Starting in the late 18th and early 19th century, the Industrial Revolution began in Great Britain and quickly spread across the world. The introduction of coal-fired steam engines led to changes in manufacturing, transportation, agriculture, family life and immigration patterns. Because the Industrial Revolution was a global phenomenon, you can find information about it in the history of almost every country. Try to narrow your research to a particular industry, time period or geographic area. You might start by finding an entry in a good print encyclopedia or by reading a short, general book on your topic. This will give you an overview and help you to refine your search.
Check out the starting your research project page before you begin! Some possible subject areas for a project on the Industrial Revolution might include:
the enclosure movement
innovations in textile manufacturing
living conditions for the working poor in England
the birth of trade unions
We can't fit every resource about the Industrial Revolution on to this list! A topic guide is just the beginning of building your bibliography.
Cayton, Mary, ed. (1993.) The Encyclopedia of American social history. REF 973.En1 A 3 volume set with white covers. Look in the index.
Spangenburg, Ray. (1994). The history of science in the nineteenth century. REF 509.034 Sp2 1994
Britannica Online Great for pre-search and primary sources, including speeches, essays, biographies, court decisions, editorials and photos.
Gale Virtual Reference Library Especially important here is the chance to search the Gale encyclopedia of U.S. economic history.
General Reference Center Gold
Routledge Reference Resources One box searching connects you electronically to many reference books. Especially useful for non-U.S. topics.
Blumberg, Rhoda. (1996). Full steam ahead : the race to build a transcontinental railroad. 385.0973 B62 1996 159 pages.
Gourley, Catherine. (1999). Good girl work : factories, sweatshops, and how women changed their role in the American workforce. 331.3108 G74 1999 96 pages.
Stalcup, Brenda. (2002). The industrial revolution. 330.9034 In2 2002 269 pages.
Steinberg, Theodore. (1994). Nature incorporated : industrialization and the waters of New England. 333.91 St3 1994 284 pages.
Expanded Academic ASAP
Biography Resource Center For information on famous people associated with the Industrial Revolution. Search by the person's last name.
Facts on File For pre-search, biographies, primary sources and images.
The History Guide A History Guide lecture entitled The Origins of the Industrial Revolution in England.
Internet Modern History Sourcebook This link takes you directly to the Industrial Revolution page of this Fordham University site.
Lowell National History Park Learn about the role the Lowell mills played in the Industrial Revolution.
The Science Museum This London museum's site is a great source for information on inventions and the changes they introduced to the world of work and everyday life.
History Resource Center: U.S.. A good starting point for pre-search and fact-checking as well as more advanced searches. Use the subject search. This site will also let you limit your searches to reference, biographies, periodicals, news, primary sources or maps and multi-media.
America: History and Life. This database indexes scholarly and popular articles on American history. You can limit your search to full text if you want articles instead of citations.
Archive of Americana. Search for primary sources: pamphlets, newspapers and government publications.