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Slavery in the United States collection, 1703-1905.

Edition/Format:   Book : Manuscript   Archival Material : English
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
This collection, which spans the years 1703 to 1905, contains a variety of correspondence, business records, and documents relating to slavery in the United States. These materials include both sides of the history of slavery, from slave trading to abolition.
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Genre/Form: Account books
Diaries
Correspondence
Named Person: John Allen; Henry I Bowditch; Albert Brisbane; Arnold Buffum; Charles C Burleigh; Elizabeth Buffum Chace; W H Channing; Sarah Earle Chase; John C Cluer; H G O Colby; John A Collins; Theron Johnson Damon; Nicholas Davies; William Lloyd Garrison; J S Gibbons; Ralph Randolph Gurley; Erasmus Darwin Hudson; Asa B Hutchinson; William Cost Johnson; George Leonard; Elijah P Lovejoy; Samuel May; Samuel J May; John Orvis; John Pierpont; Rebecca T Pool; Isaiah Coffin Ray; James Shannon; Charles Emory Smith; E H Stokes; Henry A Wise; Elizur Wright
Material Type: Manuscript, Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Archival Material, Internet Resource
OCLC Number: 191259785
Description: 2 boxes. 1 folder ; oversize. 2 v. ; octavo. 1 v. ; folio.

Abstract:

This collection, which spans the years 1703 to 1905, contains a variety of correspondence, business records, and documents relating to slavery in the United States. These materials include both sides of the history of slavery, from slave trading to abolition.

There is correspondence of three Richmond, Va., slave trader/auctioneer firms: R.H. Dickinson & Brother, which later became Dickinson, Hill & Co.; E.H. Stokes; and Betts & Gregory. The majority of the correspondence deals with the business of the buying and selling of slaves. Some letters from slave owners set the pricing of their slaves to be sold; while other letters describe the type of slave(s) buyers are looking for (e.g., dark mulatto, boys and girls between a certain age and/or height, a seamstress). There are other letters describing the atmosphere of slave auctions (e.g., dull).

Other business records include a daybook of R.H. Dickinson & Brother for the period 1846 to 1849, and an account book for Dickinson, Hill & Co. for the years 1855 to 1858. This volume also includes scattered diary entries of Sarah Earle Chase (1836-1915) for the spring of 1865 in Richmond and for a voyage to Europe in the spring and summer of 1870. There are three folders of sales and tax receipts for slaves, as well as one folder of blank receipts. These materials, along with the above-mentioned correspondence, were probably taken from the Dickinson office in Richmond by Sarah Earle Chase and her sister Lucy Chase (1822-1909) [see the Chase Family Papers collection description].

There are six folders of correspondence of Isaiah Coffin Ray (1804-1882), a boot and shoe merchant in Nantucket and New Bedford, Mass., who shifted his calling to law in the 1850s. He was appointed to the American Anti-Slavery Committee on Finance at the 1844 Convention in New York. These letters, dated 1836 to 1851, mainly concern arrangements for lectures, meetings, etc., while some are of a more personal nature. Several of the correspondents were active in the Fourierist movement and Brook Farm, but the letters appear to be concerned primarily with anti-slavery activities. Principal correspondents are Rebecca T. Pool ( - ), John Orvis (1816-1897), John Anderson Collins (1810-1879), John Allen ( - ), Harrison Gray Otis Colby (1807-1853), Elizabeth Buffum Chace (1806-1899), Asa Burnham Hutchinson (1823-1884), John C. Cluer (1800- ), Albert Brisbane (1809-1890), and William Henry Channing (1810-1884).

The miscellaneous correspondence contains both the business of slave trading and the anti-slavery movement. The letters concerning sales of slaves are mainly from the Southern States. However, there are two letters with a northern connection. The first, dated 20 February 1806, from John Taylor, of Northampton, Mass., to Noah Scovell, of Saybrook, Conn., is in regard to a runaway slave girl. The second, dated 15 March 1831, from Nathaniel Humphreys, of Antigua, to Jno. C. Lee, of Salem, Mass., is in regard to the sale of slaves.

There are two letters written to Elizur Wright (1804-1885) while he was editor of the Anti-Slavery Reporter in New York City. The first, dated 26 October 1837, is from Elijah Parish Lovejoy (1802-1837). He writes that " ... you may depend on me for aid in contributions to the columns of the Magazine ..." Lovejoy, however, was killed by a mob in Alton, Ill., just a few days later on 7 November. The other letter, dated 27 January 1838, is from Rev. John Pierpont (1785-1866) declining to contribute to the magazine.

A letter, dated 6 December 1852, from Charles Calistus Burleigh (1810-1878) to Samuel Joseph May (1797-1871) is in regard to Jefferson Lee, " ... originally from the South." It seems Lee had moved to Pennsylvania, then to Plainfield, Mass., and who " ... now thinks it will be for his advantage to remove to Canada ... He thinks of going to the Elgin settlement ..." This letter serves as an introduction of Lee to May.

Two letters, dated 12 January and 5 April 1856, are from Charles Emory Smith (1842-1908), of Albany, N.Y., to his uncle Isaac Smith ( - ), of Leominster, Mass. In the letters, Smith argues in favor of abolition and the preservation of the Union, while his uncle opposed the latter principle. There is also a letter, dated 13 August 1868, from Edward A. Huston to Isaac Smith detailing Huston's visit with William Lloyd Garrison (1805-1879) and his family.

Two photostats of letters (originals in the UMass library) concern Erasmus Darwin Hudson (1806-1880). The first is a letter of introduction written for him by James Sloan Gibbons (1810-1892), while the other is "short & sweet" from an unidentified correspondent.

Other correspondents include George Leonard (1801-1881), William Cost Johnson (1806-1860), Ralph Randolph Gurley (1797-1872), Samuel May (1810-1899), Henry Ingersoll Bowditch (1808-1892), Henry Alexander Wise (1806-1876), and James Shannon (1799-1859). Most of these letters are in regard to the deliverance of lectures.

The miscellaneous documents include a list of slaves from Plaquemine, La.; bills of sales and deeds for slaves; manumissions; a list of taxes and fees paid to the state of Alabama and Greene County; and a resolution of the state of Massachusetts in regard to the abolition of slavery. One manumission document, dated 26 March 1794, is of particular interest. Signed by Nicholas Davies (c. 1708-1794), and witnessed by seven others, the document liberates twenty of his slaves and their children. It was recorded, on 23 June 1794, at the Bedford County (Va.) Court House.

Another interesting manumission, dated 7 July 1845, is for "Amanda Holmes, a coloured woman," and a bill of sale, dated 29 January 1850, for "one negro named Williams Holmes" from Col. Adam D. and Mary B. Stewart, to Amanda Holmes, a free woman of color, all of St. Louis, Mo.

Other documents include a typed copy of a slaver's accounts in Africa for the years 1789 to 1792; the constitution of the Cambridge (Mass.) Anti-Slavery Society, dated 4 June 1834; and a school report, by Theron Johnson Damon (1883-1973), entitled "Inside History of Shadrach Fugitive Slave Case," dated 25 May 1905. Damon graduated from Harvard in 1905.

A call for a national (or northern) convention, to be held in October 1857, of those in favor of disunion, went out in July of 1857, from Thomas Wentworth Higginson (1823-1911) and other leading abolitionists. There are twenty-five folders of responses to that call from seventeen states.

The also collection contains two small notebooks attributed to Arnold Buffum (1782-1859). The first is a report from the Philadelphia Anti-Slavery Society and a draft of a petition to the U.S. Congress. The second contains drafts of two lectures or articles dated 26 October 1853 and 4 November 1853 plus two pages of an expense account for 1856.

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