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Michigan State University

British Empire and the American Revolution: Introduction and Online Catalog

This is a guide to researching the American Revolution in the M.S.U. Libraries from both the American and British perspectives, but is not heavy into the military dimension. Loyalists. Empire Loyalists. Last updated 05-24-2023

Introduction and Online Catalog

This is a guide to researching the American Revolution in the M.S.U. Libraries from both the American and British perspectives, but is not heavy into the military dimension. For that, go to the "military science" section of our research guides. 



It is possible to do a quick and dirty, one box keyword search of the contents of the MSU Libraries' web site, starting at the left side of the Libraries' home page.  The results will be sorted into several categories to follow up on:  articles from journals, books/media from our online catalog, databases, library research guides like this one, other.  To do a more traditional online catalog search,  read on.

Below the general search box, click on Books and Media to search for physical, paper/cloth bound books, paper/cloth bound journals, physical media such as DVDs, or individually cataloged electronic items.  Then click on the down arrow on the right side of the form where it says "Catalog."  Choose the type of search you want to do.  In the box to the right put in your search terms.  Enter author's name either last name, first name or first name last name.  Omit initial articles in book titles; do include them as they occur within the book title itself.  To search by L.C. subject heading, it may be better to use the Browse Alphabetically by Subject lower down in the list than Catalog: Subject, because those results will show the surrounding subject headings and number of hits retrieved.  Be sure to scroll down past the first five results retrieved.  After you receive your results, notice that you can filter them various ways, by using the facets along the left side of the page.  

Advanced search allows for a combination of more than one search aspect, such as author and title or subject heading and keyword.

Below the general search box click on E Books and Journals to search for journal titles in electronic form or individual electronic books that will have been received by the Library in a package.  You may need to check both Books and Media and E Books and Journals to find your electronic book.

Library of Congress' Subject Headings, a set of fat red books in Reference at Z 696, contain the subject headings used to describe the books in the MSU Libraries.  Useful subject headings for this topic include the following, but this is not a comprehensive list. 

American loyalists
Boston tea party
Canada--economic conditions--18th c.
Canada--foreign relations
Canada--politics and government
Great Britain--Colonies--administration
Great Britain--Colonies--America
Great Britain--Colonies--history--18th c.
Great Britain--foreign relations
Great Britain--history--18th c.
Great Britain--history--George III, 1760-1820
Great Britain--politics and government--1760-
Michigan history
Minutemen (Militia)
Ontario American Loyalists
Ontario French Canadians
Ontario frontier and pioneer life
Ontario fur trade
Ontario history
United Empire loyalists
United States--history--Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775
United States--politics and government, 1775-1783
United States--politics and government--Revolution
United States--history--Revolution, 1775-1783
United States--history--Revolution, 1775-1783--British forces
United States--history--Revolution, 1775-1783--causes
United States--history--Revolution, 1775-1783--historiography
United State--history--Revolution, 1775-1783--sources
Upper Canada

In addition, names of places where events occurred and names of famous people will be useful subject headings. For example: Valley Forge, Yorktown, Philadelphia. Farther along in this guide there is a list of significant people to research.

If you seek primary sources remember to watch for words in titles of works and in L.C. sub-headings indicative of these: sources, personal narratives, correspondence, journals, diaries, letters, addresses sermons etc., archives, farewell address, manuscripts, quotations, sermons, speeches addresses. This list of subject headings is not comprehensive.