United States

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The collection consists of photoduplicates of original Mary Chesnut manuscripts, from the South Caroliniana Library at the University of South Carolina and from private owners, collected by C. Vann Woodward for the preparation of his book, Mary Chesnut’s Civil War.

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The papers consist of correspondence, minutes, financial records, records of manumission and emigration, reports of colonial agents, pamphlets and books on the colonization movement, copies of the Maryland Colonization Journal and the Liberia Herald, and census records of Maryland in Liberia. The materials shed light on race relations and socioeconomic conditions in antebellum America and are a source of information on the founding of Liberia. The complete collection is available online.

The collection contains material on the capture, trial, and release of the Amistad captives who were illegally sold into slavery. The collection consists of diaries, letters, court and government records, and newspaper accounts of the case; secondary accounts of the case; and background information on Africa, Cuba, the slave-trade, similar cases, slavery in the United States, and abolitionist sentiment in the North.

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Amassed by Frederick Hill Meserve with the help of his daughter Dorothy Meserve Kunhardt, the collection contains more than 73,000 items, including 57,000 photographic prints, as well as thousands of books, pamphlets, maps, and theater broadsides. These materials document American history from the Civil War through the end of the 19th century and record the emergence of photography as a distinctive cultural practice. The collection’s significance also lies in the tens of thousands of portraits of American politicians, army officers (of both the Union and Confederate forces), writers, actors, singers, scientists, African Americans, and Native Americans.

The Mirror of Liberty was the first magazine owned and edited by an African American. This issue from July 1841 contains a report of a meeting in New Bedford, MA, led by David Ruggles and Frederick Douglass.

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