Eighteenth Century

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The papers document the activities of the Pennsylvania Abolitionist Society, 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, dating from 1774 through 1868. More information is available online.

The papers of William Wilberforce (1759-1833) and Robert Isaac Wilberforce (1802-1857). Series one reproduces the Wilberforce papers from the Bodleian Library, Oxford (50 reels). Series two reproduces the papers of William Wilberforce and related slavery and anti-slavery materials from Wilberforce House, Hull (16 reels). Detailed research guides are available.

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A Mezzotint, printed in color, by John Raphael Smith. Issued in 1791, this image was engraved “to his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.”

Painted by the London-based Italian artist Agostino Brunias, circa 1780. The Yale Center for British Art holds numerous oil paintings and engravings by Brunias, all of which document life in the colonial West Indies, especially on the Island of Dominica in the Lesser Antilles.

The papers consist of diaries, weather journals, commonplace books, reading notes and other material documenting the life, work, and intellectual interests of the Jamaican planter and slaveowner Thomas Thistlewood. Thistlewood’s 37 diaries, in Series I, contain daily entries dating between 1750 and 1786. Topics include Thistlewood’s work as an overseer, and later owner, of slaves, including his methods of assigning work, alloting provisions, and discipline; his personal and sexual relationships with several, including his lengthy relationship with Phibbah; and slave rebellions and rumors of rebellions, including Tacky’s Revolt (1760).

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