Early Republic Bibliography

1790 to 1850

copyright 1997 by Historical Novelists Center

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A Lady

The Workwoman's Guide ****
Available in reproduction. A complete guide to "domestic arts and economy": sewing, whether clothing or bed hangings, which tells you what garments and other items are around in use. Also knitting, embroidery, and straw plaiting, and maintaining household goods. T3

Blum, Stella

Fashions and Costumes From Godey's Lady's Book, 1837-1869 *****!
Dover Publications, Inc., NY
If you can get no other costume book for the period, this one will carry you through all women's fashions and accesories from rising to sleeping, many children's garment, and even some views of men. T1

Boucher, Francois

Twenty Thousand Years of Fashion; the History of Costume and Personal Adornment ***
Harry N. Abrams, 1966; 440 pg, index, glossary

Bray, Peter, editor

Transport Through the Ages **
Taplinger Publishing Co., Inc., NY, 1971; illos by Barbara Brown
Covers a bit of everything, from dugout canoes on. Emphasis on later periods. T1

Braynard, Frank O.

S.S. Savannah, The Elegant Steam Ship ****
University of Georgia Press, Athens, GA, 1963; now Dover Publications, Inc., NY; 249 pg, index, bibliography
Just about everything relevant that can be known about the first transatlantic steamship, that sailed from Savannah to England and around the Baltic in 1819. T3

Brett, Gerard

Dinner is Served ***
Archon Books, Hamden, CN, 1968
British meals of the day and their conduct; Part Two covers 1660 to 1900. Do remember how much Eastern Society follows Britain. T2

Derr, Mark

The Frontiersman: The Real Life and the Many Legends of Davy Crockett *****!
Time to shed all that mythstory you picked up as a kid, especially from popular media. Great look into early American politics, too. T2

Drimmer, Frederick

Captured by the Indians: 15 Firsthand Accounts, 1750-1870 ****
Dover, 384 pg
Talk about your culture shock! Some were taken as prisoners of war, and accordingly treated horrendously; others were adopted in, and treated like any member of the tribe. T2

Ellis, Joseph J.

American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson ****
Alfred Knopf
Given sterling recommendations by one of our friends for its exploration of the man's character. T3

Fanning, Edmund

Voyages and Discoveries in the South Seas, 1792-1832 ****
Dover; 384 pg, 30+ illos
Yankee captain's voyages to China, Australia, Pacific Islands, etc. Fascinating. T2

Grose, Capt. Frances

1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue; A Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit, and Pickpocket Eloquence ***
Follet Publishing Co.; unnumbered page facsimile of original
Lots of thieves cant, as well as obscene slang that no brother is going to explain to the heroine. Capt. Grose originally brought out his gem in 1785, with further revisions in 1788. He died in 1791, and the 1811 is revised by unknown hands, that have indeed added new meanings. But much will be still in use in the former Colonies in the earlier years of this period. Still, if you never used any, your readers would not miss it, as every bit of it must be made clear in context. T3

Hogg, Ian V.

The History of Fortification ***
St. Martin's Press, NY, 1981
Clear, interesting and accurate overview from 7000 BC through the 1970's, well illustrated with photos and diagrams; bibliography and glossary. T2

Holloway, Mark

Heavens on Earth: Utopian Communities in America, 1680-1880 ****
Dover Publications, Inc., NY
And you thought "cults" were a new thing! Explore the attempts build new Edens, where your characters may get involved, or at least discuss if there's one in the neighborhood. T2

Howe, Octavius T., and Frederick C. Matthews

American Clipper Ships: 1833-1858 ****
Dover; 928 pg in 2 vol., 109 halftones, 5 illos
See Matthews on later ships. Thorough coverage of 352 American vessels of your period. T3

Ingraham, Holly

People's Names: A Cross-cultural Reference Guide to the Proper Use of Over 40,000 Personal and Familial Names in Over 100 Cultures *****!
McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, Jefferson, NC; 1997; 613 pgs, index, select annotated bibliography
All the names you could ever need for emigrants from all over, with an especial chapter on personal names popular in Victorian America, besides family names in abundance. T1

Johnston, Susan

Fashion Paper Dolls from Godey's Lady's Book, 1840-1854 ***
Full colour line drawings of 50 costumes, including those for a child doll. T3

Kohler, Carl

A History of Costume ****
Dover Publications, Inc., NY
Hand-sized, info-packed, based on surviving clothes first and artwork secondarily. Author's line drawings of construction and detail. Neophytes should use with a picture book, which it will greatly clarify. More information on civilian men of the time than most others. T1

Kohn, Richard H.

Eagle and Sword: The Beginnings of the Military Establishment in America ****
Free Press; 443 pg
Nothing lightweight, on a period often lost between the Revolution and 1812 (which is often lost between the Revolution and the War Between the States). T2

Lawliss, Chuck

The Early America Sourcebook: A Traveler's Guide *****!
Crown Publishers, NY
A unique book that discusses historical places in each state east of the Mississippi, their place in the development of the country, and rates each for its historical significance. Perfect when you are planning a research trip, or want to find out what's in your immediate district! T3

Lewis, Merriwether, and William Clark

The History of the Lewis and Clark Expedition ****
1814, rev. 1893; Dover; 1508 pg in 2 vol.
The day-by-day journals. T3

Lubbock, Basil

The Western Ocean Packets ****
James Brown & Son, Ltd, Glasgow, 1925; now Dover; 155 pg; index, no bibliography
These are the ATLANTIC Packets (fast ships) that are the forerunners of the fast ocean liners later in the century. Gives which lines are active when, which ships they added when, and what days they sailed. A good informative book. T3

Mellon, James, ed.

Bullwhip Days: The Slaves Remember *****!
now from Avon
Based on WPA (1930s) interviews with nearly 2000 ex-slaves. Gives 29 stories in full, buttressed by excerts from others, for a fulsome recreation of the life by those no longer in fear of retribution for telling the truth. T2

Mills, Betty J.

Calico Chronicle: Texas Women and Their Fashions, 1830-1910 *****!
Texas Tech Press; 1985; 191 pg, 104 photos
Frontier, pioneer, and other plain, common, unfashionable folk, with whom the country is filled. What they wore, 1830-1910, and even how they took care of it. T1

Nock, O .S., editor

Encyclopedia of Railroads ****
Galahad Books, NY, 1977; 480 pg, index
History of railroads and equipment over the entire world, including Africa, Asia, and south America. Passenger travel by rail begins in the US in this period. Gorgeous colour layout, oversize. One lap-breaker worth the effort of lifting. T2

Pike, Zebulon Montgomery

The Expeditions of Zebulon Montgomery Pike ****
1805-6; Dover; 1088 pg in 2 vol.
This first-hand account will take you through the Spanish holdings in the (relative) East, along the Mississippi, and into quite a few camps. T3

Powell, J. H.

Bring Out Your Dead: The Great Plague of Yellow Fever in Philedelphia in 1793 ****
University of Pennsylvania Press, 1949; 326 pg, index, Sources in the Notes
Detail coverage of one of the many plagues that hit large cities of Europe and America in the 18th and 19th centuries. Fairly typical of response, both civic and medical. T3

Scheffel, Richard L., project editor

Discovering America's Past **
Reader's Digest Books, Pleasantville, NY; 1993; 400 pg, index, no bibliography
An omnium gatherum of inventions, customs, practices and lifestyles, divided into 11 chapters by topic, such as "Educating America" which follows educational development as a series of short articles (half to full page) on unusual (to us) practices or noteworthy developments. Heavily illustrated, flashes of information, one of which may suit you. Best for the pages in the back listing Living History sites you can visit. T2

Simmons, Amelia

The First American Cookbook: A Facsimile of "American Cookery," 1796 *****!
1796; now from Dover; 80 pg
Popular rather than fancy cooking, like pumpkin pudding, spruce beer, Indian slapjacks, etc. Get your food terminology back-dated. T3

Tunis, Edwin

Frontier Living
The World Publishing Company, Leveland, OH & NY, 1961; illustrated by the author
Pen drawings manage to be technically accurate and artistic at once. Text in easy, personal style, accurate on what it covers, which is quite a lot of primitive technology. Hits early log cabin settlements, rivermen, Alta California, mountain trappers, weapons, food, milling shelter, clothes, vehicles, etc.! T2

Waugh, Norah

Corsets and Crinolines *****!
Theatre Arts Books, 1954
Underpinnings, 1600's to 1925, in period art. T3
The Cut of Men's Clothes 1600-1900 *****!
Theatre Arts Books, 1964
The most fashionable men's dress, in period illustrations, with tailor's patterns, period comments on colours and fabrics, etc. Superb. T3
The Cut of Women's Clothes, 1600 to 1930 *****!
Theatre Arts Books, 1968
The same for women. Both books show fastenings! T3

Williams, John Hoyt

Sam Houston: The Life and Times of the Liberator of Texas, an Authentic American Hero ****
Like most detail biographies, highly revelatory of the society in which the person lived. T3 -- T2 if you're doing the Republic of Texas.

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H-GIG Historical Times & Places ***

A thorough-going linksite maintained by the University of California at Riverside, H-GIG sorts by area, by era (ancient, Medieval, early Modern, Modern<yours>, and 20th C), or by topic (military, women, etc.). It's a good place to start a hunt for books and essays online.

Internet Modern History Sourcebook ****


Halsall, whom we know from the Internet Medieval Sourcebook, is responding to demand in the world by now compiling an onl-line library on modern subjects. As it grows, you never know what has been lately added.


The Phrenology Page ***


"Phrenology is the science which studies the relationships between a person's character and the morphology of the skull." Includes a historical overview, definitions of words and concepts, and images with meanings of various characteristics.

Project Gutenberg ****


Since 1971 putting classic books into electronic form.


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