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African American Studies: Freedmen

Primary and selected secondary sources for research in African American Studies at Princeton University.

The Freedmen's Bureau Online

The Freedmen’s Bureau supervised all relief and educational activities relating to refugees and freedmen, including issuing rations, clothing and medicine. The Bureau also assumed custody of confiscated lands or property in the former Confederate States, border states, District of Columbia, and Indian Territory. The bureau records were created or maintained by bureau headquarters, the assistant commissioners and the state superintendents of education and included personnel records and a variety of standard reports concerning bureau programs and conditions in the states

Microfilm collections

Printed guides to accompany microfilm are housed in Microform Services on A-floor in Firestone Library


Freedmen’s Aid Society Records, 1866-1932

ReCap Microfilm 11661                        Printed guide (FilmB) LC2703.F743          120 reels

Consists of the records of the Freedmen's Aid Society, which was established by the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1866 to set up schools for African Americans in the South.

The Negro in the Military Service of the United States, 1639-1886

ReCap Microfilm 1099.9227         E-guide         Printed guide (FilmB) CD3026.A52          5 reels

Consists of records compiled for publication by the Colored Troops Division of the Adjutant General’s Office in 1888. Originals held by National Archives as part of Record Group 94, Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1780's-1917.

Selected Series of Records Issued by the Commissioner of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872

ReCap Microfilm 08518                        E-guide          7 reels

Registers and Letters Received by the Commissioner of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872

ReCap Microfilm 08519              E-guide          Printed guide (FilmB) E185.2.U547 1968          74 reels

The Bureau "supervised all relief and educational activities relating to refugees and freedmen. Assumed custody of abandoned or confiscated lands or property in the former Confederate States, border states, District of Columbia, and Indian Territory." From National Archives, Record Group 105, Records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands.   

State Free Negro Capitation Tax Books, Charleston, South Carolina, ca. 1811-1860

ReCap Microfilm 08353                        Printed guide: none          2 reels

"The twenty-nine books in this publication list names of many free blacks who lived in Charleston between 1811 and 1860. The tax collector of the parishes of St. Philip's and St. Michael's probably created the books to collect the capitation tax between 1756 and 1865. Names, addresses, tax status, and notations like 'dead' and 'overage' appear. The 1822 and 1823 books list occupations." Records from the South Carolina Archives. Guide on film at beginning of both reels.