ENGL 695 - Topics in Literature

This guide provides information about resources to aid students enrolled in ENGL 695 locate relevant research material. As this is a topics class, students should look for the subpage named for their topic in addition to the home page.

Library Research Guide

Annotated Hamilton

Wish you could get inside the brain of Lin-Manuel Miranda and Hamilton fans? These sites annotate the music of Hamilton using the Genius platform. Audio and video are linked, when available. Clicking on lyrics reveals commentary and annotations on the right side of the screen. Some annotations are provided by Miranda, others come from fans and researchers (which means you can contribute, too.) Annotations are reviewed, except where noted.


Need facts about a historical figure? These academic and scholarly biographies also include references to additional sources of information.

History Sources

History Encyclopedias and Companions

Trying to get a basic understanding of the historical context to Hamilton before diving into full-length books or journal articles? These guides provide academic overviews of historical people and events, including useful citations to books and articles with more information. Two major publishers of these guides are Blackwell and Oxford.

Locate other titles like these by searching for your topic and terms like:

  • encyclopedia
  • history
  • dictionary
  • handbook

Below are a sample of titles relevant to Hamilton.


These databases are your best starting points for scholarly journal articles related to history.

Each has a different strength; develop the habit of searching all three to ensure you are covering both current and older journal articles.


Music and Music Theatre Sources

Music & Music Theatre Encyclopedias and Companions

Use musical encyclopedias to learn about composers, performers, and genres. These encyclopedias and guides provide academic overviews, including useful citations to books and articles with more information.


These databases are your best starting points for trade and scholarly journal articles related to music and music theatre.

Each has a different strength; develop the habit of searching all three to ensure you are covering both current and older journal articles

Newspapers and Magazines


Search Terms & Primary Sources

Language is not set in stone. Flexibility with search terms is the key when you are researching Revolutionary America.

Family Names

While historians and time may have settled on a particular spelling of a family name, such as Lovelace, the spelling in contemporaneous documents like wills, letters, and the census can vary wildly. Keep an eye out for alternative spellings like: Lovelass or Loveless. Use context like location (state, town) or occupation (lawyer, farmer) to help determine if you are talking about the right person or family.


Experiment with your focus on location. Researchers may broadly refer to America or the Colonies. They may also only discuss a specific colony/state, a town, or region, or even a geographical feature. If you are researching something in Frederick, MD, you may find yourself looking at sources that variously describe:

  • America
  • Colonies
  • Maryland
  • Frederick
  • Frederick Town
  • Monocacy River
  • Piedmont

Changes in Terminology

The names for events, peoples, and locations change over time and can vary depending upon whose side you were on.

Example 1: a battle is rarely named the day it was fought. When searching for newspaper articles or mentions in diaries, look for the location, date, or officers who fought with distinction.

Example 2: the Revolutionary War, the War of Independence, the War for Independence are all names for the same war. However, during the war, it was more often referred to as the war, the American war, or the revolution.

Primary Source Databases: 18th & 19th Century Publications

Looking for newspapers, pamphlets, broadsides, and other materials published in the 18th and 19th century? These databases subscribed to by K-State Libraries are good starting points.

Search Tips

Due to changes in language and printing, plus inconsistent spelling, you will need to be more flexible when searching in primary sources. Try these techniques:

  • enter a broad search term (like a person's name or a city) and narrow your results by dates
  • look for an Advanced Search option; often you can narrow your results by publication type, language, and even illustration type
  • if the database has a Browse option, use this to drill down to relevant sources (see Early American Imprints, Nineteenth Century Collections Online),
  • if the database has a Fuzzy Search option, use this to find words that look like or are similar to your search terms (see Sabin Americana)
  • if the database Subject Area option, use this to focus or narrow or your search (see Eighteenth Century Collections Online, Sabin Americana)

General Publications

These sources include books, pamphlets, and other generally available sources.

Government Documents

These sources include hearings, bills, and other government materials in the new United States and Great Britain.


These sources cover newspapers in the new United States and Great Britain.

Personal Accounts

These sources include letters, diaries, and other personal accounts

Primary Sources: Free Websites

Museums, libraries, and archives are digitizing primary source materials from their collections so more researchers around the world can access these materials. 

Many people and places in Hamilton will be discussed in the papers of the men listed below.

American History

Alexander Hamilton

Aaron Burr

Thomas Jefferson

George Washington


When reading primary sources from the 18th and 19th centuries, the letters may look a little different than what you are accustomed to. 

F or S?

We get a lot of questions about the funny looking "f" that appears where there really should be an "s." This is actually a character called the "long s." The "s" that we are accustomed to is the "short s."

  • The long s is missing the cross bar at the top of the letter, that would make it an "f"
  • A long s is pronounced as an "s"

You can see both the long and short "s" in this image from the United States Bill of Rights. 

an italicized long s used in the word "Congress" in the United States Bill of Rights

Learn more about the use of the long and short s through these resources:

Current K-State students, faculty, and staff, or visitors to Hale Library, can learn more by reading this article:

Fens-De Zeeuw, L., & Straaijer, R. (2012). Long- s in Late Modern English manuscripts. English Language and Linguistics, 16(2) pp.319-338.