Library Research Guide
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.
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:
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.
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
Language is not set in stone. Flexibility with search terms is the key when you are researching Revolutionary America.
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:
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.
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.
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:
These sources include books, pamphlets, and other generally available sources.
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.
These sources include letters, diaries, and other personal accounts
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.
When reading primary sources from the 18th and 19th centuries, the letters may look a little different than what you are accustomed to.
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."
You can see both the long and short "s" in this image from 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.