This guide is for the two classes on New York City taught by Professor Jack Tchen. It is intended to help students in finding information about their artifacts and getting the green light. It is also to help them further in working with their artifact.
Once you have selected a artifact and it has a green light, you will need to deep in to chronotoping (placing your object in time and space). You can start with the broader historical background from the secondary literature in the American Historical Association's published bibliography, Guide to Historical Literature, but you should definitely take a look at the preeminent database for U.S. and Canadian History, America: History and Life.
These two items serve different purposes. The two volume Guide to Historical Literature is a listing of the most important books by topic (generally in the English language) and thus is invaluable to learning what is the past scholarship in the field, including what are some of the debates and who are the leading scholars on a specific topic. Using relevant titles gleaned from these volumes you can then check them against Bobcat to find out not only if the library owns the book, but also what the Library of Congress considers the subject(s) to be. Using these library subject headings in the catalogue will give you a number of other published works, but also -- and importantly -- similar books published since the Guide to Historical Literature. The sections devoted to the United States are all in volume 2. Here is a breakdown of the entries by section title and number. There is a section "Native Peoples of the Americas" and here I include the numbered entries specifically on the United States. The section on Colonial North America does include British, Dutch and French colonies but excludes the Spanish colonies (in Section 37, Latin America to 1800).
America: History and Life (AHL) is the source for periodical literature in American and Canadian Studies (not just history) and includes not just English language scholarship but also works in over fifty languages -- from Afrikaans to Yiddish. Because it is online you can also search it using keywords, or use AHL's own subject headings to explore and find more works. AHL has a growing body of full-text but also contains references to material that is available to you in other formats, including H-Net reviews. You can identify reviews of the books you have picked to find out where other scholars have agreed or disagreed with their findings. Aside from these two items, what other resources you chose to use will largely be driven by your specific research. You should also mine the bibliographies of the books you find in Bobst to identify more works, but also relevant primary sources such as newspapers, archival and manuscript collections and published works such as diaries, memoirs, etc. This research guide tries to help guide your chronotoping amongst in the vast number of available sources. You can also send me an email asking for assistance. Buen provecho.