Works consulted and cited on this site include:
Books; Reference Works; Diaries, Journals, and Memoirs
Barnes, Ian. The Historical Atlas of the American Revolution. New York: Routledge, 2000.
High school/Adult audience. Summaries of battles and events, chronological order.
Boatner, Mark M., III, ed. Encyclopedia of the American Revolution. New York: David McKay Co., 1966.
Written by a veteran and military historian. Comprehensive reference book with maps and detailed information on major campaigns and individuals.
Burgoyne, Bruce. “Our Regiment.” In An Anonymous Hessian Diary, Probably the Diary of Lieutenant Johann Heinrich von Bardeleben of the Hesse-Cassel von Donop Regiment, 54–55. Bowie, Maryland: Heritage Books, 1998.
First-person accounts from the Hessian perspective.
Burrows, Edwin G., and Mike Wallace. Gotham: a History of New york City to 1898. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.
Dense, but good. Endnotes leave a little to be desired, but an essential reference on NYC history before Consolidation.
Cappon, Lester J., ed. Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume 1607–1896. Chicago, IL: A. N. Marquis Co., 1963.
If you ever wondered about a famous person, there’s a good chance their biography is in this book! Similar to Who’s Who books.
Clark, David Sanders. Index to Maps of the American Revolution in Books and Periodicals Illustrating the Revolutionary War and Other Events of the Period 1763–1789. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1974.
Good starting point for maps reference.
Fitch, Jabez. Jabez Fitch Diary, 1776–1777. 1777.
Reproduced elsewhere and since its initial publication, the New York Public Library holds a copy in the Manuscripts & Archives Division.
Graydon, Alexander. Memoirs of His Own Time. Edited by John Stockton Littell. Philadelphia: Lindsay & Blakiston, 1846.
Available as a free eBook from GoogleBooks (may require sign-in). Invaluable first-person insights.
Homberger, Eric. The Historical Atlas of New York City: a Visual Celebration of Nearly 400 Years of New York City’s History. New York: Henry Holt and Company, Inc., 1994.
Replete with maps and concise summaries of New York City history. An updated edition was published in 2005.
Jackson, Kenneth T., ed. The Encyclopedia of New York City. New York: Yale University Press, 1995.
Indispensable reference book with essays contributed by leading New York City scholars, historians, journalists, etc. A new edition was published in 2010.
Johnson, Allen, ed. Dictionary of American Biography. New york: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1928–1937.
If you’re looking for a biography of an important American who lived before 1937, it’s probably here.
Kneib, Martha. A Historical Atlas of the American Revolution. New York: Rosen Pub., 2005.
Simply written, perhaps designed with the young student in mind.
McCullough, David. 1776. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005.
My favorite. I read the section on the Battle of Long Island every summer. Comprehensive, yet reader-friendly. Excellent endnotes, organized by page number. Exceedingly helpful bibliography.
Merrill, F. J. H., et al. New York City folio, Paterson, Harlem, Staten Island, and Brooklyn quadrangles, New York-New Jersey. Washington, DC: U. S. Geological Survey, 1902.
Available online through Texas A&M University Libraries. Wordy, informative, limited.
Nebenzahl, Kenneth. Printed Battle Plans of the American Revolution. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1975.
Published near the Bicentennial, notations reflect a Cold War and anti-British bias, to a minor degree.
Nebenzahl, Kenneth, and Don Higginbotham, eds. Atlas of the American Revolution. Chicago: Rand McNally & Company, 1974.
See comments on Nebenzahl book above.
Raphael, Ray. A People’s History of the American Revolution. New York: The New Press, 2001.
The people! Excerpts from personal writings of Loyalists, farmers, Native Americans, etc. on the War.
Sauthier, Claude Joseph. “A topographical map of the northn. part of New York island, exhibiting the plan of Fort Washington, now Fort Knyphausen….” London: William Faden, 1777.
This is a map, but it’s part of the NYPL Print Division. Also available on NYPL Digital Collections (Image ID: 54925).
Schecter, Barnet. The Battle for New York: the City at the Heart of the American Revolution. New York: Walker & Co., 2002.
I dislike any publication that refers to the actions on August 27, 1776 as the “Battle of Brooklyn.” This book is no exception. Most tasteless part: footnote/shameless plug, indicating that the historic Brookland Ferry Landing site is located by the River Cafe.
Seltzer, Leon E., ed. The Columbia Lippincott Gazetteer of the World. New York: Columbia University Press, 1962.
Geographical index. Also available online (subscription may apply).
Stokes, I. N. Phelps. The Iconography of Manhattan Island, 1498–1909. 6 vols. New York: Arno Press, 1915–1928.
Also available in PDF format from Columbia University’s Digital Collections, volume four is especially pertinent to the American Revolutionary period.
Manuscript and Special Collections
Thomas Addis Emmet Collection, New York Public Library. Detailed online.
Comprehensive resource covering 1483–1876, though most of the materials date from 1700–1800. Includes digitized versions of early drafts of the Declaration of Independencein Jefferson’s own hand, as well as illustrations of Revolutionary War events.
Eno Collection of New York City Views, New York Public Library
Much of this extensive collection is available online via the NYPL Digital Collections.
The Richard Maass Collection of Westchester and New York State, Fales Library, NYU.
Particular focus on materials relating to the American Revolutionary War. Some of it has been digitized via the New-York Historical Society. Finding aid here.
Note: all materials in this section are viewable in-person at the Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division, New York Public Library
Des Barres, Joseph F. W. “A chart of New York Island & North River, East River, passage through Hell Gate, Flushing Bay, Hampstead Bay, Oyster Bay, Huntington Bay, Cow Harbour, East Chester Inlet, Rochelle, Rye, Patrick Islands, &c.” [177-?].
Coastal survey. Montresor’s Island listed as “Barren Island.” Also available on New York Public Library Digital Collection (Image ID: 434406).
Faden, William. “A plan of New York Island, with part of Long Island, Staten Island & east New Jersey : with a particular description of the engagement on the woody heights of Long Island, between Flatbush and Brooklyn, on the 27th of August 1776 between His Majesty’s forces commanded by General Howe and the Americans under Major General Putnam, shewing also the landing of the British Army on New-York Island, and the taking of the city of New-York &c. on the 15th of September following, with the subsequent disposition of both the armies / engraved & publish’d by … Wm. Faden.” London: William Faden, October 19, 1776.
English perspective on the Battle of Long Island. Perhaps overcrowded with information, its emphasis on topography is significant. Also available on New York Public Library Digital Collection (Image ID: 433997).
Heritage New York. “Revolutionary War Heritage Trail: to Understand the American Revolution, Come to New York State.” Albany, New York: Heritage New York, [between 2001 and 2005?].
Colorful contemporary advertisement for New York State heritage tourism. Published during the gubernatorial administration of George E. Pataki. Contains some factual inaccuracies. Not available online.
Johnston, Henry Phelps. “Position of the American and British Armies near Harlem from Sept. 10 to Oct. 12, 1776.” New York, 1898.
Photocopy of small map showing general positions of troops. Not available online.
—. “Plan of the Battle of Harlem Heights, September 16, 1776.” New York, 1898.
Photocopy of small map showing events of the Battle of Harlem Heights overlaid on Manhattan street grid. Not available online.
Lewis, Samuel. “A Plan of New York Island, Part of Long Island, &c. : Shewing the Position of the American and British Armies Before, at, and After the Engagement on the Heights, Aug. 27th, 1776.” Philadelphia: C. P. Wayne, 1807.
Essentially, the same map as the Faden (above), without color-coding. Also available on New York Public Library Digital Collection (Image ID: 433993)
Lodge, John. “Chart and plan of the harbour of New York & the county. adjacent, from Sandy Hook to Kingsbridge : comprehending the whole of New York and Staten Islands, and part of Long Island & the Jersey shore, and shewing the defences of New York both by land and sea / John Lodge, sculp.” John Bew, November 30, 1781.
Colored map showing (sand and oyster) banks and water depths (denoted by soundings) in the New York harbor area. Also includes some battle-related annotation. Look for Fort Knyphausen (Fort Washington) and Montresor’s Island (see below). Also available on New York Public Library Digital Collection (Image ID: 434626).
Montresor, John. “A plan of the city of New-York & its environs : to Greenwich, on the North or Hudsons River, and to Crown Point, on the East or Sound River, shewing the several streets, publick buildings, docks, fort & battery, with the true form & course of the commanding grounds, with and without the town : survey’d in the winter, 1775 [i.e. 1766] / John Montresor, engineer ; P. Andrews, sculp.” Andrew Dury, .
The quintessential pre-Revolution map. Montresor and his family lived on what is now Randall’s Island before the outset of the War; the home was burned on January 13, 1777. Montresor “was present” at the Battle of Long Island and the execution of Nathan Hale, served as aide-de-camp to General William Howe, and was involved in military campaigns in New Jersey, before eventually returning to England in 1779 when he also resigned from the army. Also available on New York Public Library Digital Collection (Image ID: 1268390).
Ratzer, Bernard. “Plan of the City of New York in North America.” 1767.
One of only a handful of copies in existence! An important map. Go see it in person! Also available on New York Public Library Digital Collection (Image ID: 1258618).
—. “Plan of the Town of Brooklyn and Part of Long Island.” 1767.
Another gem from this cartographer (also, a reprint?). Includes list of significant local addresses. Also available on New York Public Library Digital Collection (Image ID: 1811319).
Stedman, C. “A plan of the operations of the King’s army : under the command of General Sr. William Howe, K.B. in New York and East New Jersey, against the American forces commanded by General Washington, from the 12th of October, to the 28th of November 1776, wherein is particularly distinguished the engagement on the White Plains, the 28th of October.” Stedman’s History of the American War. C. Stedman, April 12, 1793.
Valuable resource with an embarrassment of riches regarding military movements. Note “Barren Island.” Also available on New York Public Library Digital Collection (Image ID: 484248).
Thurheimer, David C. “New York in the American Revolution, 1775–1783 / Compiled by David C. Thurheimer; designed by the National Survey.” Albany: New York State American Revolution Bicentennial Commission, [1976?].
Perhaps a product of its time (preceding the American Bicentennial), this colorful map puts little emphasis on actions in New York City, focusing more on Benedict Arnold and Fort Ticonderoga (1775). Somewhat confusing labeling. Not available online.
Historic Marker Database. U. S. Revolutionary War Markers. 2014. http://www.hmdb.org/Results.asp?CategoryID=16 (accessed June 2014).
National Archives and Records Administration. Pictures of the Revolutionary War. 2014. http://www.archives.gov/research/military/american-revolution/pictures/ (accessed June 2014).
New York Public Library. NYPL Map Warper. June 2014. http://maps.nypl.org/warper/ (accessed June 2014).
Fun, interactive, invaluable tool designed to allow users to see historic maps “warped” to fit the Earth’s topography. As of this writing, unfortunately, the “Ratzer Map” and other Revolutionary-era maps were not 100% complete.