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Slavery and Abolition

Digital collections

American Broadsides and Ephermera, Series I

Slavery Abolition and Social Justice

Brings together original manuscript and rare printed material from dozens of libraries and archives across the Atlantic world. It includes significant coverage of slavery today, US court records from the local, regional and State Supreme Court level, documents on the Islamic slave trade, as well as sources on urban slavery, interracial education, the Day Law in Kentucky, desegregation and social justice.  Also includes material examining European, Islamic and African involvement in the slave trade.

Slavery and Anti-Slavery: A Transnational Archive

Part I: Debates over Slavery and Abolition, Part II: Slave Trade in the Atlantic World, and part III: The Institution of SlaverySlavery and Anti-Slavery includes collections on the transatlantic slave trade, the global movement for the abolition of slavery, and the legal, personal, and economic aspects of the slavery system from the sixteenth through the nineteenth century.

This database contains:

  • 2.6 million cross-searchable pages: 11969 books, 158 serials, 52 manuscript collections and 377 supreme court records and briefs
  • Newly commissioned essays, links to websites, biographies, chronology and bibliographies; reference materials from Macmillan, Charles Scribner's Sons and Gale encyclopedias
  • Collections published through partnerships with the Amistad Research Center, the Bibliothèque nationale de France, the British Library, the National Archives in Kew, Oberlin College, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the University of Miami, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and many other institutions

Abolition and colonization

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

Anti-slavery Materials: Regional Records and Other Pamphlets, 18th-19th Centuries: The Collection at John Rylands University Library, Manchester

Recap Microfilm 06843             Printed guide (FilmB) HT1163.A67          20 reels

Pamphlets collected by H.G. Wilson and now held at John Rylands University. The collection is particularly rich in materials from British provincial philanthropic societies. Also includes materials from America, the West Indies (Jamaica), and India.

Black Abolitionist Papers, 1830-1865 

Recap Microfilm 05367             Printed guide (FilmB) E449.B625 1981          17 reels

Primary sources from African Americans actively involved in the movement to end slavery in the United States between 1830 and 1865.

Correspondence of the Secretary of the Navy relating to African Colonization, 1819-1844

Recap Microfilm 09664             Printed guide: CD3026.A52          2 reels

Consists mainly of copies of letters sent by the Secretary of the Navy to agents of the United States stationed on the northwest coast of Africa for the purpose of receiving blacks freed by the capture of slave ships, and letters and reports received by the Secretary of the Navy from these agents.

Estlin Papers, 1840-1844

Recap Microfilm 1098.331                     Printed guide: none          6 reels

Papers covering the activities of J. B. Estlin and his daughter Mary in supporting the British and American anti-slavery movements.

North American Slave Narratives

Includes all the existing autobiographical narratives of fugitive and former slaves published as broadsides, pamphlets, or books in English up to 1920 

Papers of Frederick Douglass

Recap Microfilm 1083.309                     Printed guide: none          20 reels

Born a slave, Douglass escaped to the north and became a leading abolitionist in the 1840's. See also the printed edition of Frederick Douglass' papers at (F) E449 .D733 and E449.D734.

Available online at


Papers of the Pennsylvania Abolitionist Society

Microfilm 1083.706                     Printed guide: none          5 reels (reel 1 is missing; request through ILS)

These papers document the activities of the first formal abolitionist society in America. Included are minutes from 1787 to 1916 and the society's large collection of manuscripts dealing with abolition, spanning the years of 1775-1868.

Records of the American Colonization Society

Founded in 1817, the American Colonization Society sought to resolve the problem of slavery in America by helping African-Americans to return to Africa. The records of the ACS are held by the Library of Congress.

Available through interlibrary loan from the Center for Research Libraries. See Borrowing Microforms from the Center for Research Libraries for more information.  Printed guide: see Center for Research Libraries Reference Folder. American Colonization Society: A Register of its Records in the Library of Congress, 1792-1962.

Rhodes House Anti-slavery Papers: Material Relating to America from the Anti-slavery Collection in Rhodes House, Oxford, mainly 1839-1868

Recap Microfilm 1083.692                     Printed guide: none          2 reels

A collection of anti-slavery papers acquired in 1951 from the Anti-slavery Society by the Rhodes trustees. This is the largest Anti-slavery collection in Great Britain, containing well over 1,000 volumes of manuscript and typescript material in addition to pamphlets and periodicals.

Slavery & Abolition in the U.S.: Select Publications of the 1800s

Includes first person narratives, legal proceedings and decisions, anti-slavery tracts, religious sermons, and early secondary works.


*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

Microfilm 1099.9227                   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

Microfilm 08518             Printed guide: none          7 reels

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

Recap Microfilm 08519             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. See:

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.