External Databases

The Library of Congress American Memory site hosts numerous digital collections related to the history of slavery and abolition. Specific collections include The Frederick Douglass Papers, Slaves and the Courts, The Church in the Southern Black Community, First-Person Narratives of the American South, Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project, and From Slavery to Freedom: The African-American Pamphlet Collection.

This student-developed project begins with a database of around 1900 Beacon Hill/West End African-Americans from 1848-1855, using city directories, the 1850 federal census, and Boston city tax records. These names are then linked with almost 500 sources from The Liberator which have been cataloged and digitized.

African Origins contains information about the migration histories of Africans forcibly carried on slave ships into the Atlantic. Using the personal details of 91,491 Africans liberated by International Courts of Mixed Commission and British Vice Admiralty Courts, this resource makes possible new geographic, ethnic, and linguistic data on peoples captured in Africa and pulled into the slave trade.

A databse of information about African slave names, genders, ages, occupations, illnesses, family relationships, ethnicity, places of origin, prices paid by slave owners, and slaves’ testimony and emancipations. This material was compiled and organized by Dr. Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, based on her research in Louisiana, France, Spain, and Texas.

Aimed at historians and aspiring historians of slave emancipation and its aftermath, the site is a collaborative work-in-progress involving a team of four scholars based in the United States, Ireland and the United Kingdom, whose current research is focused on labor, race and citizenship in the post-emancipation Carolinas.

The Archives Wiki is sponsored by the American Historical Association. It is intended to be a clearinghouse of information about archival resources throughout the world. While it is primarily designed to be useful to historians and others doing historical research, they hope that researchers in many disciplines will find it useful.

The American slavery debate occurred during a time of increasing connections among the continents and islands of the Atlantic Ocean:  an area that includes Europe, the Caribbean, Central and South America and Africa.  As such, it is useful and illuminating for historians to consider the ways in which contemporary individuals, events and trends of the Atlantic region influenced this contentious and long-running dialogue.

This project aims to analyze the evolution of the Black African population in Spain, centered on the peninsula but studying certain aspects of colonial America, examining the etnohistorical documentation preserved in Spanish Archives, iconographical representations and their presence in literature. Includes primary documents and bibliographies.

The Martinique Digital Heritage Bank features a slave ancestry database with genealogical information. The database includes the 1848 register originally intended to establish the marital status of the liberated population and to assign family names to former slaves. There are also many archeological and architectural images from the island.

Gallica, the digital library of the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, is home to tens of thousands of documents and images pertaining to slavery, the slave trade, and abolition. The database hosts an especially strong collection of material related to French Saint-Domingue and the Haitian Revolution of 1791-1804.

The Black Abolitionist Digital Archive is a collection of over 800 speeches by antebellum blacks and approximately 1,000 editorials from the period. These important documents provide a portrait of black involvement in the anti-slavery movement; scans of these documents are provided as images and PDF files. The University of Detroit Mercy Libraries/IDS has enhanced this collection by including readings of some of the works and an immersive site in Second Life.

Black Loyalist is a repository of historical data about the African American loyalist refugees who left New York between April and November 1783 and whose names are recorded in the Book of Negroes. In this first stage, the site concentrates on providing biographical and demographic information for the largest cohort, about 1000 people from Norfolk Virginia and surrounding counties.

This special resources site offers a snapshot of how historians and digital humanists have helped to build a new understanding of Abraham Lincoln with a series of innovative and powerful Web-based tools. Based on a partnership between the Journal of American History and the House Divided Project at Dickinson College.

Over 1,200 images, maps and texts from the 18th and 19th centuries reveal contrasting experiences of life in the former British colonies. Hosted by the British Library.

Search America’s historic newspaper pages from 1836-1922 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. The site includes digital copies of antislavery newspapers, such as the Freeman’s Championand the Anti-Slavery Bugle, and numerous papers covering the slaveholding South.

Civil War Washington examines the U.S. national capital from multiple perspectives as a case study of social, political, cultural and medical/scientific transitions provoked or accelerated by the Civil War. The project draws on the methods of many fields—literary studies, history, geography, computer-aided mapping—to create a digital resource that chronicles the war’s impact on the city.

ColoredConventions.org endeavors to transform teaching and learning about this historic collective organizing effort—and about the many leaders and places involved in it—bringing them to digital life for a new generation of undergraduate and graduate students and researchers across disciplines, for high school teachers, and for community members interested in the history of church, educational and entrepreneurial engagement.

Connecticut History Online (CHO) is a digital collection of over 18,000 primary sources, together with associated interpretive and educational material. The collection includes the Charlotte and Samuel Cowles Correspondence (covering the Amistad rebels and abolitionism in Connecticut), broadsides, manumission papers, bills of sale, and other material pertaining to slavery and antislavery.

The Connecticut State Library Digital Collections include copies of the Charter Oak, Ultimatum, Free Soil Pioneer, and other rare antislavery newspapers. The library also maintains a database of African Americans and Native Americans listed in court cases between 1691 and 1855. Individuals can be the plaintiff, defendant, subject, or an individual mentioned in a lawsuit.

The Dartmouth Slavery Project is situated at the juncture of two significant developments in the scholarship on slavery in the United States. The first encompasses the critical interrogation of a collective memory that not only disavowed the presence of enslaved persons in New England but cloaked its complicity with and profits from the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The second intellectual project is the recovery of the history of colleges’ and universities’ economic, intellectual, and moral entanglements with the institution of slavery.

Explore the DAACS Website to learn more about enslaved Africans and their descendants, living in the Chesapeake, Carolinas, and Caribbean during the Colonial and Ante-Bellum Periods. Analyze and compare artifacts, deposits, and architectural plans from different sites at unprecedented levels of detail. Join researchers from different disciplines to discover the cultural dynamics of slave society in the early Atlantic World.

The Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC) is a cooperative digital library for resources from and about the Caribbean and circum-Caribbean. dLOC provides access to digitized versions of Caribbean cultural, historical and research materials currently held in archives, libraries, and private collections.

The Digital Library on American Slavery offers data on race and slavery extracted from eighteenth and nineteenth-century documents and processed over a period of eighteen years. The Digital Library contains detailed information on about 150,000 individuals, including slaves, free people of color, and whites. These data have been painstakingly extracted from 2,975 legislative petitions and 14,512 county court petitions, and from a wide range of related documents, including wills, inventories, deeds, bills of sale, depositions, court proceedings, amended petitions, among others.

DIY History lets you do it yourself to help make historic artifacts easier to use. Our digital library holds hundreds of thousands of items – much more than library staff could ever catalog alone, so we’re appealing to the public to help out by attaching text in the form of transcriptions, tags, and comments. This site features Civil War diaries and letters drawn from an extensive collection at the University of Iowa.

The Documenting Runaway Slaves (DRS) research project is a collaborative effort to compile and make available newspaper advertisements placed by masters seeking the capture and return of runaway slaves. This project will gather these documents into a single text-based repository, from the U.S. South to the Caribbean and eventually to Brazil and beyond, and will organize them into standardized, full-text searchable online resources for academic researchers, genealogists and anyone who wants to learn more about the Atlantic world in the era of slavery.

The ESSSS project, directed by Jane Landers and administered at Vanderbilt University, preserves and digitalizes endangered ecclesiastical and secular documents related to slavery in the Americas. While most of the documents contained here belong to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, there are also some Cuban documents from the sixteenth century and Brazilian documents from the seventeenth.

Hosted by the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library at Texas Tech University. The collection includes correspondence, sermons, lectures, newspapers, news clippings, and family memorabilia created by, or related to, Lovejoy and his family. The collection bulks with correspondence (1824-1853) and concerns abolition, temperance, religion, and theology.

Free people of color–people of African descent who lived in colonial and antebellum America and were born free or escaped the bonds of slavery before it was abolished in 1865–made significant contributions to the economies and cultures of the communities in which they lived but held an anomalous status in the racial hierarchy of the day.  Inhabiting this place in between made their ambiguous and incongruent status one of the most talked about “problems” of the first half of the nineteenth century, yet their story has been largely overshadowed by the harsh story of slavery.

Placed in the context of the Civil War and Reconstruction with the aid of original essays, the documents uncovered by the project’s editors are presented in Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation, 1861–1867. A total of nine volumes of Freedom is projected. Sample documents from each published volume and a chronology of emancipation are available online.

Transcriptions of the records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands. The Bureau supervised all relief and educational activities relating to refugees and freedmen, including issuing rations, clothing and medicine. The Bureau also assumed custody of confiscated lands or property in the former Confederate States, border states, District of Columbia, and Indian Territory. Documents are arranged by state and include criminal, labor, and marriage records.

This project is designing and beginning data collection for a database that will compile all North American slave runaway ads and make them available for statistical, geographical, textual, and other forms of analysis. Some elements of data collection will be crowdsourced, engendering a public sense of co-participation in the process of recording history, and producing a living pedagogical tool for instructors at all levels, in multiple disciplines.

These case files consist of 301 legal petitions for freedom by people of color originally filed in St. Louis courts between 1814 and 1860. They make up the largest corpus of freedom suits currently available to researchers in the United States.

Freedom’s Journal provided international, national, and regional information on current events and contained editorials declaiming slavery, lynching, and other injustices. The Journal also published biographies of prominent African-Americans and listings of births, deaths, and marriages in the African-American New York community.

This website presents digital images of 840 visual materials from the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society that illustrate the role of Massachusetts in the national debate over slavery. Included are photographs, paintings, sculptures, engravings, artifacts, banners, and broadsides that were central to the debate and the formation of the antislavery movement. The Society hosts a similar site on African Americans and the End of Slavery in Massachusetts.

In Motion: The African-American Migration Experiencepresents a new interpretation of African-American history, one that focuses on the self-motivated activities of peoples of African descent to remake themselves and their worlds. Of the thirteen defining migrations that formed and transformed African America, only the transatlantic slave trade and the domestic slave trades were coerced, the eleven others were voluntary movements of resourceful and creative men and women, risk-takers in an exploitative and hostile environment.

The Internet Archive is home to millions of books, videos, and other media. Included are the Boston Public Library Anti-Slavery Collection, a massive set of material from dozens of important abolitionists, the Haiti Collection of the John Carter Brown Library, and the James Birney Collection of Anti-Slavery Pamphlets from Johns Hopkins University. Collections are updated on a regular basis.

In December 1999, to commemorate the 140th anniversary of the hanging of John Brown in Charles Town, West Virginia, the West Virginia State Archives placed online a new electronic database of materials pertaining to Brown from the Boyd B. Stutler Collection. A recognized authority on the man, Boyd Stutler (1889-1970) created one of the most important John Brown collections in existence. The State of West Virginia acquired this body of material in 1977.

Landscapes of Slavery and Freedom is a student-driven public history project developed through a partnership between the Public History track at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the Maryland State Archives. The site presents student projects exploring the struggle over slavery and freedom as it played out on the border between Maryland and Pennsylvania.

At the core of the completed project is this online Encyclopaedia of British Slave-ownership containing information about every slave-owner in the British Caribbean, Mauritius or the Cape at the moment of abolition in 1833. Entries include information about the activities, affiliations and legacies of these men and women, with a particular emphasis on the “absentee” owners based in Britain.

This program seeks to preserve and promote the vast universe of experiences that have shaped the lives of Maryland’s African American population. From the day that Mathias de Sousa and Francisco landed in St. Mary’s county aboard the Ark and the Dove in 1634, Black Marylanders have made significant contributions to both the state and nation in the political, economic, agricultural, legal, and domestic arenas.

The Electronic Text Center’s Liberian Letters consists of two collections of letters written by former slaves from Virginia who settled in Liberia: Samson Ceasar’s letters to David S. Haselden and Henry F. Westfall, 1834-1835 and Letters from the former slaves of James Hunter Terrell, 1857-1866.

Liberia★pedia is dedicated to preserving Liberia’s historical legacy and heritage. Featured collections include a glossary of Liberian English, an index of legislative acts, a collection of folk tales, and a detailed database of immigrants, 1820-1904.

The Lincoln Archives Digital Project started in 2002 with a simple idea for a vast undertaking: to digitize all federal records that exist from the administration of Abraham Lincoln.  Over 6,000 documents are currently online and over half a million documents are scanned and in the process of being placed online.

A large collection of material pertaining to Lincoln University, the first degree-granting historically black university. Manuscript material includes a rare set of documents by the Pennsylvania Colonization Society and the Young Men’s Colonization Society of Pennsylvania, covering the years 1830-1913.

Mapping Occupation, by Gregory P. Downs and Scott Nesbit, captures the regions where the United States Army could effectively act as an occupying force in the Reconstruction South. For the first time, it presents the basic nuts-and-bolts facts about the Army’s presence, movements that are central to understanding the occupation of the South. That data in turn reorients our understanding of the Reconstruction that followed Confederate surrender.

An original project supported by the French Atlantic History Group (McGill University, Mellon Foundation) in collaboration with the Faculté des Lettres et Sciences Humaines of the Université de Sherbrooke, « Marronnage in Saint-Domingue (Haïti) » is an electronic interface meant to decompartementalise the archives of slavery in the French Atlantic world.

Founded in 1844, the Maryland Historical Society (MdHS) is the state’s oldest continuously operating cultural institution. Online collections include numerous documents and images pertaining to the history of slavery within the state. The site also includes a complete digital copy of the Maryland State Colonization Society Papers, 1827-1871.

Resources dedicated to the history of Saint-Barthelemy: slave trade, slavery, their abolition and impact on this island of the Lesser Antilles. Available in English, French, and Swedish.

This Research Guide offers an introduction to the history of the British transatlantic slave trade and its abolition. It gives an overview of the major original sources in British archive collections. The Guide is the first in a series covering different aspects of the complex history of the slave trade, slavery and unfree labour in the British Caribbean and American colonies in more detail. It will help researchers to identify which area of the subject they wish to focus on and where to look for more detailed information.

The African American Research guide posted by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) features numerous resources for the study of slavery and its aftermath in the United States. See especially: Records that pertain to American Slavery and the International Slave Trade.