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Michigan State University

British Studies: the 18th Century, a Guide to Topics in the MSU Libraries' Collections: TOPICAL HISTORY

This is a guide to 18th-century British studies materials, particularly in our Special Collections and Rare Books unit.


Works in the British 18th-Century Studies Collection make admirable primary sources for research papers, articles, and books. To use the collection to its fullest, one must know the 18th- century meanings of topics, the subject headings used in MAGIC today, and how usage of language may have changed over time. Possible topics for research include, among others, actors and theater, alcohol, apologetics, architecture, Christianity, church and state relations, the Church of England, conduct of life, congregational churches, cookery, education, election sermons, public finance, geography, British land tenure, British law, marriage, music, natural theology, nobility, philosophy, sermons, British taxation, British trials, British women, and the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. Try searching these topics in MAGIC scoping the search to include only Murray and Hong Special Collections' materials to take advantage of whatever actual 18th-century imprints M.S.U. Libraries has. Then find more primary material, if you need it, by using materials on microform or online.

Just a few examples of topical history in our Murray and Hong Special Collections include these titles: John Hill's Conduct of a Married Life, Laid Down in a Series of Letters... , (1753); Edmund Burke's Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful , (1757); Henry Fielding's Proposal for Making an Effectual Provision for the Poor, for Amending Their Morals, and for Rendering them Useful Members of the Society... , (1753); and James Ferguson's Astronomy Explained upon Sir Isaac Newton's Principles and Made Easy to Those Who Have Not Studied Mathematics , (1757).