MOST REFERENCE LIBRARIANS reply with a perplexed look when asked, “What do you have that would help me understand how English was spoken around here in 1775?” Somehow this topic is seldom covered in catalogues, and the language is less well studied than other matters of intellectual history.
For attempting to answer such questions, I am grateful to reference specialists at the Maryland Historical Society, the Boston Public Library, the South Carolina Historical Society, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the New Orleans Public Library and the Historic New Orleans Collection, the New York Public Library, the Newberry Library (Chicago), the Huntington Library (Los Angeles), and the Margaret Herrick Library at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Beverly Hills). I also relied on the invaluable collections of the University of Michigan Library and of the Clements Library (Ann Arbor).
Dates supplied to show the first use of expressions come mainly from the Oxford English Dictionary.
An earlier version of chapter 5 appeared in American Speech in an issue commemorating the bicentennial of the Louisiana Purchase. I am grateful