American Legal History Research Guide

This research guide in American legal history includes materials dealing with settlement through the twentieth century.


The following legal resources are essential building blocks to use while conducting legal research.  The majority of the resources below will be historical in nature.  More targeted resources of note relating to specific themes and time periods can be found on other subpages in the navigator.


Legal dictionaries are great resources to explore general meanings of legal terms in legal documents.  Searching for legal dictionaries contemporary to your topic can provide clarity in understanding how individuals understood the law historically.

Newspapers (Historical)

The following newspaper databases offer centuries worth of primary historical materials for research purposes.

Practice Books/Legal Treatises

Statutes (Historical)

Supreme Court Records and Briefs (& Other Materials)


Helpful Modern Guides

See also, "Making Legal History" in eBook format here.