Beinecke Library

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The collection documents black life and American racial attitudes from the 1850’s to the 1940’s, and includes about 2500 items, chiefly historical photographs, accompanied by slave manifests, military medals, and civic trophies. The collection includes albumen photographs of Marcus Garvey, W.E.B. DuBois, and Paul Lawrence Dunbar. Photographic formats include daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, and cabinet card photographs.

Printed forms, completed in manuscript, containing the triennial registration information for the slaves of Edward Owen of Jamaica as required by the Jamaica Registration Act of 1816 and the British Slave Registration Act of 1819. The 1817 form contains information for each slave including name, age, color, and origin (African or Creole) and often lists the mothers of Jamaica-born slaves. The returns for 1820 and after provide information on slaves acquired since the previous return, and also indicate whether they were obtained by birth, purchase, or inheritance.

Robert Bostock was a Liverpool trader who continued to be involved in the slave trade after its abolition by Parliament in 1807. His factory on Bunce Island was raided by H.M.S. Thais in 1813 and 233 slaves were seized. Also captured were Bostock, his partner Charles Mason, and the captain of an American slave-ship, the “Kitty,” which was to have smuggled the contraband slaves to Charleston, South Carolina.

Holograph journal of a voyage to Martinique of the three-masted ship Le Diligent. Probably not an official log, the journal was written by First Lieutenant Robert Durand and describes in detail a voyage from Vannes, France, to the coast of Guinea, each slave trade port encountered on the coast, purchase of 256 slaves at Jacquin, voyage to Martinique, selling of the slaves at St. Pierre, and return to Vannes. Also described are conditions of trade in the African and Caribbean ports, dealings between slave traders and kings and chiefs, prices of provisions, competition among slave traders, effects of climate and disease, and expenses and revenues of the voyage.

Draft, holograph, corrected, of a novel about a young woman from New York who learns of her African-American ancestry while travelling through Florida, Tennesee, and other parts of the southern United States in the mid to late nineteenth century. The novel, by an unidentified author, addresses issues of race, slavery, and women’s rights during the Reconstruction.

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