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AFRS 2160: Archives Guide

Local Historical Collections

Bill of enslaved man “Loney” from J.A. Bisner of Lincolnton, N.C.- This local bill of sale was for an enslaved man. The bill of sale is dated January 2nd, 1865. 

Torrance and Banks families papers- These papers come from Hugh Torrance and his descendants. The timeline of this collection ranges from 1765 to 1982 and include correspondence, records of enslaved people, and an acrostic from George Moses Horton, who wrote poems for Hugh Torrance to send to Mary McClean and Sophia Alexander while he was a student at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Wilkes Family Papers- The Wilkes Family settled in Charlotte in the 1850s and many of these papers document their businesses, correspondence, and scrapbooks. The document that is accessible through Goldmine are the records of the enslaved people owned by the Wilkes Family. 

Atkins Library Databases

These are the Atkins Library database Resources for your class. You may have to sign in to access these materials, which may include entering your institution (type University of North Carolina at Charlotte) and then enter your NinerNet credentials. 

Accessible Archives- This database allows you to search across various collections including various volumes of African-American Newspapers, the Frederick Douglass paper, and various Civil War databases. 

Archives Unbound- This database allows you to search across various manuscript collections from different institutions. 

African-American Newspapers, 1827-1998

Caribbean Newspapers, 1718-1886- Caribbean Newspapers database provides you with access to various historical newspapers from the region. A particular point of interest includes the newspapers articles around the American Revolution and then the Haitian Revolution, one that directly influenced the area. 

The Colored American Newspaper-Historical newspaper from New York City that covered the moral, political, and social aspects of free people and the pursuit of emancipation for enslaved persons that covers the years of 1837 to 1842. 

Douglass Monthly, 1859-1863- One of the four papers that Frederick Douglass founded that was dedicated to abolition and social reform. 

Freedom’s Journal, 1827-1829- First African-American newspaper operated and founded in the United States. 

Harper’s Weekly, 1857-1912- This paper was published from 1857 until 1912 but became well-known for its extensive coverage of the Civil War and was based in New York City. 

Weekly Advocate, Jan. 1837-March 1838

Other Archives Online Resources

Frederick Douglass Newspapers, 1847-1874- Along with the other Douglass newspapers that are available through Atkins' databases, this collection of newspapers come from the Library of Congress and includes Douglass's cornerstone paper, The North Star. 

Frederick Douglass papers at the Library of Congress-Library of Congress holds the personal papers of Frederick Douglass including his diary, family papers, and financial papers. 

William A. Gladstone Collection of African American Photographs- This photographs collection that is housed at the Library of Congress showcases different photographs of African-American life from the Civil War to 1945. The majority of the photographs focuses on the Civil War era including a very iconic photograph of Sojourner Truth. 

William A. Gladstone Afro-American Military Collection- This collection spans the years of 1773 to 1987 and is another Library of Congress collection. While some of the collection goes beyond your time period, it does include interesting primary documents of note including military discharge papers, pension papers, and Confederate documents. 

Slaves and the Courts, 1740 to 1860- The Slaves and the Courts put legal documents at the forefront in this Library of Congress collection. Highlights of this collection include materials around the Dred Scott case, various pamphlets, and the Amistad Case. 

African-American Perspectives: Materials Selected from the Rare Book Collection-This rare book focused collection from the Library of Congress has a date range from 1822 to 1909.

Princeton and Slavery Project: Primary Sources- These materials come from Princeton University and their archives. A history professor discovered that much of the money the Southern Ivy used to build its campus came from families in the South who owned enslaved people. These documents show the role those families played in the insitution as well as how the Civil War played a role in enrollment. 

African-American Women Writers of the 19th Century- This New York Public Library resource contains transcribed books by African-American women writers of the 19th century. This source contains well-known titles such as Behind the Scenes by Elizabeth Keckley and Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs along with lesser-known pieces. 

Afro-Louisiana History and Genealogy- This resource showcases the history of the enslaved people of Louisiana. Many of the primary documents have already been transcribed. 

Plantation America from Duke University-This companion site to an exhibition from Duke University and contains various documents around plantation life in the Southern United States and the Carribbean. 

African-American Odyssey from the Library of Congress-While this Library of Congress digital exhibit covers the years from 1776 to the Civil Rights era of the 1960s, the materials focusing on Free Blacks in the Antebellum Period and Slavery have interesting materials that work for your course. 

The Revised Dred Scott Case Collection from Washington University-This landmark case was brought forth by Dred Scott and his wife, Harriett, to file for their freedom in St. Louis Circuit Courts. This case took eleven years and the Supreme Court ruled that black citizens weren't really citizens so they could not be protected by the Constitution. 

Slave Voyages- This website, backed by Emory University, is a digital humanities project that works to tell the history behind the slave voyages that occurred during the slave trade. 

Visualizing Abolition- This is another digital humanities project that showcases the inner workings of abolition that occurred in Britain and how it influenced American abolition. Within the correspondence database, there are multiple mentions of enslaved people in the Caribbean as well. 

Black Abolitionist Archive from the University of Detroit-This database gathered by the University of Detroit. It can be browsed by author, organization, keyword, and publication. The variety of materials focuses on the abolition movement through the prospective of black members of the movement. 

The Amistad Case at the National Archives and Slavery and the U.S. Supreme Court: The Amistad Case- These two separate resources help to document the case of the Amistad, which involved a group of Africans that had been abducted by Portugese slave hunters and sent to the Caribbean in 1839. The Africans were able to take over the ship, killed the captain and cook and demanded to be brought back to Africa. While, this case didn't happen in America, the United States Supreme Court did rule a judgement since the ship was captured by the U.S. Navy. 

North American Slave Narratives from Documenting the South and American Slave Narratives: In a time where there was no audio equipment to take oral histories, narratives became the way for enslaved people to tell their stories. These two databases showcase different narratives from history. 

Digital Library on American Slavery at University of North Carolina at Greensboro: This digital library works to provide a variety of documents that you may be able to use for your paper. The library has provided petitions, runaway slave ads, and bills of sale that work as primary documents for your paper. 

Colored Conventions Project- This database showcases Colored Conventions, conventions that occurred around the northern and western United States to garner support for African-American rights during a time when many were not able to be free.