early Republic, and Journal of American History.

Additional subject databases could prove relevant to your work -- here are two more of general use:

Guides to Historical Research & Writing