Page:American History Told by Contemporaries, v2.djvu/51

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No. 7]

(alphabetically by authors) of all the books printed on America up to 1867, with many references to the libraries in which particular rarities are found. When completed, the work is to have an index by subjects ; it includes no estimate of the value of books mentioned. The most remarkable contributions to the knowledge of sources are Justin Winsor's Memorial History of Boston (4 vols., Boston, 1880-1881), Reader's Handbook of the American Revolution (Boston, 1880), and Narrative and Critical History of America (8 vols., Boston, 1886-1889). This last work, a monument of learning and well-directed industry, devotes eight large volumes to narrative accounts and to critical statements as to the bearing and value of authorities, both original and secondary ; and it makes frequent mention of libraries in which the books are to be found. It is invaluable to the student of sources, for it searches out and discriminates between editions, it mentions reprints, and it is arranged in a convenient method, and is indexed.

The most recent book (in which the authors acknowledge the help they have gained from Winsor) is Channing and Hart, Guide to the Study of American History (New York, 1896). This is a brief work, covering in 500 small pages the field of Winsor's volumes, and extending on down to 1865 ; the sources mentioned are selected out of the confused mass of available material and are arranged in successive paragraphs. In Part I are various classified lists, chiefly of sources; and under each of the topical headings is a special selection of sources.

With these and similar aids, students who have the use of a large library may go directly to the sources most important for their purpose. There is also a special guide to the voluminous collections of the state historical societies, viz., A. P. C. Griffin, Bibliography of American Historical Societies, republished from the Annual Report of the American Historical Association, 1895 ; also a selected list in Channing and Hart, Guide, § 31. Colonial records are enumerated in the Guide, § 29; some of them are enumerated above (No. 6).

To locate a particular book in a library is often a matter of patience and dexterity. The first thing is to get the exact title from the catalogue or from some other printed list, and to be sure that there is no confusion of editions. A critical reprint is a help in understanding the bearing of the source, and Winsor is an unfailing aid on critical points. The first authoritative edition of a source is usually to be preferred.

In making notes and citing references, the rule is absolute that every extract which is in the words of the author should be set off by quota-