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In the Media: Insights into Researching Early American Crime

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When I speak at libraries, historical societies, and other groups about early American crime, I am often asked where and how I find information about these historical criminals.

The short answer is that I generally use a combination of databases that are freely available on the Web and subscription databases that I access through local libraries. I also use a handful of print resources. Regular readers of this blog probably know this information already, because I always include a list of the sources I consulted during my research at the end of each article.

But if you are interested in gaining even greater insight into how I approach my research, you can read an article I wrote that just appeared in the November 2012 edition of the Readex Report entitled, “Digging Up Crime Stories from America’s Past: Tips and Technique from a Librarian-Scholar.”

The Readex Report is the official newsletter of Readex/Newsbank, the company that publishes two important subscription databases for my research, America’s Historical Imprints and America’s Historical Newspapers. History buffs might also enjoy the other articles in the newsletter, which include a story about a late nineteenth-century African-American cycling champion and another one about the first Egyptian mummy to be commercially displayed in America.

One Comment

  1. Kathy Wilson wrote:

    Thank you…. I am merely a hobby reader of bits and pieces of history.. as I get exposed.. I wonder!.. which takes me on an adventure – thanks to the Internet. Working as a teacher assistant in a high school, we are reading Great Expectations – and of course Magwich was on a convict ship sent to Austrailia. Part two of my adventure is through family genealogy research I found the possiblity of my “step great grandfather” being on a ship during a census period. I “assumed” he was in the navy… Great Expectations now has me wondering…. thus I got into looking at crime ships (for me and to enhance the excitement of the story in English class becoming a fun way for the kids to become interested in history too(its not all dates and politics… lets face it,kids like grunge for some reason). At one point I worked in the computer lab and I dabbled with history sites… kids would stop in to get a quick “bite” instead of going to lunch because they said I always taught them fun stuff (best ever was the prostitution ships.. and of course finding a way to show the sadness, yet survival aspect.. and steering (ha..of steerage) them in a good moral direction. I will say I carry lots of stories to trap their sponge minds..) I came about you site accidentally.. thank you.. can’t wait to read your book with my kindle in hand!

    Sunday, December 14, 2014 at 9:51 am | Permalink

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