THIS volume contains examples of many colonial writers, but only a short extract from most of them, and many important writers do not appear here at all. For careful study of colonial history, and for extensive topical work, the student or pupil needs a greater range of material ; hence every library and high school ought to have at least a few of the sources in complete editions.
The purchase of such books, many of them long out of print, is a work of time. Any library or school may on application receive the catalogues of second-hand dealers, or put a list of desiderata in the hands of a book-seller. The Publishers' Weekly inserts (gratis) lists of books sought for by dealers. Often people will give old books of value to a permanent collection, if requested.
First in importance are the general printed collections mentioned in the preceding section (No. 5), or so many of them as the library can afford. Next may come selections from the records of one colony and state out of each of the three groups of southern, New England, and middle colonies. Virginia, Massachusetts, and New York or Pennsylvania were the most important in each group, and have the completest literature. Next to them in general historical interest come the Carolinas, Maryland, and Connecticut. Rhode Island and New Hampshire also have important records.
Below will be found a list of some of the most useful sources. Most of the volumes may be readily purchased new or at second hand, though the large sets are expensive. To these should be added such other colonial records, laws, collections, and histories containing documents as the most available library may be willing to buy (see lists in Channing and Hart, Guide, §§ 23. 29, 95-130), especially those of that colony which has the closest relation with the state or the place in which the library is situated. The local records (if printed) should of course be included; and a few of the typical town records, as those of Boston, Worcester, Lancaster, Watertown, Providence, East Hampton (L.I.).
Throughout the colonial period, and especially from 1 40 to the end of the Revolution, there were writers who set out to make formal histories of one colony or of a group of colonies ; and though — with some