Manuscript Collections Relating to Slavery
Detail from the diary of Joseph Goodwin, a plantation manager in Cuba from Hudson, New York, 1820 Account of 203 slaves aboard the Ship Ascension, purchased in Mozambique, undated Inventory and appraisal of slaves belonging to the estate of William Browne, 1809-1813 Account detail for the sale of slaves brought from Africa on the Brig Marian, May 1808 Advertisement offering a reward for a runaway slave named George, from Alexandria, Va., October 1851 Detail from the account book kept by the prominent slave trading firm of Bolton, Dickens & Co., 1865 Detail from James F. Brown's diary from Fishkill Landing, New York, October 1855 Drawing study of a pastoral scene by Andrew R. Smith. New-York African Free School records, 1822 Birth certificate of a female child named Matilda, born in New York to the slave of John Herttell, August 1808 Drawing study of a ship by an unknown student. New-York African Free School records, c. 1820 Detail from the first draft of Charles Sumner's famous speech, The Anti-Slavery Enterprise, 1855
New-York Historical Society
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The library of the New-York Historical Society holds among its many resources a substantial collection of manuscript materials documenting American slavery and the slave trade in the Atlantic world. The fourteen collections on this web site are among the most important of these manuscript collections. They consist of diaries, account books, letter books, ships’ logs, indentures, bills of sale, personal papers, and records of institutions. Some of the highlights of these collections include the records of the New York Manumission Society and the African Free School, the diaries and correspondence of English abolitionists Granville Sharp and John Clarkson, the papers of the Boston anti-slavery activist Lysander Spooner, the records of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, the draft of Charles Sumner’s famous speech The Anti-Slavery Enterprise, and an account book kept by the slave trading firm Bolton, Dickens & Co.


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Collection Description
Collection covering the latter portion of the existence of the African Free School, founded by the New-York Manumission Society in 1794 to help prepare black children for lives as free men and women.
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Account book kept by the prominent slave trading firm of Bolton, Dickens & Co. of Lexington, Kentucky, with branches in Memphis, Charleston, Natchez, and New Orleans. The front portion of the book was later used as a day book by “B.B.W.” and contains accounts for money received and various expenses for the year 1865.
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Birth records and deeds of manumission for African American children in the town of Castleton, Staten Island, N.Y. between 1799 and 1827.
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Draft and published version of the speech delivered in New York on May 9, 1855 by Charles Sumner (1811-1874), United States senator from Massachusetts and campaigner against slavery.
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Copies of letters and related documents sent to English abolitionist and reformer Granville Sharp (1735-1813), transcribed in his own handwriting and concerning such matters as slavery, the slave trade, its evils and legal and social aspects.
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Diaries, memorandum book, and receipt book of James F. Brown (1793-1868), a runaway slave from Maryland who became the gardener of the Verplanck family at Mount Gulian, Fishkill, N.Y.
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Manuscripts, written in journal form, of the English abolitionist John Clarkson (1764-1828), concerning his involvement with the settlement of free African American loyalists from Nova Scotia to Sierra Leone, Africa.
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Diary presumably kept by Joseph Goodwin, originally from Hudson, N.Y., the manager of plantations worked by black slaves in Matanzas, Cuba.
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Correspondence, including letters received and copies of letters sent by Boston lawyer Lysander Spooner (1808-1887), many pertaining to his activities as an abolitionist and author of works opposing slavery.
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Contemporary copy of a diary kept by Mahlon Day (1790-1854) while on a tour of the West Indies with Joseph John Gurney (1788-1847), the English Quaker philanthropist, minister, and writer.
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Meeting minutes, commission reports, financial records, indentures, registers, and miscellaneous records of the New York Society for Promoting the Manumission of Slaves, commonly known as the New York Manumission Society, established in 1785 to publicly promote the abolition of slavery and manumission of slaves in New York State.
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Correspondence and papers of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, including petitions to the Legislature, resolutions, lists of members and supporters, letters about slavery, editorials, meeting minutes, a list of fugitive slaves aided by the Vigilance Committee, and accounts of fugitive slaves.
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Account book, December 1748-July 1749, kept aboard the sloop Rhode Island while on a voyage to Africa to procure slaves for her owners, Philip Livingston and sons, New York City.
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Diverse collection of materials containing correspondence and legal and financial documents related to the North American slave trade, slave ownership, abolition, and political issues pertinent to slavery.
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'Reduction of Vulgar Fractions,' Penmanship study by Andrew R. Smith. New-York African Free School records, c. 1820
Detail from the account book kept by the prominent slave trading firm of Bolton, Dickens & Co., 1865
Cover of the Town Book for Castletown For the Entry of Black Children, 1799-1827
Leaf one of the first draft of Charles Sumner's famous speech, The Anti-Slavery Enterprise, 1855
Case detail concerning the a slave's freedom upon the death of his master. Granville Sharp, May 11, 1773
Endpapers of Volume 3 of James F. Brown's diary from Fishkill Landing, New York. James F. Brown Papers, 1841
Cover of Clarkson's Mission to America, 1791-1792
Leaf one of the diary of Joseph Goodwin, a plantation manager in Cuba from Hudson, New York, 1820
Letter from Gerrit Smith to Lysander Spooner, October 3, 1860. Lysander Spooner papers
Index page from Mahlon Day's journal of a voyage among the West India Islands, 1839-1840
Deed of manumission for a slave named Betsy, June 18, 1810. New-York Manumission Society records
Resolution arguing for the abolition of slavery. Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society records, 1850-1858
Detail from the trade book kept by the Sloop Rhode Island traveling from the coast of Africa to Sierra Leone, 1748-1749
Receipt for the purchase of a slave named Jack in Richmond, VA, 1860. Slavery Collection
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