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Robert Beverley, 
The History and Present State of Virginia

The British, French, Spanish, and Swedish explorers who traveled through the wilderness of the east coast of the New World, documented their discoveries and adventures for a European public anxious to hear about the exotic lands. Combining science and adventure, these books became the earliest histories of America. From the early colonial period, the settlers sent back reports of their progress, stressing the opportunities for freedom and prosperity in the new lands. By the beginning of the Republic, state histories could document a hundred years of progress.

Edward Johnson, 
A History of New-England


Edward Johnson, 1599?-1672.
A History of New-England. From the English planting in the Yeere 1628. untill the Yeere 1652: Declaring the form of their Government, civill, military, and ecclesiastique: Their wars with the Indians, their troubles with the Gortonists, and other heretiques: Their manner of gathering of churches, the commodities of the country, and description of the principall towns and havens... London: Printed for Nath. Brooke ..., 1654.

This is the first edition of the earliest published narrative relating to Massachusetts. It is an important source of information on the growth of the settlements, detailing agricultural products and prices, and the Pequot Indian War of 1637-38. Johnson came to America in 1630 and was the founder and representative to the Massachusetts House of Representatives from the town of Woburn.


Jeremy Belknap, 1744-1798.
The History of New Hampshire: Comprehending the Events of one Complete Century from the Discovery of the River Pascataque. [Dover, N.H.]: Printed for O. Crosby and J. Varney. by J. Mann and J.K. Remick, 1812.

One of the first American historians, the Reverend Jeremy Belknap was also the founder of the Massachusetts Historical Society, the earliest historical society in the country. Belknap's continuing importance was noted by William Cullen Bryant, the poet and editor, who said that Belknap possessed "the high merit of being the first to make American history attractive."

Wilfred Harold Munro,
Picturesque Rhode Island


Wilfred Harold Munro, 1849-1934.
... Picturesque Rhode Island. Pen and Pencil Sketches of the Scenery and History of its Cities, Towns and Hamlets, and of Men who have made them famous. Providence: J.A. & R.A. Reid, 1881.

Of particular interest in this illustrated history of the State of Rhode Island is the large number of advertisements in the book. In fact, the full-page advertisements overshadow the smaller drawings of historical monuments. For today's scholar, however, the detailed depictions of late nineteenth-century industry are as important as the older but better-known historic buildings.

The Charter Granted by His Majesty King Charles II


The Charter Granted by His Majesty King Charles II to the Governour & Company of the English Colony of Connecticut in New-England in America. New-London: Printed and Sold by Timothy Green, Printer to the Governour and Company of the abovesaid Colony, 1750.

A copy of the original charter granted to the colony of Connecticut by Charles II in 1684 attached to a copy of the Acts and Laws of the Colony in 1750.

Gift in Memory of Samuel Moyerman, Esq.


William Smith, 1728-1793.
The History of the Province of New York, from the first Discovery to the year M.DCC.XXXII. To which is annexed, a description of the country, with a short account of the inhabitants, their trade, religious and political state, and the constitution of the courts of justice in that colony ... London: Printed for Thomas Wilcox, 1757.

One of the most important histories written in the colonies, Smith's work remains one of the best sources for understanding colonial New York. Organized chronologically by colonial governor, The History of the Province of New York is a detailed description of politics and events before 1732, including relations with the Indians, boundary disputes, and judicial decisions.


Samuel Smith, 1720-1776.
The History of the Colony of Nova-Caesaria, or New Jersey: containing, an account of its first settlement, progressive improvements, the original and present constitution, and other events, to the year 1721; with some particulars since; and a short view of its present state. Burlington, N.J.: James Parker, 1765.

This work is the first general history of New Jersey.

Gift of Esther Schwartz

J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur, Voyage dans la haute Pensylvanie


J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur, 1735-1813.
Voyage dans la haute Pensylvanie et dans l'état de New-York: par un membre adoptif de la nation Oneida. Paris: Maradan, 1801.

Crevecoeur, a Frenchman who had moved to America in 1760, was one of the most widely-known commentators on life in the Colonies. Travels in Upper Pennsylvania and New York describes rural life and contains a detailed description of the customs of the Native Americans.


Axel Oxenstierna, greve, 1583-1654.
Argonavtica Gvstaviana, das ist, Nothwendige Nachricht von de newen Seefahrt und Kauffhandlung so von dem: ... Fürsten und Herrn/Herrn Gustavo Adolpho Magno ... durch anrichtung einer General Handel-Compagnie. Gedruckt zu Franckfurt am Mayn: Bey Caspar Rödteln ..., 1633.

Argonavtica Gvstaviana is a key work in the history of Delaware. King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden gave Wilhelm Usselincx a commission to establish a trading company in the New World. In 1637, the first expedition of ships from the Company sailed from Stockholm and, in April 1638, arrived on the Delaware River, establishing the first Swedish colony in America. This work is a printed collection of documents, including the original charter of the South Company, published to increase interest in the trading company.

Gift of the University of Delaware Library Associates


Alexander Contee Hanson, 1749-1806.
Remarks on the Proposed Plan of a Federal Government: addressed to the citizens of the United States of America, and particularly to the people of Maryland. Annapolis: Printed by F. Green ..., [1788].

Alexander Contee Hanson was a member of one of the leading families in colonial Maryland. His father was president of the Congress of the United States under the Articles of Confederation and his son was a leading Federalist spokesman. Hanson was a judge in Maryland and a strong supporter of George Washington. Remarks on the Proposed Plan of a Federal Government was designed to clarify the purposes and advantages of a Federal Constitution.


Robert Beverley, ca. 1673-1722.
The History and Present State of Virginia, in four parts. London: Printed for R. Parker, 1705.

This is the first history of the colony of Virginia written by a native Virginian. Beverley covers all aspects of life in Virginia, including native plants, agricultural products, early plantations, government and history and the Native American population.

Gift of Joseph Y. Jeanes, Jr.

John Lawson,
The History of Carolina


John Lawson, d. 1712.
The History of Carolina; containing the exact description and natural history of that country; together with the present state thereof. And a journal of a thousand miles, travel'd thro' several nations of Indians. Giving a particular account of their customs, manners, &c. London: Printed for W. Taylor and J. Baker, 1714.

Lawson arrived in Carolina in 1700 and, in 1708, was made the Surveyor General. This first history of Carolina includes his observations on the life, customs, and natural history of the colony and a sympathetic account of the local Indians. He was involved in a plan to establish a colony of Swiss and German emigrants in North Carolina. The new settlement angered the local Indians, however, and Lawson was murdered by them.

Gift of the University of Delaware Library Associates


James Glen, 1701-1777.
A Description of South Carolina; containing many curious and interesting particulars relating to the civil, natural, and commercial history of that colony ... London: Printed for R. & J. Dodsley ..., 1761.

Considered to be the best description of South Carolina before the Revolution, A Description of South Carolina discusses the mercantile and agricultural status of the colony. Authorship is variously attributed to Governor James Glen of South Carolina or to the unrelated Dr. James Glen.


William Bartram, 1739-1823.
Travels Through North & South Carolina, Georgia, East & West Florida. London: James and Johnson, 1791.

William Bartram combined the science of the botanist with the draftsmanship of an artist to produce one of the most successful and influential travel books of the colonial period. He accurately recorded the activities of the Native Americans, described the flora and fauna in their natural habitats, and gathered plant specimens to send to biologists in Europe.

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