Slavery and the Underground Railroad

The New-York Historical Society Library holds many different types of resources relating to the study of slavery and the underground railroad: manuscripts; books and pamphlets; broadsides; songbooks, song sheets and sheet music; newspapers and periodicals; maps; photographs and prints.

This research guide, intended as an introduction to the numerous resources available at the Library, lists materials advocating the abolition of slavery as well as those in support of slavery. All are primary sources. Researchers will also want to search the library’s online catalog to find additional sources, both primary and secondary.


African Americans
Antislavery movements
Fugitive slave law
Fugitive slaves
Slave narratives
Slave trade
Slavery and the church
Underground Railroad

Please contact a librarian ( for assistance with the online catalog or to find out more about the library’s collections and services.

Sections of this Guide

I. Manuscripts
II. Books & Pamphlets
III. Written by Slaves and Former Slaves
IV. Broadsides
V. Songbooks, Song Sheets and Sheet Music
VI. Newspapers & Periodicals
VII. Maps
VIII. Photographs & Prints
IX. Digital Collection

I. Manuscripts

Following is a comprehensive list of manuscript collections relating to slavery:

Association for the Benefit of Colored Orphans Records, 1836-1972 (bulk 1850-1936)
The records of the Colored Orphans' Asylum, document the activities of the institution from 1836 to 1965, with the bulk of the records falling between 1850 and 1936. The records include minutes of general meetings, the Executive Committee, the Indenturing Committee and the After-care Committee; volumes recording indentures; administrative correspondence; financial records; admission and discharge reports; newspaper clippings; reminiscences; visitor registers; and building plans. These records document the internal workings of an institution dedicated to educating and training African-American orphans in New York City. The Association for the Benefit of Colored Orphans was founded in 1836, and originally located on Fifth Avenue between 43rd and 44th Streets in Manhattan. In 1884, the institution was renamed the Colored Orphans' Asylum and Association for the Benefit of Colored Orphans; sometime after 1944, the name was again changed, this time to the Riverdale Children's Association. The institution was also relocated to Riverdale-on-Hudson. The Asylum was among the earliest organizations in the country to provide housing, training and employment specifically for African-American orphans. In the late 1880s, the Asylum adopted the "cottage-home" system, in which residents of varying ages lived in small groups under the supervision of a matron. The children in each cottage performed domestic chores. The system was thought to promote a less institutional atmosphere (Ashby, 1984). During the Draft Riot of July 14, 1863, the Colored Orphans' Asylum was attacked by a mob, whose size was estimated by the New York Times at several hundred, mostly women and children. At that time, the Asylum housed some 600 to 800 homeless children in a large four story building surrounded by grounds and gardens. The crowd plundered the Asylum, looting even donated baby clothes, then set fire to the first floor despite the pleas of administrators. The building burned to the ground.
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Bolton, Dickens & Co.
Account book, 1856-1858, kept by the prominent slave trading firm of Bolton, Dickens & Company of Lexington, Kentucky; Memphis, Tennessee; New Orleans, and elsewhere, and chiefly recording slaves purchased and sold by the firm, with entries giving the name of the slave, purchase and selling price, profit, names of suppliers, and occasional remarks. Some persons involved in the firm's recorded transactions were Washington Bolton, Isaac Bolton, Samuel Dickens, and slave trader G. L. Bumpass. Of additional note is a copy of an 1857 letter to Isaac Bolton, probably written by his brother Washington Bolton while Isaac was in prison awaiting trial for the murder of slave dealer James McMillan of Kentucky following a dispute in Memphis concerning McMillan's sale to Bolton of a 16 year old slave who was later revealed to a be a free man. Also included is a copy of a statement given by G. L. Bumpass as a witness to the events preceding the death of McMillan. The copy of Bumpass's testimony is followed by related financial accounts between Bumpass and the firm of Bolton, Dickens & Company. Volume was additionally employed as a daybook by "B. B. W." (possibly B. B. Wadell) and contains accounts for money received and various expenses for the year 1865.
ðMicrofilm copy available

Buckhingham Smith Papers, 1613-1910
Lawyer, politician, antiquary, diplomat employed as secretary by the United States Legation to Mexico, and author and editor of works on the history of Florida and the Spanish colonies of North America; resident of Florida. Summary Collection, ca. 1613-ca. 1941, of miscellaneous papers related to Buckingham Smith or from his collection of historical documents. The bulk of the collection consists of Buckingham Smith's own notes and correspondence, but there is also a typed biography of him, and miscellaneous historical documents from his collection, mostly relating to the history of Florida. The correspondence, 1852-1872, pertains to Smith's researches, personal matters, public affairs and legislation in Florida in 1870, his library of books and manuscripts after his death, and includes a 12-page draft of a letter about the political convulsion in Spain, written July 28, 1856. It includes letters from George H. Moore, George W. Atwood, and Francis Parkman. His other papers include a prospectus and subscription list for his "Collecion de varios documentos para la Historia de la Florida y Terras Adyacientes"; proofs of his "Relation of Alvar Nuñez Cabeça de Vaca"; notes, including a transcript of the life story of "Uncle Jack," an African slave, describing his childhood in Africa and his experiences in the U.S.; passports, clippings, scrapbooks, and miscellaneous ephemera, including some Confederate paper money issued by the Fairmont Bank, Virginia and other items related to the Confederacy. There are also some maps, including a printed map of the Mexico City area, probably eighteenth-century, and ninetenth-century watercolor copies of early maps of North America. The earliest printed document is a four-page pamphlet entitled La prodigiosa nauegacion de la naue Santa Elena, que venia de la India de Portugal. Malaga: Antonio René, 1613. Manuscripts in Spanish related to the history of Florida include legal documents, some with sixteenth-century dates but perhaps transcribed later, and a number of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century documents related to Franciscans in Santa Elena, Florida. Manuscripts in English include diaries of John Hambley, an Indian agent, interpreter, and trader in Florida. One section of the diary, January 14, 1794 - April 2, 1794, was kept while he was on a mission from Governor Juan Nepomuceno de Quesada to deliver letters to John Kinnaird, one of the chiefs of the Lower Creeks, and to Don Pedro Oliver, informing them of an impending expedition against Florida. He writes of meetings with Indians, the reaction and attitude of James Seagrove, the Indians' opening of Seagrove's mail, word that Americans were coming, and distrust of Seagrove. In the other part of the diary, June 29, 1794 - August 27, 1794, written while delivering letters from Governor Quesada to John Kinnaird and other Creek chiefs, he writes of the uneasiness of the Indians at the incursion of General Elijah Clarke and some men, the robbery and humiliation of James Seagrove, meetings with the chiefs, the murder of George Welbank, and travel difficulties. The correspondence of John Leslie, a merchant in St. Augustine, Florida, 1781-1800, deals with such matters as trade with soldiers and Indians; conflict between Indians and Georgians; activities of William Augustus Bowles; driving and sale of cattle and horses; trade with England and the West Indies; runaway slaves; disputed land titles; local shipping; supplies for the Indians; traveling difficulties; personal and family matters; and politics in Nassau. Correspondents include Thomas Forbes, Alexander McGillivray, Robert Leslie, William Pengree, John Wells, William Panton, James Taylor, and John Hambley. The correspondence of Joseph M. Hernandez, a militia general in Florida, 1815-1838, includes several letters from Zephaniah Kingsley, Fort George, Florida, in 1821, mostly about efforts to break the will of the deceased John Fraser. Many others pertain to the war with the Seminole Indians during 1835-1838, including letters from Major Benjamin A. Putnam, orders and instructions from General Thomas Sidney Jesup, and Lieutenant Colonel J.W. Mills's report of the battle of Withlacoochy. Other miscellaneous documents include: a letter in Spanish, from the Conde de Revilla Gigedo to Antonio Porlier, dated November 30, 1789, and describing the panic caused by the sight of the aurora borealis in Mexico City on November 14 of that year; and two letters in Greek to Ioannes Xenos, one, undated, addressed to him in care of Pierre Paradis, the other, dated 1781 from a correspondent in Livorno, Italy, addressed to him in London.
ð Microfilm copies of  John Hambley's diaries, 1794 and John Leslie's correspondence, 1781-1800 are available

BV Petitions
Undated petition, probably ca. 1862, to United States President Abraham Lincoln from citizens of New York requesting that the governor of New York be authorized to raise a number of regiments composed wholly or partly of African American troops, including the signatures and addresses of petitioners. In scroll form, approximately 25 feet long.

Clarkson, John, 1764-1828.
Manuscripts, 1791 Aug. 6-1792 Aug.4.
ðMicrofilm copy available

Day, Mahlon. Journal of Voyage Among the West India Islands
Quaker, publisher of children's books, printer, and bookseller of New York City. Contemporary copy of a diary kept by Day while on a tour of the West Indies (Nov. 1839-Apr. 1840) in company with Joseph John Gurney, the English Quaker philanthropist, minister, and writer. In most of the places they visited, they did considerable sightseeing, held religious services for all faiths, and were entertained by many residents. They were particularly interested in education, religion, and the condition of the Black population especially on the free islands as compared to those which still permitted slavery. Day also includes many rhymes composed by Gurney to commemorate particular occasions. Persons whom they visited include: Sir W.M.B.G. Colebrooke and Nathaniel Gilbert of Antigua, and John and Maria Candler of Jamaica.
ð Microfilm copy available

Francis L. Hawks Collection, 1726-1854
Episcopal clergyman and historian. Collection of original and transcribed letters, petitions, bonds, proclamations, and various legal and financial documents, 1726-1854, concerning the history of North Carolina, assembled by historian and clergyman Frances Lister Hawks during his researches into the history of that state. Collection includes original architect's plans and elevations, 1766, for a governor's palace to be built in New Bern, North Carolina, along with articles of agreement between Governor William Tryon and John Hawks for the building of palace at New Bern; specimens of counterfeit money of North Carolina printed during the Revolution; various

acts and proclamations issued by the governor's of the state, many concerning riots and rebellions in North Carolina; petitions and letters concerning ecclesiastical matters in the state; original lists of books belonging to the Mecklenburg and Rowan libraries, ca. 1772; original trial record of a slave tried and condemned to death for theft in Mecklenburg; letters written and received by state governors Edward Hyde, Arthur Dobbs, George Burrington, William Tryon, and Richard Everard; copy of a petition of Sarah Drummong concerning the death of her husband William at the hands of the British army; original bond of 1790 signed by Seth, Hezekiah, and Joel Alexander and Charles Harris for construction of a cotton jenny; original accounts totaling the costs for construction of a college at Mecklenburg; and account of the battle of Elizabeth Town, dated March 1844; and correspondence between Frances Lister Hawks and friends, colleagues, and associates concerning the history of North Carolina and the various counties of state.

Granville Sharp Papers
Copies of letters received, 1763-73.
English abolitionist, reformer, and philanthropist. Copies of letters and related documents, 1768-1773, sent to English abolitionist and reformer Granville Sharp, transcribed in his own handwriting and concerning such matters as slavery, the slave trade, its evils, legal and social aspects, etc. Included are letters from Anthony Benezet, William Blackstone, Francis Hargrave, John Fothergill, Jacob Bryant, Arthur Lee, Benjamin Rush, and Joseph Banks. Volume also contains a copy of an outline of the court case of Thomas Lewis vs. Robert Stapylton, in which an alleged slave brought charges against his master for assault and imprisonment; a well as a copy of Lord Mansfield's decision in the case of James Sommersett. 
ð Microfilm copy available

Indentures (New York City), 1718-1727, 1792-1915
Indentures for apprentices and indentured servants, 1718-1727 and 1792-1902, and foundling records, 1838-1841 and 1902-1915, issued in New York City under the successive authorities of various departments of city government, including the Commissioners of the Alms-House and the Department of Public Charities; later incorporated into the Department of Public Welfare. Indentures include contracts binding small children and young people of both sexes to periods of domestic servitude, agricultural labor, or apprenticeship with practitioners of a wide variety of trades and occupations. Of particular note is the inclusion of indentures and deeds of manumission, 1801-1814, for free and manumitted African American city residents. Foundling records created by the Department of Public Welfare record the circumstances of the child's abandonment, case history, and placement in the care of a family member, private home, or public or private institution. Foundling records, 1838-1841, additionally record the placement of infants in the care of paid nurses with comments noting the child's adoption, return to parental care, or death. Many volumes individually indexed. An abstract of the volume of indentures of apprentices, 1718-1727, originally labeled Liber 29 of conveyances, has been published in the "Collections of the New-York Historical Society," 1909.
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Inventories, New York State, 1680-1844.
Subjects: Decedents' estates -- New York (State); Material culture -- New York (State) ; New York (State) -- Social life and customs ; Inventories. Collection of estate inventories from New York City and vicinity, 1680-1844.
ð Microfilm copy available

James Brown Papers, 1827-1864
The diaries are not entirely chronological as in several instances the entries for a year have been copied into a later volume. James F. Brown (1793-1868) was the ex-slave gardener of the Verplanck family at Mount Gulian, Fishkill, New York. Brown was a runaway slave from Maryland, and the Verplancks purchased his time after he was found by his master. The collection consists of 8 diaries, 1829-1864, during which time Brown was gardener for the Verplanck family; 1 receipt book, 1832-1857, recording some personal and household expenses, although most entries are unspecified; and 1 memorandum book, 1827-1843. Entries in the diaries are brief, with little elaboration, and pertain to such matters as the weather, local deaths, his gardening activities, the passage of boats on the Hudson, etc.
ð Microfilm copy available

Joseph Goodwin Diary, 1820-1827
Diary presumably kept by plantation manager Joseph Goodwin, though it might possibly have been kept by a brother of his (1820-1827). After leaving home in Hudson, N.Y., Goodwin goes to work for Gen. George De Wolf, first in Bristol, Rhode Island for a few months and then on De Wolf's plantations near Mantanzas, Cuba as a manager or overseer. The plantations seemed to grow mainly coffee though other crops are mentioned and are worked by Black slaves. Diary entries are mainly routine and record weather, plantation activities, people met, and local news. Mentioned often are George and William De Wolf. While in Cuba, Goodwin stayed first at the home of John Line and later at the plantations Buena Esperanza and Arca de Noe.

Lloyd Family Papers, 1654-1822
Merchant family of New York and Rhode Island; landowners in colonial Long Island and early settlers of Lloyd Neck, now in the vicinity of Huntington in Suffolk County, Long Island, and Oyster Bay in Queens County. Correspondence, land papers, deeds, bonds, memoranda, maps, indentures, wills, and miscellaneous legal and financial documents, 1654-1822, of the Lloyd family of Long Island, Boston, and Rhode Island.
Correspondence, 1654-1822, consists of letters recieved by members of the Lloyd family, generally from other family members, and principally concern financial and legal matters, disposition of family property, inheritances, management of farm and domestic affairs (including the appraisal and sale of slaves), and news regarding the health, welfare, and conduct of family members. Other topics addressed include current events such as conflicts between Native Americans and colonists during the French-Indian Wars and involvement of family members in the American revolution. Other materials include family legal and financial documents and papers pertaining to the history and administration of the Long Island property of Lloyd's Neck, also known as Queens Village, from the time of its original acquisition by European colonists in 1654. Transcribed and original documents include deeds, indentures, bonds, accounts, estate papers, quit claim deeds comprising early lists of the inhabitants of Lloyd's Neck and vicinity, and various legal records concerning the taxation of the Lloyd property and boundary and property disputes with neighboring communities. Included is a volume of transcribed documents, begun in 1690 by James Lloyd and continued by members of the Lloyd family to the mid 19th century, containing transcriptions of early deeds and memoranda relating to Lloyd's Neck (Queens's Village), as well as hand drawn maps of Long Island and the Lloyd property. Also includes genealogical information, notes, and tables for the Lloyd family and related branches of the Nelson and Temple families. Correspondents include: Henry Lloyd, James Lloyd, John Lloyd, Joseph Lloyd, John Eastwicke, John Nelson, Aaron Burr, Robert Temple, Melancthon Taylor Woolsey, Rebecca Taylor Woolsey, Samuel Fitch, Ebenezer Pemberton, William Henry Smith, and many others. Published index available at repository.

Lysander Spooner Papers, 1844-1886
Lawyer and abolitionist of Boston, Massachusetts.
Correspondence, 1844-1886, including letters received and copies of letters sent by Boston lawyer and abolitionist Lysander Spooner. Many of the letters pertain to Spooner's activities as an abolitionist and author of works opposing slavery. Included are 100 letters to or from George Bradburn, 106 letters to or from Gerrit Smith, 7 pieces of correspondence with Charles D. Cleveland, 7 with Daniel Drayton, 19 with Richard Goodell, 10 with Charles D. Miller, 9 with John A. Thomson, 11 letters from Daniel McFarland, and 4 letters from Lewis Tappan. Descriptions of individual items available in the card catalog of the Society library.
ðMicrofilm copy available

Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society records, 1850-1858.
Correspondence and papers, 1850-1858, of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society.
Included are petitions to the legislature, resolutions, donations to the Liberator, lists of members and supporters, letters about slavery, editorials, meetings, a list of fugitive slaves aided by the Vigilance Committee, accounts of fugitive slaves, including the narrative of Jonathan Thomas, a fugitive slave from Kentucky; and lists, letters, editorials, and other papers pertaining to the notorious case of Anthony Burns. Persons whose names appear frequently include: Francis Jackson, Wendell Phillips, Ellis Gray Loring, Edmund Quincy, William Lloyd Garrison, and Samuel E. Sewall.

Misc. Mss. Castletown (NY)
Records births and related information, of black children born in Castletown after July 1, 1799.  The records relate to the gradual abolition laws instituted in New York State during the period 1800-1827.
Microfilm copy available

Misc. Mss. Riots of 1834
Communications from various persons to Cornelius W Lawrence, mayor of NYC, July 1834. Includes lists of volunteer aides, reports about homes and churches which the mob threatens to burn, disposition of militia, requests for protection for certain Negroes.
Microfilm copy available

Moses Greenwood Papers
Letterpress copies, 1850-1852 and 1860-1861, and a few papers, 1844-1856, of New Orleans cotton trader Moses Greenwood of the firm Moses Greenwood & Co. Letterpress copies include letters sent to fellow merchants and business associates and concern sales and shipments of cotton, trade conditions, political news, Greenwood's views on politics and the growing threat of war, impact of the conflict on the cotton trade, etc. Papers also include a handful of legal and financial documents concerning shipments of cotton, claims outstanding accounts, slave bills of sale, and correspondence and financial statements concerning the school accounts of a Miss Barton, daughter of Judge Barton, and pupil at the Misses Wood Demopolis Female Academy, Demopolis, Alabama.

New-York African Free School Records, 1817-1832
The records are in four volumes: Vol. I includes regulations, by-laws, and reports (1817-1832); Vol. II includes reports of the visiting committee (1820-1831); Vol. III includes addresses and pieces spoken at public examinations (1818-1826); and Vol. IV includes penmanship and drawing studies (1816-1826).
Historical Note: The African Free School was started by the Manumission Society in 1794.
ðMicrofilm copy available
Website > (Volume IV only)
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New-York Society for Promoting the Manumission of Slaves, and Protecting Such of Them as Have Been, or May Be Liberated.  Records, 1785-1849.
Society established 1785 to publicly promote the abolition of slavery and manumission of slaves in New York State. The society, which was dissolved in 1849, provided legal and financial assistance to individual slaves seeking manumission and supported efforts to enforce laws erected banning the sale of slaves in New York State. Summary 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, dating from the year of the Societies organization in 1785 to that of its dissolution in 1849. Minutes of the Society's quarterly meetings, standing committee, and ways amd means committee concern such topics as political activities of the Society, Society finances, efforts to enact legal reforms aimed at abolishing the slave trade in New York and preventing the exportation of slaves, reports on individual cases of slaves in need of assistance in negotiating their freedom, the protection of manumitted slaves, reports and decisions concerning the Society's sponsorship and operation of the African Free School and houses of refuge for the benefit of New York's African American population, appointments, elections, etc. Records also include an account book, 1819-1849, kept by the treasurer of the Society; a register of manumissions of slaves in New York City, 1816 Jun. 18-1818 May 28; indentures, 1809-1829, drawn up for slaves granted the status of indentured servants with the assistance of the Society; and miscellaneous minutes and reports, including papers pertaining to the American Convention for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery. Some of the Society's active members were: Robert C. Cornell, W. W. Woolsey, Nehemiah Allen, Melancton Smith, William T. Slocum, Samuel Bowne, Adrian Hegeman, Willet Seaman, Thomas Burling, John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, James Duane, John Murray, Jr., William Dunlap, Alexander McDougall, Noah Webster, Egbert Benson, and many others.
Microfilm copy available

New York State Inventories
Collection of estate inventories from New York City and vicinity, 1680-1844.    
Most available on microfilm

Nicholas Low Papers, 1728-1893 (bulk ca. 1784 - ca. 1826)
Banker, merchant and land speculator, New York City. Papers include correspondence, bonds, indentures, bills of sale (including some for ships), vouchers, receipts, powers of attorney, other legal and financial papers, and a few miscellaneous pieces of printed ephemera, such as prices current at Livorno and New Orleans, and a blank form for a bill of exchange. Most of the material consists of letters from merchants and business associates in New York City, Philadelphia, and elsewhere, about the settlement of accounts, trade, land speculation,

introductions, and personal matters. Individual correspondents include Samuel Ogden and other members of the Ogden family; Peter Collins; Nicholas and Henry Cruger; Josiah Hardy and James Rivington, Jr.; John Wilcocks; and Thomas Lawrence and Jacob Morris. Subjects include Low's mercantile activities, especially the import of Madeira wine; his purchases of land in upstate New York and Canada, some in partnership with Samuel Ogden; the closing of the firm of Lawrence & Morris; and occasional references to politics and personal affairs. A 1788 letter from Peter Collins alludes to Low's work as a member of the state constitutional convention. A letter from Samuel Ogden discusses financial issues arising from his use of the labor of slaves belonging to Low's brother Isaac. A letter from John Smithson to a correspondent named Irwin, written in 1807, includes a detailed discussion of how to deal with having had a vessel seized, apparently passing on advice from Low's business partner Wallace. Personal material includes a letter from his daughter, Henrietta Low, and some invoices for her schooling and other expenses. Later material includes letters, telegrams, and miscellaneous papers, some pertaining to Augustus Fleming, others members of the Beekman family.

Papers of Rufus King
Papers, 1783-1826, of Federalist statesman Rufus King, including official and private correspondence, letterbooks, account books, notebooks, financial documents, diaries, memoranda, essays, and miscellaneous printed and manuscript materials documenting the many facets of King's lengthy political career and private interests. Correspondence, 1786-1826, concerns his activities as a New York Assemblyman, United States Senator, Minister to Great Britain, and Federalist candidate for the United States vice presidency and presidency, pertaining to such matters as the Constitutional Convention of 1787; his opposition to the War of 1812; United States finances; the Navigation Act of 1818; negotiations between the United States and Great Britain over articles 6 and 7 of the Treaty of Peace of 1794; administration and sale of public lands; South American independence; personal business matters; Barbary affairs; and British-French negotiations in 1803. Additionally included are account books, 1783-1825, recording household accounts and accounts with the firm of Bird, Savage & Bird; memorandum books containing abstracts of correspondence; notebooks relating to historical and political topics containing extracts from books read by King along with his own comments and observations; essays, written in French and English, on political and historical subjects; miscellaneous receipts; volumes of notes recording events, conversations, and observations on King's acquaintances and contemporaries, a diary, 1802, kept while traveling in Europe; an inventory of his library in 1827; and miscellaneous news clippings and printed materials. Correspondents include: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Wm. Henry Cavendish Bentinck, Fisher Ames, Francis Baring, George Cabot, Elbridge Gerry, Christopher Gore, Wm. Grenville, Alexander Hamilton, William Hindman, Charles Jared Ingersoll, John Jay, John Alsop King, Charles King, Nicholas Low, James Madison, Gouverneur Morris, Timothy Pickering, Thomas Pinkney, Philip Schuyler, Granville Sharp, Robert Troup, John Trumbull, Nicholas Vansittart, George Washington, Noah Webster, Wm Wilberforce, Oliver Wolcott, and many others. Historical Note: Federalist statesman, New York State senator, and minister to Great Britain; originally from Massachusetts, later a resident of New York City.
Microfilm copy available
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Ramage family papers, 1766-1856 (bulk 1780-1830)
Family correspondence, receipts, bills, poems, and miscellaneous papers, 1766-1856 (bulk 1780-1830), relating to the miniature painter John Ramage, his wife Catharine Collins Ramage, and their sons, Thomas A. Ramage, George Collins Ramage, and John Ramage, Jr., as well other members of the family. Correspondence includes letters sent and received by family members, including letters by John Ramage to his wife Catharine, letters exchanged between Catharine and her sons Thomas A. and John Ramage, as well as letters exchanged between various additional members of the Ramage and related families. Additional document include a 1784 receipt and 1786 rent notice from James Duane, John Ramage's 1780 commission as 2nd Lieut. in the New York City Militia, Ramage's membership certificates for the New York Marine Society and Grand Lodge of Masons, John Ramage's will, dated Jan. 5, 1802; marriage license of John Ramage and Catharine Collins, Jan. 29, 1787; an undated 23 page typescript of a biography of John Ramage by J. H. Morgan; and a group of five documents, 1792-1815, concerning the purchase and sale of a slave named Dinah by John and Catharine Ramage, her marriage to a fellow slave named Bob (later Robert Blanchard), the conditional sale of Bob to Ephraim Sayre of New Jersey for eighteen years of service, and Robert Blanchard's purchase of his wife and three children from Catharine Ramage in 1815. Historical Note: Family of miniature painter John Ramage and his third wife Catharine Collins Ramage, with members in New York City and Orange, New Jersey.
Rhode Island (Ship)
Account book, 1748 Dec.-1749 Jul.
ðMicrofilm copy available

Riley's Narrative, [1817].
Sea captain, born in Middletown, Connecticut, and became a sailor at the age of fifteen. Following the wreck of his brig Commerce in 1815 and his subsequent captivity in in North Africa, he resettled in Van Wert County, Ohio, in 1821, but resumed a seafaring life in 1831. Died at sea in 1840. Original manuscript, with corrections, of the published narrative of James Riley recounting the loss of his brig, Commerce, in a shipwreck on the West Coast of Africa, August, 1815, and his eighteen months spent in captivity there. First printed in New York in 1817, and in several subsequent editions. Inscription on the volume's title page reads: "Manuscript of Capt. James Riley's Narrative, published in New York in February 1917 - presented to John Pintard Esquire with a request that it may be deposited with the New York Historical Society, by his obliged & very Humble Servant [signed] James Riley New York 20th Febry 1817."

Saint-Domingue Box, 1741-1797
Documents, 1741-1797 (bulk 1770-1780), chiefly pertaining to colonial property belonging to landowner Le Seigneur de Rouvray of Petit St. Louis, Port de Paix, St. Domingue (later, Haiti). Collection is principally comprised of land titles or land papers pertaining to the use, ownership, or surveying of property in colonial Haiti. Also included is an estate inventory listing slaves, livestock, etc. belonging to the estate of the Colonel de Rouvray in Petit Saint Louis, Port de Paix; two cadastral maps of properties in Port de Paix; and an official statement registered with the French Consulat of New York by New York merchant Pierre Duchesne testifying to his capture and imprisonment by pirates during a voyage to Haiti and the resulting loss of his ship and cargo; dated year six of the Republican calendar [1797]. In French. Historical Note: Colonial landowner and military officer of Petit St. Louis, Port de Paix, St. Domingue (i.e. Haiti).

Saint-Domingue Letterbooks, 1774 May-1780 Jun
Letterbooks, 1774 May-1780 Jun., containing copies of official correspondence of the government of the French colony of Saint-Domingue in Haiti. Volumes contain letters sent during the administrations of M. de Valière, gouverneur général, and M. de Vaivre, intendant; M. de Reynaud, commandent en chef par interim; M. Le Comte d'Argout, gouverneur Général; and M. de Reynaud, commandant par interim. The letters treat such diverse matters
as the actions of the conseils superieurs of Port au Prince and Cap Français, disposition of soldiers, appointment of officers, treatment of slaves and smugglers, imposition and collection of taxes, and establishment of fishing and trade agreements with other countries and colonies. Many of the letters are addressed to private citizens and deal with such matters as payment of monies for services rendered, settlement of estate and inheritance claims, collection of monies due the crown, etc. Each volume contains and index of the letters by name and subject matter. In French. Historical Note: Government of the French colony of Saint-Domingue on the island of Haiti.

Samuel Gilford Papers, 1754-1842
Sea captain and shipping merchant Samuel Gilford of New York City, including business correspondence, bills of lading, bills and invoices, receipts, shipping manifests, lists of ship's passengers, records of debts owed, records of seamen's wages, freight lists, marine insurance policies, accounts, promissory notes, bills of exchange, bills of sale for vessels and a slave, etc,; along with assorted personal accounts, commercial correspondence, clippings, and business papers relating to merchant Samuel Gilford, Jr. and various other relations and descendents of the Gilford family. Correspondence includes letters from merchants in the United States, Great Britain, the West Indies, and elsewhere concerning shipment, purchase, and sale of various trade goods, including rum, spirits, and sugar, as well as market and trade conditions. Later materials include business letters and papers of Gilford's son, Samuel Gilford, Jr., along with similar materials pertaining to the younger Gilford's father-in-law, New York merchant and importer Thomas Buchanan, George Buchanan, and the merchant firm of Thomas Buchanan & Sons. Also included are clippings, cards, programs, postcards, and a few photographs, ca. 1890-1951, evidently pertaining to the Riker family of New York City.
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Schenck family papers, 1720-1837
Correspondence, deeds, wills, accounts, military orders, receipts, estate papers, etc., 1720-1837, of various members of the Schenck family of Flatlands, Kings County, New York. Papers include 40 deeds to property in Flatlands; letters and papers pertaining to the activities of Capt. Nicholas Schenck (1732-1810), a loyalist officer, during the Revolutionary War; Nicholas Schenck's account of a boat trip to Albany and back, in company with John Remsen, in October, 1783; and letters, will, and papers relating to Stephen Janse Schenck (1685-1767) and to the settlement of his estate. Individual items include lists of British Army officers and soldiers in Flatlands during the Revolutionary War, returns of military equipment, provisions, and supplies provided to the British troops in Flatlands; correspondence and military orders addressed to Capt. Nicholas Schenck by Col. William Axtell, Maj. Jeremiah Vanderbilt, and George D. Ludlow; slave indentures, 1811 and 1819, recording the conditional sale of slaves into indentured servitude; probate copy of the will of Nicholas Schenck, 1808; local records relating to roads and military notices in Flatlands; documents pertaining to the estate of David Cooper a "free indian" of New Utrecht, Kings County, New York; and other assorted land, legal, and Schenck family papers. Historical Note: Of Flatlands, Kings County, New York.

Slavery Collection, 1709-1864
Diverse collection of materials, 1709-1864, containing correspondence and legal and financial documents related to the North American slave trade, slave ownership, abolition, and political issues pertinent to slavery.
Series I, 1751-1799, and II, 1805-1807, contain correspondence and business papers for Rhode Island merchants Samuel and William Vernon and the Rhode Island firm of Gardner and Dean (formerly Phillips and Gardner) documenting thier involvement in the slave trade and the shipping and sale of slaves in the West Indies and southern United States. Vessels employed by the two firms include the Othello, Ascension, and the Sloop Louisa. Series III consists of various legal and financial documents, 1785-1864, related to slavery in Kentucky, including estate inventories, receipts, and deeds of gift and manumission. Series IV contains papers, 1859-1862, of E.H. Stokes of Richmond, Virginia; including correspondence and receipts pertaining to the sale of slaves in Virginia and Alabama. Series V contains correspondence, 1766-1861, concerning the abolition movement in the United States and individual slaves. Individual correspondents include eminent abolitionists Theodore Weld, Gerrit Smith, and Angelina Grimke. Of additional note is the inclusion of letters to the Governor of Maryland requesting clemency for a slave condemned for theft, and an 1826 letter from a black man, Richard Moran, to his uncle apologizing for his marriage to a white woman. Series VI consists of manifests, 1835-1855, listing persons taken aboard various vessels to be sold as slaves. Series VII is composed of legal documents related to slavery in the United States, 1709-1858, including birth certificates, depositions, petitions, indentures, deeds of manumission, and estate inventories. Series VIII contains financial documents, 1736-1862, pertaining to the sale and ownership of slaves such as accounts, receipts, and returns of taxable property. Series IX contains two poems, 1823 and undated, on the subject of slavery. Series X consists of notes and memoranda, 1790-1855, evidently recorded for newspaper advertisements and articles. Series XI contains newspapers clippings, including advertisements for rewards for return of runaway slaves,
most not attributable to particular newspapers.
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Southern Famine Relief Commission Records, 1867
The Commission's correspondence and papers, January 1867 - September 1867, contain appeals for help for the South and descriptions of conditions there from clergy, government officials, and other prominent Southerners; personal appeals for help; letters to and from benefactors and other societies with related aims in various states, including the New York Ladies' Southern Relief Association; letters to and from government bodies, such as the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands; arrangements to ship supplies to the South on the Navy ships Memphis and Purveyor, as well as on commercial vessels; and requests to the Commission to provide information about the famine and speakers to publicize it. Most of the boxed material is correspondence, but it also includes some acounts, bills of lading, and miscellaneous printed ephemera and clippings, as well as treasurer's reports and minutes of the executive committee. The bound volumes consist of two letter books, one of letters sent by the corresponding secretary, Edward Bright, the other of letters sent by the general agent, John Bowne; one volume containing one-line summaries of letters received January 29, 1867 - March 4, 1867; one volume of newspaper clippings; one volume of telegrams received; one volume of the minutes of the executive and standing committees; and six volumes of records of finance and supplies, including a daily cash book, volumes listing supplies donated and purchased, one volume of receipts, memoranda, etc, and two small subscription volumes listing donors who contributed $250 or more. Other officers of the Commission included Frederick Law Olmsted and Archibald Russell.
Historical Note: New York City organization formed for the relief of the 1867 famine in the Southern states.
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The Story of My Life from Year to Year: My Own Story, the Life and Sufferings of a Wandering Greenlander
Autobiography in which Weeks writes about his youth in Greenland, New Hampshire, his preoccupation with hunting and fishing, even when aboard ship, and his friendship with Stephen Decatur in 1830. Weeks gives accounts of his voyage aboard the merchant vessel "Susan & Mary" (W.F. Parrot, Captain) to Liverpool in 1833, and a voyage to Savannah, Georgia. He includes an account of his acquaintance with a slave couple in Savannah and his effort to help them escape aboard the ship on which he was employed. He records voyages to Calcutta, Rio de Janeiro, Montevideo, Apalachicola, St. Ubes (St. Ybes), Portugal, and a voyage to Belfast aboard the "Huron" in 1846. He also gives an account of the wreck of his ship "Marion" on a Florida reef. Loose material in the volume consists of a newspaper clipping giving the history of the Ship "Granite State", on which Weeks served as captain, and two photographs of sailing ships, one of the vessels being identified as the "Governor Goodwin".
ðMicrofilm copy available

Sumner, Charles.  [The anti-slavery enterprise]: draft, ca. 1855
Senator for Massachusetts and campaigner against slavery.Draft, ca. 1855, of a version of the speech delivered in New York on May 9, 1855, and published that year under the title "The anti-slavery enterprise." Internal evidence indicates that it was to be delivered to a Boston audience, probably on May 15, 1855. It is accompanied by a printed petition, "Memorial of the citizens of Virginia to the General Assembly, asking for certain reforms in the law concerning slaves and persons of color," and a holograph letter to Sumner from J.J. Flournoy, dated January 24, 1855.

Van Hoesen, Haviland, and Van Valkenburgh family papers, 1759-1889
Deeds, leases, releases, bonds, receipts, wills, mortgages, indentures, printed invitations, letters, etc., 1759-1889, pertaining to various members of the Van Hoesen, Haviland, and Van Valkenburgh families of Greene, Cortland, and Albany Counties in New York State. Individual documents include a 1770 bill of sale for a slave woman sold to Catharine Van Valkenburgh of Albany County; 1807 indenture for a destitute African American child named Susan contracted to serve James Van Valkenburgh of Catskill, New York; poems by Miss Sarah Jane Haviland (later, Mrs Richard Van Hoesen), along with an 1839 letter addressed to her and written in reverse script;1794 will of Lambert Van Valkenburgh of Catskill, New York; copy of the 1893 will of John L. Haviland; and a copy of the 1896 will of Sarah Jane Van Hoesen of Preble, New York. Historical Note: Related families of of Greene, Cortland, and Albany Counties, New York.

Walker Family Papers, 1775-1876
Correspondence, accounts, and legal papers, 1775-1876, of various members of the Walker and Rockwell families, especially William Walker (1751-1831), William Perrin Walker (1778-1858), Julius Rockwell (1805-1888), Reuben Rockwell, and Lucy Walker Rockwell, including: papers relating to William Walker's Revolutionary service, especially his records, 1779-82, as a recruiting officer for Berkshire County; a 1775 orderly book; records of the Lenox Committee of Safety, 1778; papers, mostly receipts 1777-78, relating to Major Isaac Goes' service as a commissary dealing in wheat and flour at Kinderhook, New York, many having to do with his dealings with Theodore Sedgwick (1746-1813); material relating to Shays' Rebellion; a Lenox tax roll, 1794; correspondence of William Perrin Walker, 1801-51, concerning such subjects as the War of 1812, relations with France, slavery, and Mass. politics; correspondence, 1818-83, of Julius Rockwell concerning such matters as national and Mass. politics, slavery, the Mexican War, and family matters; and correspondence and papers, 1819-24, relating to William Cullen Bryant's law practice in Great Barrington, Mass. --Frequent correspondents include many prominent Mass. men - Barnabas Bidwell, George Briggs, Rufus Choate, Caleb Cushing, Edward Everett, Josiah Quincy, Leverett Saltonstall, and Charles Sumner. Historical Note: Active in Lenox, Berkshire County, Massachusetts.

William Lux Letterbook, 1763-1769
Merchant of Baltimore, MD
Letterbook of merchant William Lux of Baltimore Maryland, containing copies of his letters sent to fellow merchants and business associates in England and America.
Lux's letters concern business dealings, including the sale of individual slaves; ships and shipping ventures in the West Indies; collection of debts; family news; the fortunes and conduct of other merchants; insurance payments; bad relations between England and America; and the delivery and sale of trade goods such as tobacco, flour, spirits, salt, sugar, molasses, etc. Principle correspondents include: Lux's brother Darby Lux, James Russell, Thomas Dicas, Reese Meredith, Aitcheson & Parker, Robert Tucker, Paul Loyall, Roert Sanders, Archibald Ritchie, Silvanus Grove, Samuel Bowne, William Mollesan, and many others.
ðMicrofilm copy available

II. Books & Pamphlets

Following are just a few examples of the books and pamphlets in the library’s collection representing both pro-slavery and anti-slavery positions, listed in chronological order. Search the library’s online catalog to identify additional sources.

Gorton, John.  The Negro Suicide: A Poem / by John Gorton. [1st. ed] London : Printed and sold (for the Author) by W. Kemmish, No. 17, King-street, Borough ... , M DCC XCVII [1797].
Call No.: Y1797 .Gorton 

Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery—Committee for Improving the Condition of the Free Blacks.  Address of the Committee for Improving the Condition of the Free Blacks to the Members of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, and to the Public in General. Philadelphia : Printed by J. Ormrod, No. 41, Chesnut-street, 1800.
Call No.: Y1800 .Pen 

Pinckney, Charles Cotesworth.  An Address Delivered in Charleston: Before the Agricultural Society of South-Carolina, At Its Anniversary Meeting, on Tuesday, the 18th August, 1829.Charleston : Published by order of the Society, printed by A. E. Miller, no. 4, Broad Street, 1829. 
Call No.: Pamphlets E446 .P53 1829 

Bolling, Philip A.  The Speeches of Philip A. Bolling, (of Buckingham,) in the House of Delegates of Virginia, on the Policy of the State in Relations to Her Colored Population: Delivered on the 1th and 25th of January, 1832.  Richmond, Printed by T. W. White, 1832.
Call No.: E441 Box .B6926 S5 1832 

Garrison, William Lloyd. Address Delivered in Boston, New-York and Philadelphia: Before the Free People of Color, in April, 1833. New-York : Printed for the free people of color, 1833.
Call No.:  E449 .G24 1833

Jay, William, 1789-1858.  An Inquiry into the Character and Tendency of the American Colonization, and American Anti-Slavery Societies / by William Jay. 2d ed. New York : Leavitt, Lord & co.; Boston : Crocker & Brewster, 1835.
Call No.: E448 .J42 1835

Child, Lydia Maria Francis. The Evils of Slavery, and the Cure of Slavery: The First Proved by the Opinions of Southerners Themselves, the Last Shown by Historical Evidence. Newburyport: published by Charles Whipple, 1836.
Call No.: E441 Box .C5365 E7 1839 

Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women. An Address to Free Colored Americans / Issued by an Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women, Held in the City of New-York, by Adjournments from 9th to 12th May, 1837.  New York: printed by William S. Dorr, 1837.
Call No.: E441 Box .A6295 A17 

The American Anti-Slavery Almanac, for 1839: Being the Third After Leap-Year, and the 63d of American Independence. Calculated for New York ; Adapted to the Northern and Middle States. New York : Published for the American Anti-Slavery Society. S.W. Benedict, 143, Nassau St., [1838]
Call No.: Y1838.American 

Abolitionism Exposed Corrected. By a Physician, Formerly Resident of the South. With a Plan for Abolishing the American Anti-Slavery Society and Its Auxiliaries. By a Tennesseean. Philadelphia, J. Sharp, 1838.
Call No.: E441 Box .A1546 

Carey, John L. Some Thoughts Concerning Domestic Slavery: In a Letter to…Baltimore: Joseph N. Lewis, 258 Market St.:John D. Toy, printer, 1838.
Call No.: E449 .C27 

Ballou, Adin. Non-Resistance in Relation to Human Governments. Boston : Non-Resistance society, 1839. Notes: "This tract contains the remarks of Adin Ballou at the first annual meeting of the Non-resistance society, held in Boston, Sept. 25, 1839."
Call No.: E449 .B19 1839 

Colton, Calvin.  Colonization and Abolition Contrasted.  [Philadelphia]: Published by Herman Hooker, corner of Fifth and Chesnut streets, Philadelphia, 1839.
Call No.: E441 Box .C7255 C5 

American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.  On Receiving Donations from Holders of Slaves.
Boston: Printed by Perkins and Marvin, [1840?]
Call No.: E441 Box .A5124 O3 

Smith, Gerrit. To the Proslavery Ministers of the County of Madison: So You Are Really Afraid That Our County Will Declare Herself for the Slave, at the Approaching Election! God be Praised, That You Have Reason to Be! ....
[Peterboro, N.Y.?: s.n., 1843].
Call No.:  SY1843 no.13 

Smith, James McCune. The Destiny of the People of Color: A Lecture, Delivered Before the Philomathean Society and Hamilton Lyceum, in January, 1841. New York: Published by request, 1843. 
Call No.: E441 Box.S6532 D3 1843 

Garnet, Henry Highland. The Past and the Present Condition, and the Destiny, of the Colored Race: A Discourse Delivered at the Fifteenth Anniversary of the Female Benevolent Society of Troy, N.Y., Feb. 14, 1848. Troy, N.Y.: Steam Press of J.C. Kneeland and Co., 1848..
Call No.: E29 .N3 Box 2 

Brookes, Iveson L.  A Defence of the South Against the Reproaches and Incroachments [sic] of the North: In Which Slavery Is Shown to be An Institution of God Intended to Form the Basis of the Best Social State and the Only Safeguard to the Permanence of a Republican Government. Publisher Hamburg, S.C.: Printed at the Republican Office, 1850.
Call No.: E441 Box .B8727 D3

Bryan, Edward B. The Rightful Remedy Addressed to the Slaveholders of the South. Pub. for the Southern Rights Association..Charleston, Press of Walker & James, 1850.
Call No.: E441 Box .B9152 R6 

Garnett, Muscoe Russell Hunter.  The Union, Past and Future: How It Works, And How to Save It / by a citizen of Virginia. Charleston [S.C.]: Steam-power press of Walker & James, No. 101 East-Bay, 1850.
Call No.: E423 .G23 1850 

Beecher, Henry Ward. Great Speech, Delivered in New York City, by Henry Ward Beecher, On the Conflict of Northern and Southern Theories of Man and Society, January 14, 1855. Rochester : Steam press of A. Strong & Co., cor. of State and Buffalo streets, 1855.
Call No.: Y1855.Beech 

Douglass, Frederick. Two Speeches, by Frederick Douglass: One on West India Emancipation, Delivered at Canandaigua, Aug. 4th, and the other on the Dred Scott Decision, Delivered in New York, on the Occasion of the Anniversary of the American Abolition Society, May, 1857…Rochester, N.Y.: C.P. Dewey, printer, [1857].
Call No.: E441 Box .D7377 T8 

Phillips, Wendell. The Lesson of the Hour: Lecture of Wendell Phillips, Delivered at Brooklyn, N.Y., Tuesday evening, November 1, 1859. [S.l. : s.n., 1859?].
Call No.: E449 .P55 1859 

Clarke, James Freeman.  Secession, Concession, Or Self-Possession: Which? Boston:  Walker, Wise, and Company, 245, Washington Street, 1861.
Call No.: E440.5 .C59 1861 

Channing, William Ellery. Tribute of William Ellery Channing to the American Abolitionists, for their Vindication of Freedom of Speech. New York, American Anti-slavery Society, 1861
Call No.: E441 Box .C4585 T6

Tappan, Lewis. The War: Its Cause and Remedy.  [New York : s.n., 1861].
Call No.: E453 .T35 1861 

Van Evrie, John H. Negroes and Negro "Slavery:" the First An Inferior Race: the Latter Its Normal Condition.
New York, Van Evrie, Horton & co., 1861.
Call No.: E449 .V25

III. Written by Slaves and Freed Slaves

Following are just a few of the materials written by slaves and freed slaves in the library’s collection. Search the online catalog to identify additional sources.

Hammon, Jupiter. An Evening’s Improvement: Shewing, the Necessity of Beholding the Lamb of God.: To Which Is Added…Written by Jupiter Hammon, a Negro Man Belonging to Mr. John Lloyd, of Queen’s Village, on Long-Island, now in Hartford. Hartford: Printed for the author, by the assistance of his friends, [1790].
Call No.: SY1760 no.2

Equiano, Olaudah. The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African / written by himself. First American edition. New-York : Printed and sold by W. Durell, at his book-store and printing-office, No. 19, Q. Street, M,DCC,XCI. [1791].
Call No.: Y1791 .Equiano 

Wheatley, Phillis. Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral. / By Phillis Wheatley, Negro Servant to Mr. John Wheatley, of Boston, in New England. London: Printed for A. Bell, bookseller, Aldgate; and sold by Messrs. Cox and Berry, King-street, Boston., MDCCLXXIII. [1773]
Call No.: Y1773.Wheat Poems 

Williams, James. Narrative of James Williams, an American Slave, Who Was for Several Years A Driver on a Cotton Plantation in Alabama. New York:  Published by the American Anti-Slavery Society, no. 143 Nassau Street.; Boston: : Isaac Knapp, 25 Cornhill., 1838.
Call No.: E444 .W73 1838 

Brown, William Wells. Narrative of William W. Brown, a fugitive slave /written by himself… Boston : The Anti-slavery office, 1847.
Call No.: E444 .B88 184
Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave/written by himself. Boston: Anti-Slavery Office, 1849.
Call No.: E441 Box .D7377 N3 1849

Henson, Josiah. The life of Josiah Henson,formerly a slave, now an inhabitant of Canada,as narrated by himself. Boston, A.D. Phelps, 1849.
Call No.: E441 Box .H5265 A3 

Watson, Henry. Narrative of Henry Watson, A Fugitive Slave. Boston: Published by Bela Marsh ..., 1848.
Call No.: E441 Box.W3386 N3 

Green, William, former slave. Narrative of Events in the Life of William Green. Written by himself..
Springfield [Mass.] L. M. Guernsey, printer, 1853.
Call No.: E441 Box .G7986 N3 

Northup, Soloman. Twelve years a slave :Narrative of Solomon Northup, a citizen of New-York, kidnapped in Washington City in 1841, and rescued in 1853, from a cotton plantation near the Red River, in Louisiana. Auburn [N.Y.] : Derby and Miller ;   Buffalo : Derby, Orton and Mulligan ;   London : Sampson Low, Son & Company, 1853.
Call No.: E444 .N87

Gilbert, Olive. Narrative of Sojourner Truth, a northern slave, emancipated from bodily servitude by the state of New York, in 1828. Boston:  Printed for the author, 1850.
Call No.: CT.T8745 G5 

Wilson, Harriet.Our Nig, or, Sketches from the Life of a Free Black, in a Two-Story White House, North : Showing that Slavery's Shadows Fall Even There / by "Our Nig." Boston: Printed by Geo. C. Rand & Avery, 1859.
Call No.: Y1859.Wilson Our 

Jacobs, Harriet A.  Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl / Written by Herself.; Edited by L. Maria Child. 
Boston:  Published for the author., 1862, c1860. ([Boston] : Stereotyped at the Boston Stereotype Foundry.) 
Call No.: Y1862.Jacobs 

Keckley, Elizabeth. Behind the Scenes, Or, Thirty Years A Slave, and Four Years in the White House.  New York : G.W. Carleton & Co., publishers, 1868.
Call No.: CT.L7 K35 

IV. Broadsides

Following are just a few examples of the broadsides in the library’s collection representing both pro-slavery and anti-slavery positions, listed in chronological order. Notices of slave sales and rewards for runaway slaves are included in the broadside collection. Search the library’s online catalog ( to identify additional sources.

Boston, April 20th, 1773. : Sir, The efforts made by the legislative [sic] of this province in their last sessions to free themselves from slavery, gave us, who are in that deplorable state, a high degree of satisfacton [sic]. ... We cannot but wish and hope sir, that you will have the same grand object, we mean civil and religious liberty, in view in your next session. ... [Boston, Mass. : s.n., 1773]
Call No.: SY1773 no.22

Colonization Aid Society. Constitution of the Colonization Aid Society. Whereas, we deeply lament the existence of slavery in any part of the American republic, we are unwilling to encroach upon the rights, or do violence to the feelings, of any of our fellow-citizens of the slave-holding states, by an interference with that species of property ...[United States. : s.n., 18--].
Call No.: SY18-- no.106 

New York (State). -- Legislature.  An act to prevent frauds and perjuries at elections, and to prevent slaves from voting. Passed April 9th, 1811.  [Albany, N.Y. : s.n., 1811]
Call No.: SY1811 no.32 

20 dollars reward. : Ran away from the subscriber, living near Big Spring, within ten miles of Hagers-town, on the road leading to Hancock-town, on the 25th inst. a bright mulatto man named Ned ...
[Washington County, Md. : s.n., 1811] Signed: Hugh M'Calley. Dated: Washington County, December 27, 1811.
N-YHS copy: manuscript annotation at foot of text reads: [fist] 3 times in N.Y. 13 masters of vessels ferrymen etc. are hereby cauted from taking him on bord [initialed] H. M. paid $1.25.
Call No.: SY1811 no.38 

Anti-slavery Convention (1833 : Philadelphia, Pa.) .: Declaration of the National Anti-Slavery Convention :held in Philadelphia on the 4th, 5th, & 6th of December 1833.. New York, N. Y.: P.A. Mesier's Lith 28 Wall St., [1833?].
Call No.: SY1833 no.25 Oversize 

Emancipator.---Extra : The Abolition of Slavery: A Plea for the Oppressed. Addressed to Christians of All Sects, and Philanthropists of Every Distinction. [New York, N.Y.: s.n., 1833]
Call No.: SY1833 no.52

Turner, Thomas B. 100 dollars reward. Ran away from me on Friday morning the 20th instant, my negro man Henry… [Charles Town, W. Va.] : Printed at the Free Press Office, Charlestown, Va., [1837].
Call No.: SY1837 no.18 

A Startling fact!! : a coincidence. [United States : s.n., 1844] Notes: "In the year 1819 a bill passed the House of Representatives in Congress, providing that all slaves which should hereafter be born in Arkansas, should become free on arriving at the age of twenty-five. The vote, however, was reconsidered, and the provision finally rejected by the casting vote of the speaker, Henry Clay ..."
Call No.: SY1844 no.76  

Facts for the intelligent voters of Old Essex.  [Massachusetts : s.n., 1849]
Notes "Stephen H. Phillips, the son and principal ally of the Free Soil candidate for governor, stated at a Free Soil meeting in Lynn, on Friday evening last, that he had written to Robert Rantoul, Jr., asking his view on the subject of slavery ..." November 10, 1849. 
Call No.: SY1849 no.24 

Commissioner's sale. : On Tuesday, the 12th day of November, 1850, pursuant to a decree pronounced at the September term of the Lincoln Circuit Court, in the case of Montgomery Lytle, guardian, &c. against Lytle's heirs, &c., I will, as commissioner, sell at public sale to the highest bidder, on the premises, the tract of land on which Robert Lytle, deceased, resided ... Danville, Ky.: Jno. F. Zimmerman & Son, prs.--Tribune Printing Office, Danville, Ky., [1850] Notes "... Said land lies in Lincoln County, 7 miles from Danville, 4 1/2 from Stanford and 6 from Lancaster. The land is first rate, and the improvements comfortable. Also, at the same time and place, I will sell 13 negroes, likely, consisting of men, women and children ..." Signed and dated: Hayden J. McRoberts, com.r. Lincoln County, October 18, 1850
Call No.: SY1850 no.38 

To the Honorable the members of the Senate and Assembly of the State of New-York: :The undersigned were much surprised to learn that a committee from the Honorable, the Senate of this state, had reported favorable to the petition presented by a body calling themselves "The New-York and Liberia Emigration and Agricultural Association," which petition prays for the appropriation of a large amount of money from the state funds, in aid of said association. .... [New York, N.Y. : s.n., 1852].
Call No.: SY1852 no.120 

Sectionalism defeated forever. [New York, N.Y.] : Fitzgerald's Steam Printing Works, New York. [1856]
Notes Satirical anti-Frémont and anti-abolitionist broadside illustrated with fourteen relief cuts.
"... Steamer black Republicanism! for Salt River direct! Col. John C. Fremont, master. Will leave Sugar Alley dock for Salt River direct, on Wednesday, Nov. 5th, 1856, at 3 o'clock, P.M. Also, on the first Wednesday of each month, until the 4th of March next, to accommodate all. List of officers ..."
Call No.: SY1856 no.59 

New York City and County Suffrage Committee of Colored Citizens. The Suffrage Question: In Relation to Colored Voters in the State of New York / [respectfully submitted by the New York City and County Suffrage Committee of Colored Citizens ; James M’Cune Smith, chairman].  [New York, N.Y.? : s.n., 1860?] 
Call No.: SY1860 no.140 

V. Songbooks, Song Sheets and Sheet Music

Following are just a few examples of songbooks, song sheets and sheet music in the library’s collection representing both pro-slavery and anti-slavery positions, listed in chronological order. Search the library’s online catalog ( to identify additional sources.

Bruce, Helen.  Song of the slave bride. / By Helen Bruce. Alternate title Home, home, oh weary soul, haste to thy lover's breast. Publisher [United States? : s.n., 18--]
Call No.: SY-B18-- no.41 

Lincoln, Jairus.  Anti-Slavery Melodies: for the friends of freedom.  Hingam, MA: Elijah B. Gill, 1843.
Call No.: M168 1843. L56

Anti-slavery hymns and songs, for the convention at Abington, July 4, 1848.  Abington, Mass.: s.n., 1848.
Call No.:  SY1848 no.50

Hymns for the Liberator soiree, Friday evening, January 24th, 1851. [Boston, Mass. : s.n., 1851].
Call No.: SY1851 no.43

Foster, Stephen Collins, 1826-1864.: Massa's in de cold ground.  Philadelphia : A.W. Auner's Song and Stationery Store, No. 5 N. Tenth Street, above Market, [1853 or 1854].
Call No.: SY-B1853 No. 39 

Dig, dig, dig, or Hush-a-bye baby. [New York : J. Andrews?, between 1853 and 1859].
Call No.: SY-B1853 No. 54

Wood, Henry. Poor Uncle Tom. :This song was suggested by the incidents to be found in Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe's celebrated work, entitled "Uncle Tom's cabin," and sung nightly, with tremendous applause, by Wood's celebrated Minstrels, at 444 Broadway, N.Y.. [New York, N.Y. : s.n., 1852].
Call No.: SY-B1853 no.325

All hail, ye gallant freemen true! :for the mass meeting at Oyster Bay, September 20, 1856..  [Oyster Bay, N.Y.? : s.n., 1856].
Call No.: SY-B1856 no.3

Fremont & Dayton.  United States: s.n., 1856
Call No.: SY1856 no.134

Hymns and songs for the celebration of British West India emancipation, at Abington, August 1,
1856. Boston, Mass.: Prentiss & Sawyer, printers, 19 Water Street, Boston., 1856.
Call No.: SY1856 no.70.

Emancipation ode. [United States : s.n., 1863?].
Call No.; SY-B1863 no.27 

V. Newspapers & Periodicals

Following is a comprehensive list of newspapers and periodicals relating to slavery in the library’s collection.



New York
Colored American
1 vol.

New York
8 vol.

New York
New York Evangelist  

New York
Freedom's Journal
1 box

New York

New York
National Anti-Slavery Standard

New York
New York Weekly Caucasian 
2 vols.

New York
New York Day Book (daily)
2 vols.

New York
New York Weekly Day Book
Proslavery/White supremacy
1855-1858; 1863-1875
7 folders

New York
National Advocate
General Interest/Proslavery

New York
New York National Advocate
General Interest/Proslavery
1824-1825; scattered issue only


Utica, NY
Friend of Man
1836-1837; scattered issues only


African Methodist Episcopal Church Magazine. [Brooklyn, N.Y.: s.n., ].
Call No.: BX8440 .A5 
N-YHS library holds Volume 1, Nos. 7-12 (July 1843-May 1844).

Douglass’ Monthly.  Rochester, N.Y.: [s.n.].
Call No.: E449 .D75 Oversize
N-YHS library holds Volume 3, Nos. 8 & 11 (January & April 1861) and Volume 4, Nos. 1, 3 & 6 (June, August & November 1861).

The Mirror of Liberty.  New-York: David Ruggles, 1838.
Call No.: Y Period.M Oversize 
N-YHS holds Volume 1, No. 1 (July 1838).

The Students’ Repository: A Quarterly Periodical, Devoted to Education, Morality, and General Improvement.  Indiana : S.H. Smothers.
Call No.: L11 .S933
N-YHS library holds: Volume 1, No. 1-Volume 2, No. 2 (July 1863-October 1864).

The American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Reporter. New York: American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society
Call No.: E449 .A491 Oversize
N-YHS library holds: Vol. 2, no. 1 (Sept 1844)

The Anti-slavery examiner. New York: The American Anti-Slavery Society.
Call No.: E449 .A623
N-YHS library holds: Vols. 1-14 (Aug. 1836 to 1840)

The Anti-Slavery Record. New York: American Anti-Slavery Society, 1835-38.
Call No.: E449 .A623
N-YHS library holds: Vols. 1 – 3 (Jan 1835 - Dec 1837)

The Antisavery Reporter and Aborigines' Friend. London, L. Wild [etc.]
Call No.:  HT851 .A7 Oversize
N-YHS library holds: Vols. 1-6; New ser. 1-7  (1840-1852) 

VII. Maps

The library holds a small number of maps relating to slavery. Search the library’s map database ( to identify printed maps; to find manuscript maps, the majority of which are contained within the manuscript collections listed above, use the library’s online catalog (www.bobcat.nyu/nyhistory). Following are examples of the types of maps available at the library.

Reynolds, William C. Reynolds's Political Map of the United States, Designed to Exhibit the Comparative Area of the Free and Slave States, and the Territory Open to Slavery or Freedom by the Repeal of the Missouri Compromise [of 1820], 1856.

Bloss, William C. Map of the United States and Territories, Showing the Possessions and Aggressions of the Slave Power, 1856. Note: Text includes anti-slavery appeals by Charles Sumner and Henry Ward Beecher, and quotations from Jefferson, Madison et al.

VIII. Photographs & Prints

Daguerreotype of Caesar, a slave.
Call No.: Cased Photograph File, PR-012-2-323

Carte de visite photograph file

Call No.: PR-011
Includes carte de visite of Sojourner Truth

Civil War stereographs
1861-1865, some published later
868 stereographs
Call No.: Stereograph File, 771-815 
Learn more >
Collection includes images of “contrabands,” escaped slaves who fought for the Union.
Note: many of these stereographs may be viewed at the Library of Congress’ American Memory website.

Photographs of the War of the Rebellion [graphic]
Photographs 1861-1865, some printed later.
31 vol. (photographic prints)
Call No.: PR-088 
Collection includes images of slaves and Southern plantations.

Stereograph file
ca. 1855-1964.
Call No.: PR-065
Learn more > 
African Americans, including slaves, are depicted in a range of settings.

Subject file [graphic]
[ca. 1600-ongoing].
ca. 30,000 items (prints and photographs).
Call no.:  PR-068 
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The many images of slavery include an albumen print showing the interior of a slave pen in Alexandria, Virginia, and a French engraving of a slave sale in America. A number of prints cut from newspapers in 1858-9 detail the story of 200 captured slaves who were taken to Liberia on the steam-frigate Niagara. Also included here are group photographs of African American Civil War soldiers and a set of albumen photographs from 1863-1864 of paintings by T. Waterman Wood of African American soldiers titled "The Contraband," "The Recruit," and "The Veteran."

IX. Digital Collection

Manuscript Collections Relating to Slavery
The 14 collections on this website are among the most important of the manuscript collections relating to slavery, held by the New-York Historical Society Library. 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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Examination Days: The New York African Free School Collection
In 1787 the New York Manumission Society created the African Free School with the primary goal of educating black children. It began as a single-room schoolhouse with about forty students, the majority of whom were the children of slaves, and taught them a variety of practical subjects. By the time it was absorbed into the New York City public school system in 1835, it had educated thousands of children, including many who went on to become notable leaders. With the support of the Russell Sage Foundation, the N-YHS has launched a comprehensive Web site, showcasing actual examples of students’ work from 1816 through 1826, offering an unparalleled glimpse into the little-known history of African-American life in New York City in the late 18th  and early 19th centuries as well as pedagogical techniques used at that time.
Learn more >