External Databases

The North Carolina Runaway Slave Advertisements project provides online access to all known runaway slave advertisements (more than 2300 items) published in North Carolina newspapers from 1751 to 1840. These brief ads provide a glimpse into the social, economic, and cultural world of the American slave system and the specific experience within North Carolina.

Northern Visions of Race, Region & Reform is an online resource documenting conflicting representations of African-Americans, white Southerners, and reformers during and immediately after the Civil War. In particular, it looks at the stereotypes popularized in the northern press, and the ways that these depictions were countered–or in some cases, reinforced–in the letters written for northern readers by freedmen’s teachers and freedmen themselves.

Norton Strange Townshend (1815-1895) had a long and multi-faceted career in politics, medicine, social reform, and agricultural education. His accomplishments included antislavery activism, political involvement at the local level and in the U.S. House of Representatives, work on the Underground Railroad, a role as a Medical Inspector in the Civil War, and advocacy of scientific training for farmers. This online exhibit illuminates many aspects of Townshend’s career and life through biographical information and digitally scanned manuscripts, images, and printed materials.

This collection is a pilot project to digitize backfiles of community newspapers in Ontario. It includes searchable digital scans of two important expatriate journals, theVoice of the Fugitive (1851-1852) and the Provincial Freeman (1853-1857).

The PAS Papers contain the records of the Society general meeting and various committees, financial papers, minutes, and legal papers related to cases taken on by the PAS, papers related to the documentation and education of the free black community, and the records of numerous anti-slavery societies.

A large collection of material culled from the Haverford and Swarthmore College Libraries. It contains hundreds of images and manuscripts pertaining to the history of slavery and abolition, including letters by Elihu Burrit, Granville Sharp, Lucretia Mott, and Thomas Clarkson, with special emphasis on Quaker involvement in the antislavery movement. The Quakers & Slavery companion site offers additional information.

The goal is to make an original contribution to U.S. history by documenting, for scholars and general audiences alike, the accomplishments of John Horse and the Black Seminoles. These maroon warriors, descendants of free blacks and fugitive slaves in the American South, led the largest slave revolt in American history, influenced Abraham Lincoln and the emancipation movement, and were the most successful black freedom fighters in the U.S. prior to the Civil War.

RunawayCT.org is a digital humanities resource for the study of runaway slaves in Connecticut, conceived and executed by a Digital Humanities class at Wesleyan University. The site provides free access to a searchable database of runaway slave ads published in theConnecticut Courant, accompanied by scholarly content providing context and insight into slavery-era Connecticut.

The collection consists of items related to the British administration of Sierra Leone, including public and private papers of British officials in the colony of Sierra Leone, 1792-1825. Drawn from the Sierra Leone Collection at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Theodore Foster and Rev. Guy Beckley launched the Signal of Liberty in April 1841 and managed to go to press nearly every week. The printing office was located on the second floor of Josiah Beckley’s mercantile shop on Broadway Avenue in Ann Arbor. Guy Beckley helped in his brother’s store and worked tirelessly to promote the newspaper. Theodore Foster was co-editor and publisher of the Signal of Liberty until 1848. Also included is the Michigan Liberty Press, published in Battle Creek.

Slave Biographies: The Atlantic Database Network is an open access data repository of information on the identities of enslaved people in the Atlantic World. It includes the names, ethnicities, skills, occupations, and illnesses of individual slaves. Phase one of a multi-phase project is presented here. Users of the website can access data about slaves in colonial Louisiana and Maranhão, Brazil. They can download datasets, search for ancestors, and run statistical analysis.

The Buncombe County Register of Deeds office has kept property records since the late 1700’s. In our records one can find a wealth of information about the history of our community. On this page, we have compiled a list of the documents that record the trade of people as slaves in Buncombe County. These people were considered “property” prior to end of the Civil War; therefore these transfers were recorded in the Register of Deeds office.

This animated thematic map narrates the spatial history of the greatest slave insurrection in the eighteenth century British Empire.  To teachers and researchers, the presentation offers a carefully curated archive of key documentary evidence.  To all viewers, the map suggests an argument about the strategies of the rebels and the tactics of counterinsurgency, about the importance of the landscape to the course of the uprising, and about the difficulty of representing such events cartographically with available sources.

From the Bibliothèque Commémorative Mama Haidara in Timbuktu, Mali, a collection of 19th century manuscripts relating to slavery and manumission in Timbuktu. The materials, in Arabic, provide documentation on Africans in slavery in Muslim societies.

This site uses a blogging format to showcase excerpts from letters written by Simon Taylor (1738-1813), a slaveholder and plantation owner who lived in Jamaica during a period characterised by revolution, war, and imperial reform. ‘Slavery and Revolution’ is a free resource and open to anyone. The material on the site is intended for use by academics, students, and others to use in their research, teaching, and learning.

A database of insurance policies on slave property, compiled from the records of present-day insurance companies under a law passed by the California State Legislature. The data includes slave names, slaveholder names, policy information, and government reports.


This portal is an open site providing an online digital textbook and a full collection of resources for the study of slavery in Canadian history. Although designed for primary and secondary students, the site is open to researchers of all ages.

SlaveryStories is an open source project that anyone can can contribute to. Let’s make these stories easier to find and present them in a design that’s more pleasurable to read. Download the stories or contribute new ones so that we can work together to preserve this essential history.

The Southern Historical Collection at the University of North Carolina encourages the study and appreciation of the history and culture of the American South by collecting, preserving and promoting the use of unique documentary materials of enduring historical value. Digitized material includes the Sarah Frances Hicks Williams Letters, Slavery Papers, and Slavery Justification Essays.

The Texas Runaway Slave Project (TRSP) began in December 2012 at Stephen F. Austin State University. Since then, more than 10,000 Texas newspaper issues, published prior to 1865, have been indexed, from which the information and materials for the project will be gathered.

Centered on a database of slave and slaveholder populations in Texas during the Republic era (1837-45), the Texas Slavery Project offers a window into the role slavery played in the development of Texas in the years before the region became part of the United States. Dynamic interactive maps show the changing flows of enslaved and slaveholder populations in Texas over time. The population database search engine allows users to discover the growth of slave and slaveholder populations in the region. Digitized original documents from the era provide an opportunity to hear the voices of those who lived with slavery in early Texas.

The Abolition of the Slave Trade presents more than 8,000 pages of original essays, primary documents—books, pamphlets, articles, and illustrations—as well as secondary sources and original maps. The site is organized around eight themes that tell the forgotten story of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade to the United States and, more generally, to the Western Hemisphere.

This site looks at those who fought for the ending of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and the emancipation of enslaved Africans in the British colonies. The site has been designed to provide background information, lesson ideas and tools for teachers and learners.

The Antislavery Literature Project, established in 2003, is based in the Arizona State University’s English department and works in cooperation with the EServer, located at Iowa State University. As an educational non-profit, the Project provides public access to the literature and history of the antislavery movement in the United States. It does so by research; production and annotation of electronic editions; and delivery of texts via the Internet.

The approximately 1,235 images in this collection have been selected from a wide range of sources, most of them dating from the period of slavery. This collection is envisioned as a tool and a resource that can be used by teachers, researchers, students, and the general public - in brief, anyone interested in the experiences of Africans who were enslaved and transported to the Americas and the lives of their descendants in the slave societies of the New World.

The Bibliography of Slavery is a searchable database containing verified references (except as noted) to approximately 25,000 scholarly works in all academic disciplines and in all western European languages on slavery and slaving, worldwide and throughout human history, including modern times. It includes all known print materials published since 1900 in scholarly formats, as well as digital scholarly journals, recent unpublished presentations at academic conferences, professional historical sites, and major museum exhibitions and catalogs.

The David Livingstone Spectral Imaging Project is a collaborative, international effort to use spectral imaging technology and digital publishing to make available a series of faded, illegible texts produced by the famous Victorian explorer when stranded without ink or writing paper in Central Africa. Livingstone’s 1871 Field Diary: A Multispectral Critical Edition offers new evidence of a massacre perpetrated by Zanzibari slave traders in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

This project offers a research tool in two parts: a) a guide to archival sources on the Dutch colonies in the Caribbean World and b) a summary of the relevant laws and regulations of the period. The guide to archival sources covers collections in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Curaçao, Suriname and Guyana, especially those that might contain information about slavery and multicultural relations.

Friend of Man is one of the most significant and little studied newspapers documenting early anti-slavery and other reform movements. The periodical is of special significance because with the exception of religion, scholars know little about the resources of social movements in rural areas such as Central New York, whereFriend of Man was published.

The Geography of Slavery in Virginia is a digital collection of advertisements for runaway and captured slaves and servants in 18th- and 19th-century Virginia newspapers. Building on the rich descriptions of individual slaves and servants in the ads, the project offers a personal, geographical and documentary context for the study of slavery in Virginia, from colonial times to the Civil War.

The Harriet Tubman Resource Centre Digital Archive is an initiative of the Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on the Global Migrations of African Peoples at York University. It includes manuscripts, photographs, maps, and other material pertaining to the African diaspora drawn from Africa, the Caribbean, Canada, and the United States.

This site features original manuscripts and transcriptions of letters by Hiram Wilson, an abolitionist who worked among fugitive slaves in the United States and Canada. The letters range from 1842 to 1861 and cover all aspects of Wilson’s career as an activist, educator, and missionary. The site was created by history students at Huron University College in Ontario.

This is a complete online archive of full issues of William Lloyd Garrison’s newspaper The Liberator (1831-1865), the most prominent periodical of radical Abolitionism in the united states of America. You can find scanned PDF documents of full issues of The Liberator, as well as a number of individual articles, columns and departments from the magazine that have been transcribed in HTML for ease of reading, searching, and linking.

The Louverture Project (TLP) collects and promotes knowledge, analysis, and understanding of the Haitian revolution of 1791–1804. This unique history project follows the example of Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia, and is committed to creating a vast, accessible, and useful open content resource.

This collection is an expanded and updated version of the original Dred Scott Case Collection. The collection was expanded from eighty-five to one hundred and eleven documents, over 400 pages of text. In addition, the collection is now a full-text, searchable resource that represents the full case history of the Dred Scott Case.

Numbering over 10,000 titles, May’s collected pamphlets, leaflets, sermons, position papers, offprints, local Anti-Slavery Society newsletters, poetry anthologies, freedmen’s testimonies, broadsides, and Anti-Slavery Fair keepsakes all document the social and political implications of the abolitionist movement. The accompanying manuscript collection inlcudes the correspondence of Lydia Maria Child.

Lincoln Mullen created an interactive map of the spread of slavery in the United States from 1790 to 1860. Using Census data available from the NHGIS, the visualization shows the population of slaves, of free African Americans, of all free people, and of the entire United States. It also shows those subjects as population densities and percentages of the population. For any given variable, the scales are held constant from year to year so that the user can see change over time.

The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database has information on almost 35,000 slaving voyages that forcibly embarked over 10 million Africans for transport to the Americas between the 16th and 19th centuries. It offers researchers, students and the general public a chance to rediscover the reality of one of the largest forced movements of peoples in world history.

The Valley of the Shadow is an electronic archive of two communities in the American Civil War - Augusta County, Virginia, and Franklin County, Pennyslvania. The Valley Web site includes searchable newspapers, population census data, agricultural census data, manufacturing census data, slaveowner census data, and tax records. The site also contains letters and diaries, images, maps, church records, and military rosters.

A collection of illustrations from Harper’s Weekly spanning the antebellum, Civil War, and reconstruction eras. Images are sorted thematically and chronologically and are sometimes accompanied by explanatory text.

This website displays research into the lives of 431 enslaved people in seven multi-generational families at Mesopotamia plantation in Jamaica and Mount Airy plantation in Virginia.

The Antislavery Collection contains several hundred printed pamphlets and books pertaining to slavery and antislavery in New England, 1725-1911. The holdings include speeches, sermons, proceedings and other publications of organizations such as the American Anti-Slavery Society and the American Colonization Society, and a small number of pro-slavery tracts.

A pioneering collection of digital material providing literary, cultural, and historical context on Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852), possibly the most significant antislavery novel of all time. Although the site remains active, the interface is somewhat dated.

Under a Northern Star presents seven unique collections held at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) that document the diverse historical experience of African Canadians. The collections include historical papers that contextualize the life and work of persons who fought against slavery and racism, built settlements, and flourished as early Canadians.

The website now includes a searchable database of nearly 3700 Virginia emigrants to Liberia and nearly 250 Virginia emancipators, a timeline of relevant events and documents between 1787 and 1866, a compilation of important related sources, links to related research websites and news of Liberia today.

Visualizing Emancipation is an ongoing mapping project, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, that sheds light on when and where men and women became free in the Civil War South. It tells the complex story of emancipation by mapping documentary evidence of black men and women’s activities–using official military correspondence, newspapers, and wartime letters and diaries–alongside the movements of Union regiments and the shifting legal boundaries of slavery.