RG-2 - RECORDS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AUDITOR GENERAL
Records Relating to Military Service
Revolutionary War Pension File, 1809-1893 . An example of an entry for an African American is that of Griffith Smith. According to an affidavit signed by Secretary of War Lewis Cass on January 4, 1834, Smith served with his master, John Young, as an army drummer in the Revolutionary War from 1776-1779. As a result of his service, Smith was entitled to receive a pension of $25.60 annually from March 4, 1831 until his death. Included is a statement signed by John Frederick Weinland, Protestant Minister of Germantown, certifying that Griffith Smith married Mary Brand on April 16, 1788. Also present is a petition from the General Assembly approving a widow's pension for Mrs. Smith.” (p.11)
RG-4 - RECORDS OF THE OFFICE OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL
Tax and Exoneration Lists, 1762-1801 . The dated lists give information about taxpayers, including number of slaves owned. Listings of slaves are found in some counties, including Berks, Bucks, and Cumberland. (p.23)
Port of Philadelphia Records
Bonds and Papers Relating to Duties on Negro and Mulatto Slaves, 1720-1788. “Duties that were paid on “negro” and “mulatto” slaves imported to the City of Philadelphia. Information provided in these records includes the name of the owner(s) and the collector, the amount of duty paid, any interest incurred, and the date of the contract. Occasionally, the name of the slave is also given.”
Registers of Duties Paid on Imported Goods, 1781-1787. Lists of ship masters, ships and other information including cargo descriptions. “Many of the ships transported either free or enslaved "Negroes" both before and during this period. (Refer also to Record Group 41, Health Officer's Register of Passengers' Names, 1792-1794)”
RG-7 - RECORDS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
House of Representatives
House File, 1790-1903. Petitions signed by citizens in Washington, Schuylkill, and Clearfield counties in March of 1863 to prohibit “negroes” from coming to live there or allowing interracial marriages. Response to the influx of freed African Americans after the Emancipation Proclamation came into effect. Also included is a Chester County petition protesting the fugitive slave law and “opposing any aid being offered to slave owners seeking to recover their slave property or allowing slave owners from slave states to retain their slaves while residing in Pennsylvania.”
Septennial Census Returns, 1779-1863. (Only 11% of these records have survived.) List of taxpayers, occupation, and data “concerning slaves residing in the counties is often more extensive in content. Beginning with the year 1800, the name, age, gender, and residence of each slave is frequently noted, and occasionally even the owner’s name is provided. The State Archives has original returns for thirty counties and the city of Philadelphia. Inhabitants are listed according to township or other political subdivision in which they resided.” The following is a list of the counties and years of the census returns that contain references to African Americans:
RG-13 - RECORDS OF THE HISTORICAL AND MUSEUM COMMISSION
Bureau of Archives and History
Administrative and Correspondence Files of the State Historian and Staff, 1945-1973. In 1945, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission was given responsibility for a program to erect historical markers throughout the state. Included in the marker files are correspondence, proposals for markers, and prepared texts for markers approved for installation. Among the markers related to the African American experience in Pennsylvania are: First protest against slavery, Edward Hector, Richard Henderson, Hopewell Furnace, James Family Cemetery, Daisy E. Lampkin, Joanna Furnace, Martin Luther King, Jr., Horace Pippin, St. Patrick's Church (Roman Catholic School), St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church, St. Thomas African Methodist Episcopal Church, and Thomas Rutter. Also included in the marker file are newspaper articles opposing the nomination of Edward Hector as being a legitimate African American.
Ethnic Culture Survey File, 1948-1976 . Arranged alphabetically by subject or name of correspondent. A file consisting of various types of material including brochures, newspaper articles, and correspondence relating to Pennsylvania’s rich ethnic diversity. This file contains the following information on African Americans:
A brochure on the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, Inc. (ASNLH)
An Arno Press catalog The American Negro: His History and Literature, 1968-1969 .
A program for the 1968 ASNLH conference; newspaper articles on school integration.
American Traveler's Guide to Negro History
Pennsylvania and American History and Government for Grade 8 , prepared for the Philadelphia Public Schools.
Photographs for Publications, 1950-1990. Contains a photograph of the “resurrection” of Henry “Box” Brown who made his escape to freedom sealed inside a wooden box. He served on the Executive Committee of the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society and was one of the leaders in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Pennsylvania Historical Commission
Records of the Pennsylvania Writers, Pennsylvania Historical Commission, American Guide Series, 1935-1941 . These records pertain to Pennsylvania's involvement with the Federal Writers Project and most notably the American Guide Series…The WPA historical investigations of African Americans of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh covered all periods from slavery down to the Great Depression.
Job no. 63. The Negro in Philadelphia, 1938-39, 1941. Contains manuscripts of various chapters written by different authors, and filed in fifteen folders. Some of the topics include abolition societies, the underground railroad, cultural folkways and superstitions, education, literature, medical services, economic development, housing, professional development, interracial trends, military materials including the Colored Soldiers War Memorial, the law, personalities, railroads, religion, sports, fraternal organizations, employment (including slavery), and music.
Records of the Philadelphia Maritime Statistics Project, Pennsylvania Historical Commission, [ca. 1937-1941].
Chronological List of Masters and Crews, 1798-1880. This series includes three types of records for each year. The alphabetical Masters' List of the names of ship captains appearing in the volume gives the page number on which they appear and the year. The Ships' Lists give the date of travel, the name of the vessel, the name of the home port and name of the master, and the destination. The Crew Lists identify the names of the members of the crew serving on each vessel. The Crew Lists contain names of African American boys and men who served aboard merchant marine vessels. For each vessel listed as leaving or entering the Port of Philadelphia, the following information is given: name of crewman, his age, place of birth, physical description (identified as free, black, mulatto, Negro, or coloured), height, and also the name of vessel. Sometimes the description is ambiguous, such as "dark complexion" which could be Caucasian as well as African American. Four specific vessels, the Ship CAROLINE , the Ship DELAWARE , the Schooner INDUSTRY , and the Sloop COMMERCE, are known to have carried slaves. (See also Record Group #41.9, Health Officers Register of Passengers Names, 1772-1794)
Slave Manifests, 1800-1841 . Manifests prepared by the captains of domestic slave ships list the name, gender, age, stature, class or color, and the residence of each of the slaves on board as well as the name of the shipper or owner. For example, the Ship CHAMPLAINE carried Leah, a black female, age 37, 5' 2", shipped/owned by one Samuel Oakford who lived in Louisiana. Two ships are included that arrived from foreign ports, bringing new slaves directly from Africa. The Schooner PHOEBE brought, "one-hundred and eighteen Africans men, women, and children," and the Schooner PRUDENCE carried "Sixteen Water Casks, One Key Tobacco, Seventeen African men, women and children."
Records of the Survey of the Federal Archives, Pennsylvania Historical Records Survey, Pennsylvania Historical Commission, 1942.
Ship Registers of the Port of Philadelphia , Pa. , Vol. 1, A-D, 1942. This incomplete set of volumes documents the three specific vessels CAROLINE , DELAWARE , and the Sloop COMMERCE , which are known to have carried slaves. The register provides the history of each ship including when it was built, the home port, the dimensions, date of registration, owners, master, as well as previous owners and registrations. (See also Record Group #41.9, Series Health Officers Register of Passengers Names, 1772-1794)
RG-15 - RECORDS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Eastern State Penitentiary. Although construction of the Eastern State Penitentiary at Philadelphia was authorized by the State legislature in 1821, the first inmates were not received until 1829. The Act of April 10, 1826, stipulated that prisoners sentenced from Adams, Berks, Bradford, Bucks, Centre (as of 1833), Chester, Columbia, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, Montgomery, Northumberland, Perry, Philadelphia, Pike, Schuylkill, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, Wayne and York counties were to be incarcerated at this penal facility.
Prison Administration Records, Scrapbook, 1889-1929. Unarranged. Consists of newspaper clippings that contain data about inmates, including particulars about their crimes and trials… Included in this scrapbook are also newspaper “wanted” and “reward” advertisements for slave runaways.
RG-17 - RECORDS OF THE LAND OFFICE
Commission Books, 1733-1809 . Arranged chronologically by date commission was recorded.
Commission Book No. 1 contains the following manumission (freeing a slave): “the Negro man Henry Thomas, formerly a slave to Col. Robert Knox, deceased . . . is now a free man” as a result of his master's last will and testament, witnessed August 12, 1785. The certificate for Henry Thomas to enter the state of Maryland was issued on August 13, 1785. Other examples of Philadelphia manumissions are included.
RG-22 - RECORDS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
State Library of Pennsylvania
Glass Lantern Slides, 1890-1960.
Slave Life and the Civil War: This collection includes four lantern slides relevant to African Americans in Pennsylvania: #20 - “A Group of Contrabands - Negro Slaves,” #35 - “First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation,” #37 - “Scene of the Emancipation Proclamation” and #56 - “Emancipation Statute in Lincoln Park, Washington, D.C.”
Slave Life and Lincoln: In this section are housed sixteen lantern slides depicting slave life during the administrations of Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore, including: (4) “Slaves of the Northern Sweatshops,” (5) “A Typical Slave Family Around Cabin-Fire Place with Home Made Furniture,” (6) “Fugitive Slave Arriving at House of Levi Coffin,” (7) “Uncle Tom on the Auction Block as Various Types of Buyers Crowd Around,” and (10) “Slaves Escaping Through the Underground Railway with Bundles.” A second grouping depicting scenes from the administration of Abraham Lincoln include one labeled “Men From All Walks of Life Answer Lincoln’s Call for Volunteers” and one labeled “Emancipation.”
RG-26 - RECORDS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Secretary of the Commonwealth
Attorney General's Correspondence, 1791-1894. Arranged chronologically. Correspondence received and sent by the Attorneys General of Pennsylvania. Among the items found is a cache of eleven letters dated May 17, 1824 - May 24, 1838 relating to the disturbances in Philadelphia that resulted in the destruction of Pennsylvania Hall, a large structure built for public meetings that served as a gathering place for the African American community and as a center of abolitionist activity.
Clemency File, 1790-1873. Arranged chronologically. Present is a casae from November 1863: Commonwealth vs. Frances Wilson, Gillmore Hull, Sylvester Gordon, Edward Stuckey, and Franklin Bostick, which involved John Brown, a free African American accused of robbing a store. Though he protested his innocence, Brown was nonetheless banished into Maryland from his home in Salisbury Township, Lancaster County, where he was physically abused and almost sold back into slavery by the defendants in this suit. This file contains testimonies of many people who saw John Brown being abused and beaten, one of whom was his wife, Susan Brown.
Executive Correspondence, 1790-1969. Arranged chronologically date of letter. Correspondence dated January 8, 1805 from the Legislature of North Carolina to the Governor of Pennsylvania. The letter asked for Pennsylvania's concurrence of a proposed amendment to the federal Constitution that would “prevent the further importation of Slaves, or People of Colour, from any West-India Islands, from the Coast of Africa, or elsewhere, into the United States, or any part thereof.” Another example of the files contained in this series includes a resolution dated October 20, 1861 from the citizens of Coudersport, Potter County, to the President of the United States protesting the use of Pennsylvania soldiers to capture and return fugitive slaves.
Executive Minute Books, 1790-1943. Arranged chronologically. On Monday, March 20, 1837, Adam Klinefelter, Esq., Sheriff of York County, was appointed an agent of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to transport Nathan S. Bemis, Edward Prigg, Jacob Forworth and Stephen Lewis from Maryland to Pennsylvania for trial. Fugitives from justice, they were charged with having seized and taken away without lawful authority the wife and six children of Henry Morgan, a free “colored” man living in the Lower Chanceford Township, York County.
Bureau of Elections, Commissions, and Legislation
Engrossed Laws, 1700-1968. Arranged chronologically by date of legislation. The original laws created and established by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. One of the most important pieces of legislation is the Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery, passed March 1, 1780, amended March 29, 1788 and December 8, 1789. Among its various provisions, the act ensured that no slave could be held in servitude for more than seven years past his twenty-first birthday. Although the Act did not immediately prohibit slavery, it was the first legal action taken in the country to implement a policy of gradual abolition of slavery. This series contains the official copies of other acts relating to African Americans in Pennsylvania.
Charter Books, 1812-1875. This listing includes various African American organizations, as well as corporations and institutions that supported African Americans, Abolition, and also may have assisted escaped slaves.
RG-27 - RECORDS OF PENNSYLVANIA'S REVOLUTIONARY GOVERNMENTS
Supreme Executive Council, 1777-1790
Clemency File, 1775-1790, & undated. Arranged alphabetically by surname of petitioner.
November 1787, Philadelphia County - Alice Clifton, slave of John Barthlomew, was convicted of murdering her female child on April 5, 1787. She was sentenced to be hanged by the neck until dead.
August 1789 - Petition of John Irwin of Westmoreland County requesting release of his servant boy, who committed felonies in Bedford County and was fined twenty pounds. Because he was unable to pay the fine, he was to be sold at a public sale. The petition requested a remission of the fine on the grounds that the servant would not sell for even a fifth of the fine and the owner would therefore take a great loss.
September 1780 - Petition of James Oellers, of Philadelphia, on behalf of his slave Sarah Craig, read on September 25, 1780. Sarah Craig knowingly received stolen goods from Alice Wiley who had taken them from John Fry. As a result of this petition, Sarah was granted a pardon in October 1790.
Forfeited Estate File, 1777-1790. Arranged chronologically. This series documents the property of colonists deemed loyal to the British Crown during the Revolutionary War that was seized by the revolutionary authorities. Cited here are some examples representative of references to African Americans:
Bucks County - an inventory and assessment of the forfeited goods and chattels and property of Gilbert Hicks, taken August 28, 1778, lists "a Negro 12 years old" valued at 112 pounds and ten shillings.
Chester County - an inventory of lands, tenants, goods and chattels of Christopher Wilson,. taken July 6, 1778 lists a "Negro Wench 19 years old" valued at 75 pounds.
Lancaster County - a petition of John Swanwick read in Council October 21, 1777, regarding the protection of the estate of his father W. Swanwick who died and left his estate to John's mother, Mary Swanwick. A militia captain took some of her property which included a "Negro girl."
Philadelphia County - an inventory of household goods and property of John Tolly appraised August 8, 1778, lists "one black wench named Betty, two female children," valued at forty pounds.
York County - a petition, read in Council in September 1778, for Negro Ralph who was purchased by John Rankin from Robert Power. Rankin declared his intention to free Negro Ralph after he had served Rankin for a fixed term. Shortly after Negro Ralph obtained his freedom, however, Rankin died. Negro Ralph feared being sold as part of the Rankin estate and this petition was made on behalf of Negro Ralph.
RG-33 - RECORDS OF THE SUPREME COURT
Autograph File, 1683, 1767-1815. Arranged alphabetically by surname. The documents within this series were extracted from their original files in 1925 due to their unique historical value. Included in this series is “A Return of Prisoners Confined in the Gaol of Lancaster County the 14th Day of May, Anno Domini 1781,” which provides the prisoner name at time of commitment, the name of the person by whom committed, and the nature of the crime. Included on this list is "Negroe Abraham, a runaway Servant to James Brown" and "Negroe Mishich, a runaway slave property of Jos. Irwin of Conogogig."
Certiorari and Habeas Corpus Papers, 1753-1775, 1777-1787. Arranged chronologically by court term. These papers were used to appeal a lower court verdict. The Certiorari Papers requested transcripts from a lower court to be given to a higher court for review of the proceedings. The Habeas Corpus Papers were writs used to bring a person before a court. Many of the writs that were used to compel appearance of slaves before the court provide the slave's name, place of residence and name of his master. In some instances familial relationships are mentioned and details are entered such as where the slave worked and when he or she was purchased. The following are some examples of writs involving African Americans:
Chester County - Cato, "a Negro man," was charged with stealing his wife Mary and their three children, Betse, Cato, and Isaac, from their owner and master, Samuel Moore of Chester County, on March 13, 1786. He was discharged April 1, 1786.
Philadelphia County - Pompey, "a Negro man," the property of Mr. Isaac Wihoff, was charged with disorderly conduct on May 29, 1786, but was later discharged on July 19, 1786.
Escheat Papers, 1796-1822. Arranged by court term and case number. This series was arranged originally in chronological order by the earliest document date with some case papers added. On September 29, 1787, “An Act to Declare and Regulate Escheats” established a process by which the Commonwealth acquired the real and personal property of persons who died intestate or without heirs. If the escheators court found no claim or will, the property was turned over to the state… Otherwise, claimants were to appear at the next session of the Supreme Court. Examples:
August 1780, Indicted with trespass and assault on two occasions, Negro Tom, a slave. Thomas Patton was fined five pounds for each account, before William Henry, Esquire, of Lancaster County.
November 1780, Negro Sol, slave to William McIntire, of Lancaster County, was charged with larceny and fined one hundred and fifteen pounds.
Insolvent Debtor Papers, [ca. 1789-1805, 1812-1814]. Arranged chronologically by the surname of debtor, and thereunder chronologically by date of filing. Papers relating to insolvency cases brought before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in the Eastern District. Types of papers filed include petitions, bonds, assignments, renunciations of assignments, debt schedules, and certificates of discharge, reference and naturalization. The petition of Samuel Butcher, July 7, 1791, lists all of his property, including his slaves: a Negro man named Fortune and a Negro girl five years of age. Butcher transferred all of his property to the designated assignees in order to pay his creditors.
Miscellaneous Records of the Supreme Court of Nisi Prius, [ca. 1786-1800]. Artificially arranged by the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania… The volumes contain a wide variety of miscellaneous Supreme Court records, including court minutes, coroner’s inquisitions, proceedings in cases, lists of marriage, public housekeepers, and tavern licenses issued. Some pre-Revolutionary records exist, identifying George III as the reigning monarch. An example of the type of materials found relating to African Americans is a 1782 deposition by Michael Shafer of Berks County who on several occasions sold slaves to Charles Carr, an employee of John Lesher. Shafer’s deposition alleged that John Lesher never paid Michael Shafer.
Writs of Habeas Corpus for Negro Slaves, 1786-1787. Arranged chronologically by date of writ. Dozens of writs resulting from the Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery and responding memoranda concerning detained African American men, women, and children were filed with the Supreme Court. These contain diverse types of information that vary with each writ. Many of the documents provide the slave's name, place of residence and name of master. In some writs, the age and/or date of birth is given, familial relationships are mentioned, and particulars are entered about where the slave worked and when he or she was purchased. Documents are present for cases filed in various counties including Chester, Cumberland, Lancaster, Philadelphia and York Some examples are:
Chester County - Writs concerning the case of a Negro girl named Phobe English who was allegedly purchased by Alexander McMonigel of Chester, Pennsylvania from George Taylor of the Borough of Wilmington. The earliest of these reads: “The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to [Alexander M. Monagale of New Garden Township in the County of Chester,] GREETING, You are commanded, that the Body of [Phobe English - a Negro Girl about seven or eight years of age] under your custody detained, as it is said, together with the day and cause of [her] being taken and detained,...” (1785). Other proceedings in this case are dated 1787, and 1789 and result in a decision of the State Supreme Court "that the said Phebe English was born free and is now free from any slavery or servitude; that her mother Elisabeth English, her Grandmother and Great Grandmother appear to me to have been also born free.", signed by Thomas M. Kean, September 19, 1789.
1780, John Calhoon registered the following Negroes: Diana, Nell, Pegg, Fanny, Phebe, and Tom.
1780, John Herron registered Jerry, Sall.
1780, John Young had one "Negro wench named Pegg.”
1780, John Creigh of Carlisle owned Jean.
1780, Robert Miller of Carlisle registered Darby, Violet, Toy and Abraham.
1780, property of Stephen Duncan, a Negro man named Frank.
1781, property of James Steward of Georgia, Negroe Frank, 21 and Dinah, 16 years old, held in Carlisle by James Langston..
1783, property of Richard Bitler, a Negro female called Charlotte, daughter of a wench called Mott.
1787, property of John Moore of West Pennsburg, a Negro female born 1785 and Tobias, a male born Oct. 1787.
1787, Property of William Brown, a Negro girl named Sidney.
1787, Property of Reverend James Johnston, a Negro girl named Tamar;
1789, Property of William Robinson, a Negro girl named Lucy.
1789, Frank West of Tyrone Township owned Sligo, Jacob, Poll, Chamont, Mila, Lewis, John, and Debby.
1789, Negro child called Nell belonging to Frank Campbel.
York County - Writs relating to the case of “Negro Hannah,” who had been brought into Pennsylvania by her master, Robert Crawford, and kept longer than the six months allowed under Pennsylvania’s Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery. On May 26, 1787, William Askew reported that in the year 1781 he had purchased the estate owned by Robert Crawford in ”Hambleton” Township, York County. Askew complained that Robert Crawford would not comply with the contract respecting Askew’s title, and in consequence Askew brought a suit against Crawford on the 22nd day of February 1782. Askew testified that “the Saturday following, I had the writ served on Crawford and it was the Monday following that Negro Hannah applied to William McClean, Esq. for a pass and although I do not at this time remember what time Crawford brought the Negro and her children from Maryland to Pennsylvania yet I do know and will remember that the aforesaid Negroes were held as Crawford's slaves by him in Pennsylvania after they came from Maryland more then six months.” On May 25, 1787, William Cochran stated that "Negro Wench Hanah, came to his house and handed him a paper signed by William McClean, Esq., setting forth that the said Negroe Wench had right to hire herself as any other free woman where she might find employ; from this time that Said Crawford came into this county from Maryland, I new the Negro Wench to be in the service of Mr. Crawford as a slave, which was above six months, when I saw the paper."
The Courts of Oyer and Terminer
Court Papers, 1757-1761, 1763, 1765-1776, 1778-1782, 1786, 1787 . Arranged alphabetically by name of county, and thereunder by court term and case number. These documents from the Oyer and Terminer Courts include case files, judicial administrative papers, and diverse records from the Mayor’s Court of Philadelphia; minutes from Nisi Prius courts of Northampton and York; and tavern license petitions from Philadelphia. Some examples pertaining to African Americans concerning slavery are:
Berks County, 1772. Elizabeth Bishop, wife of John Bishop was charged with the murder of their slave Louis[e].
Berks County, 1775. An inquisition into the death of Peter, the slave of John Patton of Heidelberg Township. Thomas Roach was charged with the murder.
Lancaster County, 1767. Testimonies involving the murder of Dinah, a slave of William Crawford. Two men were tried separately for the same crime.
Lancaster County, 1781. York, a slave of Michael Ego was charged with the rape of Elisabeth Snyder.
Lancaster County, 1781. Phebe, a slave of James McCally and Matty, more commonly known as Patty and formerly called Charity, a slave of Amos Slaymaker, were charged with the burning of Slaymaker’s barn.
Philadelphia County, 1768. Richard Wild was tried in the murder of one of his slaves, Cloe. When asked to pay funeral expenses Wild claimed Cloe was really Rosanna, a slave of Sylvera Liguance, Jamaica.
Philadelphia County, September 1782. A Negro slave owned by William Parker, named Peter, was found guilty of murder and was sentenced to be “hanged by the neck till he be dead.”
Philadelphia County, 1782. Testimonies involving the breaking and entering of William Ball's house. Those on trial included John Dorset , a slave of Samuel Hillegro, Lot and Luz Suzey, two free mulattos, and John Freeman, alias Samuel Nurick.
York County, 1780. Testimonies concerning the robbery of McSherry's store and house. The testimony involves George Weaver, Jacob Sherman and his slave Dick.
Appeal Papers, 1799-1981. Arranged by court term and case number. Papers filed with the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in the Middle District for appeals from lower courts, including petitions for certiorari, petitions for extension of time, acknowledgments of record, notices of appeal, judgments, opinions of the justices, praecipes for appearance (which call for the appearance of interested parties before the court), and petitions for appeal. The petitions for appeal enumerate the arguments in support of an appeal, and also list the questions raised in the case due to the decisions of the lower courts. Appeals relating to African Americans (concerning slavery) include:
Adams County, 1812. Deposition of widower Christiana Bittinger with regard to the changing of the name of her slave from Coll to Sall and a deposition of Elizabeth Baum, daughter of Nicholas Bittinger, regarding this slave girl named "Sall." Later in the same year, several documents from Franklin County refer to this same Negro slave woman called Sall who was registered from birth as Collin and called Coll by her first owner, Nicholas Bittinger, even though her mother, family and friends called her Sall…. slave called "Sall" was also recorded as "Collie, Coll, and Collin… deposition concerning Sall, Collin or Coll of Franklin County. In addition to Sall (Coll), other slaves are listed for Richard McCallister and Nicholas Bittinger.
Franklin County, 1812. Lydia Furguson, "a woman of color," was charged as a runaway. She had belonged to Lord Fairfax in nearby Alexandria, Virginia and claimed she was to be freed upon his death and left $100 in his will.
Lancaster County, 1818. Daniel Haines took Negro Tom to jail for refusing to go to New Jersey with Mr. Isaac Low. Mr. Low then sold Tom to a Mr. Philips to take to Kentucky; Tom then refused to go to Kentucky.
Franklin County, 1819. Negro Sal gave her daughter, Mulatto Mave, to William Holiday’s daughter Ruth Somerville. Ruth’s husband James Somerville, claimed that Mave left him and was not longer in his possession.
York County, 1840. Appeal no. 52 contains several documents connected with the case of the Commonwealth vs. Prigg, an important case used as an anti-slavery weapon to create new fugitive slave laws in Pennsylvania. In 1837 , Edward Prigg, a professional slave catcher from Maryland, seized Margaret Morgan and her children. She was the wife of Henry Morgan, a free African American who lived in the Lower Chanceford Township, York County.
RG-41 - RECORDS OF THE NAVIGATION COMMISSION FOR THE DELAWARE RIVER AND ITS NAVIGABLE TRIBUTARIES
Port of Philadelphia
Health Officer's Account of Passenger Entries, 1789-1794. This register contains an account of vessels arriving at the Port of Philadelphia and a record of passengers submitted by captains to the Health Officer of the Port. Information provided includes the date of arrival, a description of the vessel, the name of vessel, the name of commander, the port from which last sailed, the name of the vessel visited, and the number of passengers and servants. Vessels included in this register are also listed in the Health Officer's Register of Passengers' Names, 1792-1794. Some of these vessels carried African Americans as cargo, including the sloop Sally and the sloop Lark .
Health Officer's Register of Passengers' Names, 1772-1794. This register contains names of passengers and seamen arriving at the Port of Philadelphia as reported by the commanders of the vessels to the Health Officer. The following information is included in the register: date of arrival, name of vessel, name of captain, port of departure, and other pertinent information. Many of the vessels carried “negroes” and “servants.” For example, the Sloop Sally , commanded by Amherst Bartlett from Cape Francois, transported “Peter Desmarier and Mulato Jacob, Negro wench Mary and boy Azore;” on April 16, 1793 the Brig Industry , commanded by William Brewster from St. Thomas, transported Augustis Thomas and a Negro servant; and on August 9, 1793 the Sloop Lark , commanded by John Burrows from St. Martins, transported "John Richardson and negro servant."
Tonnage Registers, 1784-1789. These registers show the date of each ship’s entry into Philadelphia, name of vessel, master's name, place bound, name of owner or consignee, tonnage, and fees. Vessels such as the Sloop Polly and the Brig Phoebe are listed as having "negroes, mulattos, and servants" included in their cargoes.
RG-46 - RECORDS OF THE VALLEY FORGE PARK COMMISSION
Minute Books, 1893-1977. Arranged chronologically by date of meeting. A record of the meetings of the Valley Forge Park Commission from its inception in 1893 until it was turned over to the Federal Government in 1977. In the minute books for 1975 are facsimile copies of the “Bicentennial Broadside from Valley Forge Park,” No. 4 and 5, dated July 1775 and August 1775, respectively. In the July 2, 1777 broadside Alexander Hamilton declares: “The Congress has declared that no slaves should be enlisted, but several have already played an active part. The southern colonies most dependent on slavery have put no blacks in the field, while men in the northern and middle states frequently send slaves as substitutes, giving them their freedom with their muskets.” In a biographic note on James White, it states "tax records for Chester County show James White owned property from December 17, 1771 to September 10, 1778, to include ownership of one Negro slave." The August 2, 1775 issue states "Slaves try to enlist: Returned by British - Norfolk - the town has been greatly disturbed lately by the behavior of the slaves, who run off in the mistaken notion of finding shelter on the British men of war in the harbor. The naval officers have repeatedly assured the populace that no encouragement is given to slaves trying to join the English forces, and Captains McCartney and Squires receive the thanks of the community for the many they've returned."
RG-47 - RECORDS OF THE COUNTY GOVERNMENTS
Adams County, Prothonotary
Register of Negroes and Mulattoes, 1800-1820. [Images] Grouped alphabetically by surname of slave owner and thereunder chronologically by date of registration. This register is a record of children born to slaves in Adams County. Information provided for each child includes name, occupation, and place of residence of the slave owner; name, date of birth, and gender of the child; whether negro or mulatto; and the date registered
Bedford County, Prothonotary
Record of Negro Mulatto Slaves, 1780, 1798. [Images] Arranged chronologically by date the slave was registered. This roll documents slaves held in Bedford County. Information provided by each entry generally includes name and occupation of slave owner; slave’s name, age, and length of servitude; the classification “negro” or “mulatto,” and the date registered.
Record of Negro and Mulatto Children, 1821-1825, 1828. [Images] Arranged chronologically by date register was filed. Register of children who were born into slavery. Information provided for each child includes name and occupation of owner, date of birth, name of child and mother, date return was filed and date petition was filed with the Quarter Session Court.
Record of Negro and Mulatto Children and Miscellaneous Slave Records, [ca. 1780-1834]. [Images] Arranged chronologically by date of document. Petitions to keep the services of slaves past age twenty-eight; certificates of claim to runaway slaves; court orders to remove runaway slaves; a bill of sale; an apprentice indenture; and a record of “negro” and “mulatto” children registered.
Bucks County, Prothonotary
Register of Slaves, [ca. 1783-1830]. [Images] This volume documents the births of “negro” or “mulatto” children born to slave mothers. Information provided about each child includes name, occupation, and township of residence of the slave owner; name, gender, and either the age or date of birth of the child; and the date registered. This volume also contains records of manumissions, which may include information regarding names of the individuals, dates slaves were set free, physical descriptions, and circumstances regarding emancipation.
Centre County, Prothonotary
Birth Returns for Negroes and Mulattoes, 1803-1820. [Images] Unarranged. A record of slaves born in Centre County. Information includes the name of the slave and slave owner; his occupation of slave owner and township. One document records: “One male mulatto child named Peter, born on the twenty second of March one thousand eight hundred and three,” signed by owner James Rankin. The document further states “Chester County, Pennsylvania: Before me Richard Miles, Esquire, Clerk of the Court of General Quarter Session at the Peace of Said County appeared James Rankin of Potters Township, farmer, being duly sworn according to law deposith and saith that on the twenty second day of March one thousand eight hundred and three his negroe wench named Sall was delivered of a male mulatto child he calls by the name of Peter.”
Cumberland County, Board of County Commissioners
Returns for Negro and Mulatto Slaves, 1780, 1781, 1788-1811, 1813-1821, 1824-1826, 1833. [Images] Unarranged. Loose returns for negro and mulatto slaves in Cumberland County. Information includes slave owner’s name, township, occupation, and the name and age of the slave. Examples are:
“Robert Gibson of Carlisle in the County of Cumberland, Pennsylvania, came before me John Agnew Justice of the Peace for said County and delivered to me the names and age of all his slaves and desires the same be recorded as such: Phillis a mulatto slave for life blind of both eyes aged about 25 or 20 years, Poll a slave for life aged 3 years and one month,” signed by Robert Gibson, carpenter, August 22, 1781.
John Smith of Carlisle, Innkeeper, returned two mulatto servants; Humphrey aged two years and six moths, and James, aged two years and three months, as “my property,” signed John Smith, March 31, 1789.
The individual returns are preceded by a typed listing of the returns prepared by the court, giving the names of slave owner and slave/indenturer, and the slave’s date of birth. Examples of African Americans are:
No. 38; 1780, General William Thompson: James, born 1743; Nell, born 1744; Betty, born 1757; Venus, born 1760; Jacob, born 1774; Perus, born 1774; and Sam, born 1779.
No. 2; 1780, Robert Gibson: Phillis, born 1780.
No. 43; John Smith, Carlisle: Humphrey, mulatto , born October 1787; James, born January 1788.
Clerk of Courts, Slave Returns, 1780, 1789, 1814. [Images] Unarranged. Loose returns for slaves living in Cumberland County. Information includes name of slave owner, county and township, slaveowner’s occupation, and name, sex, and age of slave. An example: William Duncan of Hopewell Township in Cumberland County reports Toma, a female slave for life, aged about 22 years. Signed by William Duncan on October 11, 1780.
Birth Records for Negroes and Mulattoes, 1788-1826. [Images] Arranged chronologically by date of document. This series primarily documents the records of births of “negro” or “mulatto” children in Fayette County. In addition to birth returns and certificates of slave registry from other counties, miscellaneous single items are also included. The Birth Returns were prepared after the passage of the 1780 Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery in Pennsylvania. Information provided includes the township of residence, date of birth, the names of the mother and the children born, the name and occupation of the individual whose property they were considered, and the name of the notary. These records were filed years after the individual’s birth and numerous individuals could be listed on one return. The Certificates of Slave Registry from other counties document slaves brought into the county from Cumberland, Lancaster, Washington, and Westmoreland counties. Information includes the date registry information was filed with the appropriate courthouse, the names and township of the owner, the sex and age of the slave, and sometimes the slave’s date of birth and mother’s name. The group of miscellaneous single items includes such materials as a request of name alteration (the slave’s registered name was “Lucy,” however her mother called “Luisa”), an extract from the record of slaves registered by Hugh Laughlin, a petition of George Mannypenny for extension of his slave’s servitude because she had a child, and an exemplification indenture, which was a legal office copy of a deed that was recorded to be as valid in a court of law as the original deed. Information provided in such documents includes the names of parties involved and the dates of the documents or court actions.
Lancaster County, Clerk of Courts
Returns of Negro and Mulatto Children Born After the Year 1780, 1788-1793. [Images] Unarranged. A record of individual slave returns for Lancaster County. Information includes name of slave owner and his occupation, township, name of slave or servant, sex and color. Some returns may further describe the slave’s color and sex. For example, William Smith, a farmer living in Earl Township owned one mulatto boy named Benn who was born on December 19, 1787. According to this return, Benn actually belonged to William Smith’s daughter, Margaret Smith, who was underage and residing with Smith.
Index to Slaves, 1780-1834. [Images] Arranged chronologically by date of return and thereunder alphabetically by slave owner’s name. An index to slave returns in Lancaster County. Information includes slave owner's name and page number on which original return can be found.
Washington County, Recorder of Deeds
Negro Register, 1782-1851 (bulk 1782-1820). [Images] Arranged alphabetically by surname of slave owner. Provides the name of the slave owner, his township, and the name and age of the slave. An example: James Bell of Peters Township, one boy named Flanders, 9 years of age; William Campbell of Hopewell Township, one girl named Hajar, 14 years of age.
RG-48 - RECORDS OF THE MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENTS
Lancaster County, Prothonotary
Mayor's Registry of Colored Persons, 1820-1849. [Images] Registry arranged chronologically, index arranged alphabetically. A register of African Americans in the City of Lancaster, Lancaster County. Information provided includes: name, sex, marital status (spouse's name where applicable), age, residence, occupation, number of children, and date of registry entry.
MG-2 - BUSINESS RECORDS COLLECTION, 1681-1963. Ledgers, journals, daybooks, and related records of Pennsylvania turnpike, canal, and railroad companies, iron forges and furnaces, etc. The following volumes contain references to African Americans:
Accounts of Iron Forges and Plantations, 1681, 1737-1913
Time and Coal Book, Rents, May 7, 1789- June 1, 1793 . On page 1, under the heading “Sundry Grains and Threshing,” an entry dated July 30, 1791 reads "threshed by John Epply and Black George." Under “Contra Accounts” appears an entry for September 3, 1790 recording “Cash paid Negro Cyrus, Cash paid-Negro George,” for March 9 1791: “Cash paid Black George,” for May 26, 1792: “Mulatto George paid him when he went to fair,” and for May 26, 1792: “Nancy Mulatto-paid her.”
Cash and Pig Book, July 4, 1789 - June 4, 1793. Under the heading “List of Working Hands ” for 1793 are listed “Negro George,” “Mulatto Nancy” and “Negro Cyrus.”
Berkshire Furnace, Berks County
Journals, 1767-1826 . The Journal for September-October, 1767 contains references to a “Negro Dan,” “Negro Perow,” “Negro Jack,” and “Mulatto Jo.”
Berkshire Furnace and Charming Forge
Ledgers, 1748-1898. For 1753 there are accounts for “Black Tom” and “Mulatto Jo,” for 1766-67 references to “Negro Cato,” “Mulatto David,” and “Mulatto Solomon,” for 1785-1787 references to “Negro Robin” and “Negro Ish,” and for 1789-1791 references to “Negro Robin,” and “Negro Ish.” One account shows that “Negro Robin and spouse” owed for a pair of shoes.
Elizabeth Furnace and Speedwell Forge, Brickerville, Lancaster County, 1764, 1829-1839.
Day Book, 1764, 1829-1836. Documents, store and individual accounts of workmen and slaves employed at Elizabeth Furnace and nearby Speedwell Forge. Among the slaves mentioned are Andrew Jack and Edward Jack. Book also includes mention of "a visit of George Washington, the slave," as well as other furnace and forge workmen and "negro" slaves.
Laurel Furnace, Mount Braddock, Fayette County, 1804-1812.
Day Book, 1804-1812. Included in this book is a monthly record of employee reimbursement. Among the names listed are "Black Peter" and "Black Ben."
Robesonia Iron Company, Robesonia, Berks County, 1898-1912.
Ledger, 1898-1913. Employee accounts for Hiester Filbert's Store are found for the following African Americans: Matthew Carter, Henry Roberts, Warick Umbel [sic], Charles Walker, Noah Gordon, Adeson Payne, Lewis Rector, and John Walker. The names were verified as being African Americans by a living descendent, Floyd J. Umbles of Reading, in 1996.
MG-4 - COUNTY RECORDS COLLECTION, 1767-1918.
Tax Records: Assessor’s Duplicates and Returns, 1794-1847. Arranged by township, which includes the following municipalities: Antrim, Fannett, Franklin, Greene, Guilford, Hamilton, Letterkenny, Lurgen, Metal, Montgomery, Peters, Quincy, St. Thomas, Southampton, Warren and Washington. Entries list the name of the taxpayer, township of residence, and property owned (slaves, acres, and livestock); the valuation; and the amount of the tax that was paid. The returns for each township are grouped alphabetically according to taxpayer’s surname.
MG-6 - DIARIES AND JOURNALS COLLECTION, 1763-1938. Diaries, travel accounts, memoranda books, weather journals, etc. accessioned as individual items. Among these is:
Lydia J. Hunn, Manuscript Diary, 1875. Hunn, a Quaker, was the wife of retired Philadelphia merchant Ezekiel Hunn. She corresponded with many friends and wrote on many subjects. Included in this diary are references to the passage of the 1875 Civil Rights Bill. An entry dated March 2, 1875 states that President U.S. Grant signed the Civil Rights Bill on March 1, 1875. An entry dated June 12, 1875 tells of Hunn's trip to Easton and her visit to "E. Conigill's colored settlement" where there was a meeting house, school, store, and 250 people.
MG-7 - MILITARY MANUSCRIPTS COLLECTION, 1758-1931. Miscellaneous private papers concerning military service by Pennsylvanians from the French and Indian War through the Vietnam War. Materials from the Pennsylvania Militia and the Pennsylvania National Guard include correspondence, photographs, and personnel records. The following materials relate to African Americans:
#192, Camp Curtin Ledger, 1863, 1864. The ledger lists African Americans as contraband on August 20, 26, and September 3, 1864.
MG-8 - PENNSYLVANIA COLLECTION (MISCELLANEOUS), 1626-1993. Spanning the period from the seventeenth to the twentieth century, these miscellaneous papers pertain to legal, political, military, business, medical, educational, social, civic, and religious subjects. Topics covered include Democratic, Know-Nothing, Republican and Whig Politics; the French and Indian War, Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and Civil War; the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, Pittsburgh and Western Railroad Company, and Delaware and Hudson Canal Company; various forges and furnaces; colonial land policies; slavery; and the Society of Friends. Items referring to African Americans include:
# 33. Broomal, John M., Washington DC, letter to M. Wakeman, Esq., December 19, 1866. Expresses views on equality for African Americans and reconstruction in the South.
# 221. Proud, Robert, Philadelphia [ca. 1775-1800]. Robert Proud, of Philadelphia, authored "The History of Pennsylvania" (1797-1798). One of three notebooks contains his views on slavery, which he termed "Iniquitous Property," as well as some data on African American mortality rates from 1759-1796.
# 281. (Virginia) Assessments, 1778. A list of people assessed for property holdings, acres of land, slaves, and money.
# 344. Will of Andrew Hamilton, Philadelphia. August 2, 1741. In his will, Hamilton, a slave-owner, divides his slaves up among his children.
# 417. Tredell, Robert, Return of the Inhabitants of Horsham, Bucks County, 1756 (Incomplete). Tax list of people from Bucks County showing number of slaves owned.
# 433. Bond, of Luke Morris, to John Penn (Re: Negro Slave), November 10, 1770. Legal contract to insure that Morris would remove his slave, Will, accused of burglary, from the province or pay a penalty of $100.
# 704. Map of Gettysburg and Adams County Underground Railroad Routes, undated.
# 958. Scrapbook of Peter Richter of Selinsgrove, PA, [ca. 1860-1875]. Contains a newspaper article entitled "Slaves of Rebels Declared Free: a Proclamation."
# 1164. Colonel Edward Cook and Other Historical Papers. Contains a 1992 booklet and curriculum guide entitled “Freedom Community, 19th Century Black Pennsylvania” together with miscellaneous posters and photographs. Among the posters are portraits of Richard Allen, Thomas J. Bowens, Thomas Morris Chester, Fanny Jackson Coppin, William Howard Day, Martin Robinson Delaney, James Forton, Sr., Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield, Charlotte Grimke, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Francis Johnson, Absalom Jones, Jarena Lee, Gertrude Bustill Massell, Nathan Francis Massell, Christopher James Perry, Jr., Robert Purvis, William Still, Benjamin Tucker Tanner, and William Whipper.
MG-9 - PENNSYLVANIA WRITERS COLLECTION, 1899-1970. Notes, manuscripts and related materials pertaining to works of certain Pennsylvania authors, composers, and poets.
Burleigh, Harry T., Songs, 1895-1921. Harry T. Burleigh (1866-1949), was one of the nation's foremost popular singers and composers through the mid-twentieth century. Born in Erie in 1866, he was the grandchild of a blind ex-slave from Maryland. Burleigh's father passed away while he was still a young boy and he grew up in poverty with his grandfather. By the end of his life, he had composed and arranged over 250 songs, spoke five languages, and had attained international prominence. The Burleigh Collection features four photographs and thirteen compositions. Nine are original scores and four are published sheets of music, including: “Deep River,” ca. 1917., “Ethiopia’s Paean of Exaltation,” ca. 1921., “The Lord’s Prayer,” ca. 1920., “A Corn Song,” ca. 1920., “Go down, Moses,” ca. 1917., “By an’ By,” ca. 1917., “Oh, Didn’t it Rain,” ca. 1919., “Balm in Gilead,” ca. 1919., “Hard Trials,” ca. 1919.
Foster, Stephen Collins. Stephen Collins Foster (1826-1864) was born in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania and was one of American’s foremost composers of folksongs in the nineteenth century. Noted for his negro minstrel songs, he wrote and composed many enduring tunes. Included are the following compositions:
Songs, First Editions, c. 1851-1865, 1931.
“Farewell My Lilly Dear, “ published by Firth, Pond & Co., ca. 1851.
“Hard Times Come Again No More, “ published by Firth, Pond & Co., ca. 1854 No. 28.
“Old Folks at Home,” published by Firth, Pond & Co. 1ca. 1851.
Songs, Later Editions, 1848-1893, n.d.
“Camptown Races,” published by F. D. Benteen, ca. 1850.
“Farewell My Lilly Dear,” published by Firth, Pond & Co., ca. 1851.
“Hard times Come Again No More,” published by Wm. A. Pond & Co., ca. 1885; by Mrs. Wiley and Mrs. Marien Foster Welch, 1882.
“Oh! Susanna,” published by C. Holt, ca. 1848
“Old Black Joe,” published by McKinley Music Co., n.d.
“Massa’s In De Cold Ground,” published by Firth, Pond & Co., ca. 1852 (5th ed.).
“Uncle Ned,” published by G. Willig, ca. 1848.
“Way Down In Ca-i-Ro,” published by Pond & Co., ca. 1850.
“Nellie Was A Lady: A Beautiful Ethiopian Melody,” published Firth, Pond, & Co., ca. 1849 (10th ed.).
“Oh Boys, Carry Me Long: A Plantation Melody,” published by Firth, Pond & Co., ca. 1851 (20th ed.)
“Songs of the Sable Harmonists: Consisting of the Louisiana Belle, Away Down South, Oh! Susanna, Wake Up Jake or the Old Iron City, and Uncle Ned,” published O. Willy, ca. 1848.
Photographs, MSS From Notebook, Stephen C. Foster, n.d.
“Massa’s in De Cold Ground,” n.d.
“Old Black Joe,” n.d.
“Poor Uncle Tom Goodnight,” n.d.
“Way Down Upon de Old Plantation,” n.d.
“Hard Times Come Again No More,” n.d.
Songs, Compositions and Arrangements, (Foster Hall Rproduction), 1933 Set No. 261
“Away Down South”
“Better Times are Coming”
“De Camptown Races”
“Commence Ye Darkies All”
“Don’t Bet yer Money on de Shanghai”
“Hard times come again no more”
“Massa’s in de Cold Ground”
“My Budder Gum”
“Old Black Joe”
“Old Folks at Home”
“Old Uncle Ned”
“Ring de Banjo”
“A Soldier in de Colored Brigade”
“We Are Coming Father Abraham”
“Way Down in Ca-i-ro”
“The Great Baby Show, or the Abolitionist Show”
MG-11 - MAP COLLECTION, 1681-1973. More than one thousand historical maps are arranged into seven major sub-groups: (1) Colony and Commonwealth, (2) Counties, (3) Townships, (4) Cities and Boroughs, (5) Boundaries, Topography, Geology, Parks, (6) Transportation (Indian trails, roads and turnpikes, rivers and streams, canals, railroads, and airways, (7) Military and Battlefields (French and Indian War, Revolutionary War, Civil War). Many of the maps also indicate the locations of homes and other buildings, forges and furnaces, coal mines, gristmills, sawmills, lumber camps, etc. Although not identified as such, these maps can also be used to verify the locations of farms where African Americans lived as slaves or free persons, forges and iron furnaces that employed African Americans, and churches, businesses, schools, and homes owned by African Americans as well as African American graveyards. Map #327-1 Historical Map Adams County, L.E. Wilt, 1942 , identifies routes of the underground railroad.
MG-13 - JOHN ADLUM PAPERS, 1794-1816. John Adlum (1759-1836) was a Pennsylvania surveyor, land speculator and "Father of American Viticulture” (grape growing). One letter, dated February 22, 1820, found in the series General Correspondence, 1794-1836, is from Thomas Barker to his son, Luke W. Barker. Luke asked his father if he had heard from a Dr. T------, who was making employment arrangements for "Negro" slaves. Apparently, Dr. T. did not pay for the previous use of Barker's "Negro."
MG-17 - SAMUEL PENNIMAN BATES PAPERS, 1853-1895. Samuel P. Bates (1827-1902) of Meadville, prominent for many years as an educator, was in 1864 appointed state historian and charged with preparing a history of the Pennsylvania Volunteers. He contributed to the volume of historical studies relating to the Civil War with the History of Pennsylvania Volunteers , (1869-1871) and Battle of Chancellorsville , (1883). His papers are mainly research materials and manuscripts for these publications and also include manuscripts for the History of Crawford County , History of Green County , and Martial Deeds of Pennsylvania . Included are a letter book, 1872-73; a letterpress book, 1871-71, containing biographical material on Pennsylvania governors; sermons, 1853-90; and photographs. Also included is a listing of the United States Colored Troops who were trained at Camp William Penn, Chelton Hills, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Bates made several references to slavery in his sermons, stating one “should patiently and prayerfully study his word and approach the subject (principles) and bigotry and all those hindrances which hampers and bind us to low...thought.” In such sermons he frequently refers to the overthrow of slavery and the “sin of slavery.”
MG-19 - SEQUESTERED BAYNTON, WHARTON, AND MORGAN PAPERS, 1725-1827. The Baynton, Wharton, and Morgan Papers are the correspondence and business papers of the famous trading house of colonial Philadelphia that began about 1757 as Baynton and Wharton, a partnership of John Baynton and Samuel Wharton. The firm was involved in trade with Europe, the West Indies, other mainland colonies, and settlers in the western regions of the continent. Its papers are rich in information covering the years between the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. There is a particularly heavy focus on the early development of the Illinois country, on the fur trade, and on the supply of provisions for military posts, and they generally shed light on the role played by this firm in western expansion.
Peter Baynton Papers, 1725-1745
Letter Book, 1729. Includes Peter Baynton’s correspondence with James Young, June 28 and July 14, 1729, which refers to various slave transactions, recording both the physical conditions and the deaths of slaves.
Baynton, Wharton, and Morgan Papers, General Correspondence, 1757-1787
Correspondence of Baynton, Wharton, and Morgan, A-Z, 1763-1783. Includes many letters pertaining to commercial activities with merchants in South Carolina, Alabama, Jamaica, Martinique and Lisbon. For instance, correspondence from Thomas Brignall of Port Royal and St. Peters, Martinique from 1761 through 1762 provide information on slavery in the West Indies. Also included are letters concerning plans for Baynton, Wharton and Morgan to establish a trading house on the island. See: Thomas Brignall to Baynton, Wharton, and Morgan (firm), January 22, 1762; February 16, 1762; March 7, 1762; April 13, 1762; and May 25, 1762.
Miscellaneous Correspondence, A-Z, 1759-1799. Includes a record of “Imports and Exports of Merchandise the Produce of South Carolina, 1760-1766.” This record enumerates slave sales transacted by the Baynton, Wharton and Morgan firm for these years.
Baynton, Wharton, and Morgan Papers, Business Accounts, 1746-1776
Baynton, Wharton and Morgan Accounts, 1762-1776, Journals, 1754-1765.
Account with the Plantation (Kaskaskia and Ft. Charters), 1768-1770. Plantation Account Book contains two entries that list “3 shirts for Negroes” and “Two Negro Men and Negro Boy.”
Baynton, Wharton and Morgan Accounts, 1762-1776, Ledgers, 1766-1771.
Ledger, 1767-1768. Covers sale of “Negroes” at Kaskaskia (in present day Illinois), December 9, 1767 to October 29, 1768, and also contains a list of "negroe bonds" bearing interest at 10% from December 9, 1767 - May 6, 1768.
MG-28 - JAMES BUCHANAN COLLECTION, 1815-1863. James Buchanan (1791-1868) of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania was President of the United States, 1857-1861, a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, 1814-1816, a United States Representative, 1821-1831, a United States Senator, 1834-1845, and was President Polk’s Secretary of State from 1845-1849.
This collection contains a letter from then Senator Buchanan to Ovid F. Johnston, Esquire, dated February 2, 1837 regarding a proposal to introduce a bill in Congress appropriating public money for the colonization of American slaves in Africa. In this letter, Buchanan cautioned against raising the proposal made by the colonization society.
MG-32 - SAMUEL CALVIN PAPERS, 1850-1856. Correspondence of Samuel Calvin (1811-1890), lawyer in Hollidaysburg and member of the United States House of Representatives, 1849-1851. Included in his correspondence file are:
Letter dated September 6, 1850 from W. A. McCarthy requesting a copy of an 1850 speech given by the Honorable Daniel Webster on the slavery question.
Letter dated September 19, 1856 from I. T. Mathews discussing the political scene at the time and “the whigs and the slavery question,” with references to Daniel Webster, Henry Clay and Thaddeus Stevens.
MG-33 - SIMON CAMERON COLLECTION, 1816, 1835-1875. Simon Cameron, Abraham Lincoln's first Secretary of War, was noted as a nineteenth-century Pennsylvania political boss. He also built a network of railroads in Pennsylvania and united them into the Northern Central Railroad. Cameron died in 1889, and this collection contains a printed facsimile of his last will and testament. Dated October 2, 1886, the will states “. . . Thirteenth, I give to my colored servant John Campbell one thousand dollars, provided he remains with me until the time of my death.”
MG-38 - COPE FAMILY PAPERS, 1793-1937. Correspondence of three generations of an upper middle class Pennsylvania Quaker family having branches in Philadelphia, Chester, Bucks, and Susquehanna counties. William Drinker Cope (b. 1798), son of Thomas P. Cope (1768-1864), kept journals of his travels from 1813 through 1826. In an entry dated September 8, 1813 in Volume l, William tells of his journey to Lancaster to visit his grandfather, Caleb Cope, stating "when I got pretty near his house, I saw a negro as complete a simpleton to appearance as I ever saw." Included also are some newspaper advertisements: "CASH FOR NEGROES . . . ."
MG-53 - REAH FRAZER PAPERS, 1739-1879 (bulk 1821-1856). Correspondence, legal papers, and accounts of Reah Frazer (1804-1856), prominent attorney and for many years a major political figure in Lancaster County. Also included are business and family papers of his father, William Clark Frazer (1776-1838) who also served as a Lancaster attorney and supreme court judge in the Territory of Wisconsin, 1836-38, and his grandfather, William Frazer (1753-1817), Revolutionary War veteran and justice of the peace in Newcastle County, Delaware. Among the many legal documents, accounts and letters are some that provide evidence of the treatment of fugitive and freed African Americans in the Lancaster County area. The personal papers of the three Frazer men also contain accounts and legal papers relating to individual African Americans, 1775-1831, giving insight into their living conditions:
Legal Papers of William Frazer, William Clark Frazer and Reah Frazer
Accounts, (including notes, bills, receipts, judgments), 1774-1818 (including Negro, 1801, 1814). Among these materials are two items concerning African Americans dated 1801 and 1814.
Cases (including Schuylkill Navigation 1847). The case papers contain information for the years 1760, 1803, 1804, 1827, 1829 regarding arrests of African Americans, a runaway slave case, and the selling of African American children.
Notes of Arbitration, 1821-1839. This file includes detailed descriptions of both civil and criminal cases, statements of witnesses, references to previous cases, settlements and verdicts. Items relating to African Americans are found in the 1828-1833 and 1838-1839 folders.
Notices to Appear in Court. Writs or summons to appear before the courts of Lancaster County. Included is a Capias writ issued by the state of Delaware, New Castle County, to Negro William Anderson in 1789 and a court summons issued to John Ingersom (a free Negro) of New Castle County, Delaware in 1815.
MG-54 - J. ALEXANDER FULTON PAPERS, 1846-1900 (bulk 1846-1861). Correspondence of J. Alexander Fulton (b. 1822), a Kittanning lawyer, who became a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1853, and was an active figure in state Democratic politics prior to his relocation to Delaware in 1865. Included in the correspondence are letters from John W. Forney, chairman of the Democratic State Central Committee and Governor William Bigler, 1842-1855, discussing their opposition to slavery. Also found is a scrapbook covering the years 1861-1866 that contains a newspaper article on the American Anti-Slavery Society and its final convention.
MG-56 - JOHN WHITE GEARY COLLECTION, 1847-1873. John White Geary (1819-1873), a native of Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania, held many military and public service positions and served as Governor of Pennsylvania, 1867-1873. Most of the 32 letters were written to his brother, the Reverend Edward R. Geary, an eminent Presbyterian clergyman who served in the Oregon territory for much of his life. Two letters to Edward discuss African Americans.
A letter dated March 5, 1849, from New Grenada, Panama, discusses the town, Chagies: "In many respects the town and its houses resemble a large collection of half decayed hay-stacks. The inhabitants are all black, being negroes, and mestigoes, a mixture of negroes and indians." Another letter dated November 23, 1837, from France, speaks of the elections in Kansas and the "proslavery party" and "constitution with slavery vs. constitution without slavery." In this letter, John Geary expressed his concern about the influence of the southern states on Kansas politics and the subsequent impact on the political situation in Oregon.
MG-63 - GROSS FAMILY PAPERS, 1805-1918. Legal papers, accounts, correspondence, and deeds relating chiefly to the business activities of David Gross of Winfield, Union County. Included is a book advertisement reading: "1856 - Political Discussions - 1887, ...Legislative, Diplomatic, and Popular, upon great questions of national and local interest, including the Anti-Slavery struggle, the issues of the war, the reconstruction period, Chinese Immigration, Civil Service Reform, the great labor question, prohibition...By James G. Blaine, signed by H.A. Dutwiler as agent."
MG-64 - HALDEMAN-WRIGHT FAMILY COLLECTION, 1789-1899. Correspondence, legal papers, accounts, and memorabilia of the Haldeman and Wright families of Cumberland and Dauphin counties, including the papers of Jacob M. Haldeman, iron manufacturer, investor in real estate, president of the Harrisburg Bank and the Harrisburg Bridge Company, founder of the Harrisburg Car Company, director of the Dauphin Deposit Bank, and founder of Haldemanstown (New Cumberland). References to African Americans are found in the following items:
Indenture Agreement, October 31, 1808, between Margaret Bayle and a Negro servant Rachel, stating that Rachel wished to voluntarily go to Maryland with Margaret. Rachel’s parents also signed the agreement. Furthermore, the agreement states that Rachel must remain a servant until her twenty-eighth year of age.
Bill of Sale, April 18, 1811 , Margaret Bayle sold fourteen-year-old slave to Samuel Jacobs, Esq., for the sum of $200.
Bill of Sale, December 11, 1809 , Esther Brisben sold a six-year-old Negro girl named Esther to Jacob Haldeman for $120.
Certificate of Registry, October 29, 1806, for a male Negro, Abner, submitted by William McClean, a farmer. Abner was born in August, 1781 and was officially registered March 31, 1789.
Ledger Book , which contains the accounts of three African Americans, John Woodward, George Johnson, and George (no last name). The monthly wages, and credit for cash or supplies are shown (pages 43, 47, 57).
MG-66 - EDWARD HAND PAPERS, 1777-1788. Lancaster physician Edward Hand (1744-1802) served with distinction in the Revolutionary War….The following are letters or communications relating to African Americans:
General Correspondence, 1777-1784. A Letter, June 5, 1778 from Thomas Wilson to Mrs. Hand talks about the status of the G.H. Plantation and that "the Negro Bob wants shirt and trousers," asking the person to whom the communication is being sent "if you send linen my wife will make them". A subsequent communication from Jasper Yeates of Lancaster to Thomas Wilson, included with this letter and dated June 6, 1778 reports that "stuff for the boy's shirt and trousers" will be sent and that "Mrs. Wilson can spare a little...cloth for that purpose."
MG-72 - HIESTER FAMILY PAPERS, 1750-1865. These papers represent three generations of a Pennsylvania German family descending from the pioneer Daniel Hiester (1713-1795), a family which played an important role in the political life of the Commonwealth and particularly in the counties of Berks and Dauphin. Gabriel Hiester (1749-1824), a well-educated farmer of Bern Township, Berks County, was a member of the Constitutional Convention which framed Pennsylvania’s State Constitution in 1776. He sat in the General Assembly of Pennsylvania for many terms and served as state senator for Berks and Dauphin counties, 1795-1796, 1805-1812…
Among these papers is a copy of a declaration of the theft of services of a Negro slave that was filed with the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, April-June 1769. The case concerned John Lesher and Conrad Reiff of Berks County. John Lesher took a male Negro slave "Joe", who was the property of Conrad Reiff, and illegally employed him for his own personal use from June 1, 1761 until May 1, 1766. Reiff requested a damage payment amounting to sixty pounds.
In a letter dated March 16, 1813, Jacob P. Kershner of Hagerstown, Maryland wrote: "Dear Sir, I shall write you these few lines to inform you that father on his arrival at Readingtown, is the bearer of a letter to you and your father which I expect he will do...about the conveyance of the Negro eunuch...These few lines is merely to let you know that he has a letter for you and your father."
An undated broadside entitled "Front Street Circus" includes in the listing of activities: “Comic Negro song...by Mr. Boyce, ‘Settin on a Rail.’”
MG-81 - McALLISTER FAMILY PAPERS, 1775-1850. These papers include numerous items from Col. Richard McAllister (1725-1795), founder of Hanover in York County, and his descendants, many of whom were key figures in York, Lancaster, and Dauphin Counties from the Revolutionary War period into the middle of the nineteenth century. References to African Americans include an “Inventory of the Goods and Chattels, Rights and Credits of Richard McAllister, October 9, 1795,” that lists Negroes included in McAllister’s estate who were bequeathed to his children on his death and notes on their monetary value. Also present is a Letter of Receipt dated October 15, 1795 by Patrick and Nancy McAllister Hayes for two Negroes, (Poll and Jonathon), left to them by Richard McAllister. Other items include a Double Entry Ledger, 1790-1798, of Capt. Archibald McAllister and the Cash Book, February 12, 1794 - July 28, 1796, which contain entries that document store purchases made by African American workers.
MG-90 - JOHN R. MILLER COLLECTION OF CUMBERLAND COUNTY GOVERNMENT RECORDS, 1768-1914. This collection of Cumberland County government records includes election returns, 1808-1912; lists of voters, 1808-1889; oaths of office, 1784-1914; assessors oaths, 1768-1882; licenses applied for and granted, 1850-1855; letters and papers pertaining to bridges, 1812-43; miscellaneous papers relating to bonds, estates, and tavern licenses, 1769-1837; returns made by owners of slaves, 1780; court proceedings, 1780-1875; lists of grand and reverse juries, 1806-1856; papers relating to the education of paupers, educator’s bills and receipts, 1807-1836; tax returns, 1770-1843; tax duplicates, 1783-1798; county commissioners’ receipts, 1780-1887; bounty receipts for foxes and wolves, 1774-1844; viewers of road receipts, 1804-1825; treasurer’s receipts, 1807-1849; and military records, 1845-1846. Scattered through these are items which pertain to slaveholdings, the administering of family slaves and slave crimes.
Negro Slave Name & Age Returns, 1780, 1791, 1828. The returns are arranged by the date of the document and usually give the slave's name, sex, age and owner's name. Occasionally, the slave's job is mentioned and quite often the owner's residence and occupation appears as well.
Lists of Pauper Children, 1832-1835. Lists of poor children in Cumberland County. Information given includes the name of the child, age, township, and date of list. Occasionally, children are described as being “col’d.” African American children listed for Carlisle, in 1835, are: George Boyer, 5; Ann Campbell, 7; Henry J. Clelence, 7; Samuel Clelence, 9; Catherine Diggs, 9; John Green, 5; Kisigh Hamilton, 6; Alfred Hawkins, 5; Ann Hawkins, 8; Andrew Lancaster, 5; Samuel Lawson, 7; John Powel, 9; Harriett Sanders, 8; Margaret Smithy, 8; Eliza Amy Watson, 7; Homer Watson, 8; Elenore Whiten, 6; Isaac Whiten, 9; Mary Ann Whiten, 8; Nathan Whiten, 6; David Woods, 5 and Mary Jane Woods, 8.
Election Records, 1779-1914
Voters’ Lists, 1808-1903 . These lists provide names of qualified voters by township or city ward. African Americans listed include: Upper Allen Township, 1871: William Claborne; Shippensburg, 1871: Daniel Right, Henry Johnston, Isaac Russ, Robert Gray, and David Baer; Carlisle, 1 st Ward, 1888: Robert Lane, Robert Stevenson, William Streets, John Alexander, Eli Anderson, Henry Taylor, Thomas Kohn, Abraham Parker, William Scott, James Anderson, and Ben Lindsey; New Cumberland, 1889: J.W. Johnson; Carlisle, 4 th Ward, 1889: James Alexander, Elias Hodge, William Hodge, William J. Jackson, Joseph Jordan, Robert Jordan, John Lane, William Peck, Noah Pinkney, H. C. Whiting, and J. W. Whiting. The 1871 and 1888 lists identify "col[ored]" voters, but the 1889 rolls do not indicate race.
Abstracts of Wills in Will Book “A”, (Photostats), 1750-68. Abstracts of wills of various individuals living in Cumberland County. Included are:
Robert Dunning: 4/9/1750 - 7/24/1750, Book A, page 1: “Slaves: Whiteball and Philis.”
John Harris, Peters Township: 5/29/1759, Book A, page 60: “Negro woman, Jean.”
Philip Davis: 5/15/1753 - 11/6/1760: Book A, page 71: “Negro Mary, Negro George, Negro Dinah, Negro Will, Negro Kitt, Negro Jean.”
James Johnston, Antrius Township: 7/25/1764 - 3/5/1765: Book A, page 130: “Negro boy, Jeremire.”
Nathaniel Wilson, Letterkenny Township: 8/22/1765 - 11/25/1765: Book A, page 138: “Negro slave, Warwick “
James Moore, Middletown Township: 12/31/1766: Book A. page 167: “Gaven McKee (will give freedom if...at 21 years).”
Robert Elliot, Peters Township: 5/23/1768: Book A. page 190: “...his Negro woman.”
Treasurer's Accounts, 1768, 1768-1875, 1782-1807, 1904. Warrants signed by the County Commissioners for payment of expenses incurred by county operations. Under the heading “Cumberland County: to Thomas Alexander Gasler” is cited “Negro Julius for burglary to subsistence from 25th, December 1788 to 19th, June 1789 both days included makes 177 days at 6 pence for day” and “Negro Harry on suspicion of murder subsistence from 25th, July 1788 until 24th, January 1789 in all 189 days at 6 pence for day.” Also part of the series is the following subseries:
Court Proceedings, Costs and Fees, 1780-1875. Documentation of constable fees paid by the County for court proceedings. Under the heading “List of Indictments for Sheriff Cryer” is cited “Republic vs. Negro Abraham: Indictment of Larceny, October 1797, tried & convicted,” and “Republic vs. Negro Jack Robison: Indictment of Larceny, convicted on submission.”
MG-92 - SEQUESTERED JOHN MITCHELL PAPERS, 1758-1781. John Mitchell was a Philadelphia merchant and Deputy Quartermaster General during the American Revolution. The papers of Mitchell, and his brother and business partner, Randall Mitchell, were sequestered by the Commonwealth, ca. 1785, during an investigation of the Mitchells' activities as a contractor with the Pennsylvania Navy. Included are Deputy Quartermaster General Mitchell’s letter book, 1780-81; and business letters, 1762-1777, pertaining to merchandising, prices, and commodities such as chocolate, feathers, rum, coffee, tea, molasses, paper and slaves. Items relevant to African Americans are correspondence of Thomas Hovender, 1774, relating to the sale of his “negroes,” and receipts and vouchers, 1736-1770, with entries on African American slaves and workers.
MG-93 - MOORE FAMILY PAPERS, 1749-1934 (bulk 1749-1887). Family correspondence, 1807-1882, legal papers, 1749-1887, and miscellaneous items, 1800-1934, primarily concerning members of the Moore and Parker families of Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
Legal Papers. Miscellaneous deeds, wills, and other family legal papers. Included is a slave return from John Moore, a West Pennsboro farmer and a will of William Moore. The slave return lists Jack, a male Negro slave for life, 15 years; Joe, a male Negro slave for life, 15 years; Ann a female Negro, born November, 1785; Tobe; Hannah, a female Negro child, born May 1797; Cosey, born October 31, 1799; and Tom a male Negro slave for life, 21 years. The will of William Moore cites “Bequeath unto my son James My Negro Man Sampson, age about 30 years being a slave for life.
MG-98 - ORBISON FAMILY PAPERS, 1750-1902. These papers are primarily the business records of William Orbison (1777-1857), Huntingdon lawyer, founder of Orbisonia, president of the Huntingdon Bank and also of the Huntingdon Academy; of Ellen Matilda Orbison Harris (1816-1902), daughter of William Orbison, wife of Dr. John Harris (d. 1881), and secretary of the Philadelphia Ladies’ Aid Society, an organization devoted to the relief of soldiers during the Civil War; and of William A. Thompson d. [ca. 1805], a Huntingdon attorney associated with William Orbison.
Papers of William Orbison, 1777-1857
Legal Papers. Miscellaneous legal papers relating to land transactions, court dockets, trials, and wills. Included is item 22, an undated memorandum on Scipio Young and other slaves who belonged to a Mr. Garnett.
MG-104 - POTTS FAMILY PAPERS, 1704-1853. Papers of a family prominent in Pennsylvania's early iron industry, containing correspondence, business papers, and legal records relating to Charming Forge, Hopewell Forge, Mount Joy Forge, Colebrook Furnace, and Warrick Furnace. Notable correspondents include Stephen Chambers, Robert Coleman, Curtis Grubb, Edward Lewis, Richard Sheldon, and Jasper Yeates.
General Correspondence, 1772-1852. Letter dated March 30, 1738, from Jasper Yeates, Esquire, to Odwin Burd, Esquire, refers to the "work of slaves to be delivered in May."
Accounts, 1732-1845, undated, (include. Negro Slaves). An account page for Mount Joy Forge, dated March 1762, of Thomas Potts and Company, states: "Negros Stephen’s Team: 80 lb.; Negros Pomp Hector & Dobb: 300 lbs.; Slaves: 15 lbs."
MG-109 - GEORGE W. SCHULTZ COLLECTION, 1875, 1927-1947.
This miscellaneous collection of typed excerpts and transcripts from newspapers and letters pertaining to events of the colonial and Revolutionary War period includes items on the development of furnaces and forges. Included is a paper entitled "Crusades and Crooks of War Times - John Brown" that makes references to African Americans.
MG-113 - LEWIS SLIFER SHIMMELL PAPERS, 1873-1931 (bulk 1873-1915). Dr. Lewis Slifer Shimmell (1852-1914) of Harrisburg was an educator and author. The collection contains correspondence, addresses, photographs and published works.
An address of February 12, 1909, "Lincoln's Great and World-Wide Work," tells of Abraham Lincoln's belief and desire that all men should be free and that slavery should be abolished. Another address of December 18, 1911, entitled "Abbey's Pennsylvania As Canvas: Apotheosis of Pennsylvania" discusses Thaddeus Stevens and mentions his support of the African American and the abolition of slavery.
Shimmell's book A Short History of Pennsylvania , discusses the Friends and their philosophy "that no one should buy slaves except to Free." Also included is information on the Underground Railroad, race riots, and the Convention of 1833 which formed the American Antislavery Society, and the burning of the Society’s headquarters, Pennsylvania Hall, in 1838.
MG-115 - MRS. LAWRENCE M. C. SMITH COLLECTION, 1775-1925 (1823-1874). Items pertaining to Pennsylvania's constitutions including summaries, reports, speeches, and related legislation that were collected by Mrs. Lawrence M. C. Smith, a member of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1955-1963. Included in this collection is a January 10, 1823 issue of the Philadelphia newspaper The National Gazette & Literary Register . Among the advertisements in this paper is an advertisement for "Negro cloths and linseys."
MG-117 - JOHN SPENCER PAPERS, 1828-1861. Letters, newspapers, etc., of John Spencer (1801-1884), a native of Huntingdon County who was an itinerant Methodist minister in the Pittsburgh Conference, 1828-1852, and resident of Oregon after 1852. Among his ministerial notes and papers, 1828-1847, are copies of newspapers containing references to African Americans. They are: the Wellsville Patriot , July 16, 1861, featuring an article: "Repeal of the Fugitive Slave Law," and an advertisement in the Pittsburgh Christian , August 20, 1845, announcing the publication of a book entitled Minstrel of Zion, A Book of Religious Songs, Accompanied with Appropriate Music , by W. Hunter and Samuel Wakefield. Also included is an envelope on which the following information is written: "Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Subscriptions -1847, to buy & free a slave and her children. Her husband, Mr. J. Hughes, already free, asks for help." The envelope contains a list of individuals who gave John Hughes money and the amount contributed by each one.
MG-121 - JOHN STROHM PAPERS, 1816-1874. Correspondence of John Strohm (1793-1884), a Lancaster teacher and surveyor who served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, 1831-1833.
Correspondence. Contains a letter dated January 15, 1836 from Columbia lumber merchant and African American abolitionist Stephen Smith denouncing the “commerce in human flesh,” and pleading with Strohm to “uphold the rights of man” and to “secure such laws as will aid in securing and protecting the citizens of this commonwealth from those acts of popular violence from which you are aware I am a common sufferer;” a letter from Isaac Strohm, a relative of John Strohm, August 11, 1839, mentions abolition in Ohio; and a letter from “Passmore,” August 4, 1841 contains a poem critical of slavery and territorial expansion.
Memorials/Petitions. These are position papers submitted with a petition for proposing amendments to the Constitution of Pennsylvania. The file contains a “Memorial to the Honorable, the Delegates of the People of Pennsylvania in Convention at Philadelphia Assembled, January 6, 1838,” that was “signed on behalf of the people of color in the city and county of Philadelphia (by) Charles W. Gardner (and) Fredk. A. Hinton.” The two signers of this controversial petition were African American abolitionists involved in the Negro Convention Movement and other African American self-help activities. Also contained in this file is a “memorial to the Convention to withhold from Negroes the right of Suffrage, (Wm.) Meredith, January, 1838,” and a “Memorial to the Convention on the Subject of Negro Suffr age - Citizens of Philadelphia, (Wm.) Meredith, January, 1838,” both of which are anti-African American in their content.
MG-125 - EDWARD SHIPPEN THOMPSON COLLECTION, 1684-1941 (bulk 1746-1904). Born in 1869, Edward Shippen Thompson of Thompsontown, Juniata County, was an avid genealogist and local historian who assembled an impressive collection of family papers and genealogical notes. The collection chiefly consists of materials relating to the Thompson family, founders of Thompsontown. For more than a century this family remained prominent in the commercial and social life of that community and important portions of the papers also deal with the marriage-connected Burd family of Dauphin County, Shippen family of Lancaster County, and Patterson family of Lancaster and Juniata Counties. The collection includes the following letter and newspaper advertisement that refer to African Americans:
Burd and Shippen Families
A letter to Edward Shippen Thompson from Elsie Burd Peale, of November 11, 1828, refers to the negro “Phyllis” and a letter of April 29, 1854 concerns the death and burial of “Phyllis”.
The following advertisement was taken from a newspaper and used as a backing for a cover of The Freeman's Journal and Philadelphia Daily Advertisement , No. 1076, September 5, 1807: "Eight Dollars Reward - Ran away...from Hopewell, Huntingdon County, New Jersey, a dark mulatto boy,...calls himself Eben Chambers..."
MG-137 - JASPER YEATES FAMILY PAPERS, 1726-1830 (1761-1812). Correspondence, accounts, and legal papers of Jasper Yeates (1745-1817), Lancaster attorney, chairman of Lancaster County Committee of Correspondence, 1775, captain of the Lancaster County Associators, 1776, a Commissioner for Indian Affairs, 1776, and associate justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, 1791-1817. Also found are materials relating to Jasper’s father, Philadelphia merchant John Yeates.
Accounts, 1725-1804, and undated. Included is a document dated July 19, 1774 signed by Calvin Cooper concerning the "trial of capital offenses committed by negroes in the province of Lancaster County” and “of a mulatto slave named Ester who mothered a bastard child.”
MG-139 - FRANK W. MELVIN PAPERS, 1708-1961 (bulk 1820-61). Papers of Frank W. Melvin (1884-1961), a Philadelphia lawyer who held many important legal and historical positions in Pennsylvania. He served on the Executive Committee of the Pennsylvania 300th Anniversary Commission, 1937-1938, was Chairman of the Pennsylvania Historical Commision, 1935-1939 and Chairman of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1956-1961. This collection contains correspondence, reports, minutes, copies of legislation, invitations, programs, newspaper clippings, booklets, pamphlets, photographs, and maps. The following booklets pertain to African Americans.
Gustavus Hesselius, 1682-1755, tells of the life of this Pennsylvania artist and craftsman, stating that he built the first pipe organ in America. It further states that he willed his daughter Lydia “my Negroe Woman Pegg,” and “my Negroe man Tom.” His son, John, married a wealthy widow and spent the rest of his days on an “extensive plantation ‘Bellefield,’ on the Severn River near Annapolis, where he boasted many more slaves than his father’s “Pegg” and “Tom.”
The Horse-Shoe Trail, identifies the following places that have an African American association: Hershey Industrial School, Hopewell Park and Hopewell Furnace, Joanna Furnace, Elizabeth Furnace, Cornwall Furnace, Governor Dick Hill, and the Swatara Creek area. For additional references to African Americans at these furnaces see MG-2, Business Records Collection.
MG-142 - JOHN R. HAUDENSHIELD PAPERS, 1901-1962. Chiefly papers of John R. Haudenshield of Carnegie (1888-1959), member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from Allegheny County, 1939-40, 1943-49, and member of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1951-56.
The Settler, a Quarterly Magazine of History and Biography , published by Bradford County Historical Society, Towanda, April 1953, included "The Underground Railroad and Its Stations in Bradford County,” by Mrs. George A. Dayton.
MG-143 - SARAH R. MESEROLL COLLECTION, 1733-1956, [undated]. Received from the estate of Sarah R. Meseroll of Washington, D.C., this collection contains papers of the Preston family, chiefly of Buckingham and Plumstead Townships in Bucks County, with a branch located in Stockport in Wayne County. The collection contains correspondence, legal papers invoices and receipts, essays, poetry, books, lecture notes, and newspapers from several cities. Of interest in this collection are the following anti-slavery newspapers and magazines:
New York Tribune , May 2, 1865, article entitled “End of Truce - Negotiations in Progress - meeting of the Colored People of Raleigh.”
New York Daily Tribune , May 5, 1865, article on “Colored Troops in Richmond.”
Sunday Times-Advertiser , Trenton, New Jersey, July 25, 1915, article entitled “Crosswicks was once an important station on the ‘Underground Railway’ through which fugitive slaves were permitted to make their escape.”
MG-153 - MARLIN E. OLMSTED PAPERS, 1874-1913. Scrapbooks of Marlin E. Olmsted (1847-1913), a Harrisburg lawyer who served as a Republican member in the United States House of Representatives, 1897-1912. Included in these scrapbooks are numerous newspaper articles referring to slavery in Pennsylvania.
The North American , September 9, 1911, “Christiana Recalls Riot, One of Causes of Civil War” (subtitled “Lancaster County Commemorates Battle of Fugitive Slaves and Masters - Governor Tener Comments on Coatesville Lynching”).
The North American , September 12, 1911, “The Christiana Riot and the Treason Trials of 1851, Following the Enactment of the Fugitive Slave Law, commemorated in an Historic Manner at Christiana Saturday.”
MG-164 - HIRAM GILBERT ANDREWS COLLECTION, 1890-1964. Hiram Gilbert Andrews (1877-1968), editorial director of the Johnstown Democrat from 1928 through 1941, was a prominent spokesman for the Democratic Party in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1932 to 1963, serving at various times as minority whip, minority floor leader, and Speaker of the House. Among the books in this collection is William M. Hall's Reminiscences and Sketches which includes a chapter entitled "Slave-catching in Bedford County."
MG-168 - ROBERT E. PATTISON PAPERS, 1855-1904. Papers of Robert E. Pattison (1850-1904), Philadelphia lawyer and Democratic governor of Pennsylvania, 1883-1887 and 1891-1895. Pattison was named chairman of the United States Pacific Railway Commission in 1887 and was president of the Chestnut Street National Bank in Philadelphia from 1887-1891.
General Correspondence, 1882-1886, 1904. Contains a letter dated May 5, 1904, to Pattison from his cousin Thomas R. Stewart. Stewart writes about the genealogy of the family and his recollection of spending time at the family home, “Union Hill,” with Pattison’s grandfather. He states, “I was at his father’s after his negroes all ran away, except for one colored man…”
MG-169 - HERMAN BLUM COLLECTION, 1681-1971. Herman Blum (1885-1973), chairman of the Board of Craftex Mills, Inc., of Pennsylvania and a trustee of the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science was a member of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1963-1971; Pennsylvania member of the United States Civil War Centennial Commission; and an avid collector of historical books and manuscripts.
Printed Material, 1682, 1684, 1757, 1784, 1833, 1850, 1891, and 1932. A collection of miscellaneous newspapers and magazine clippings printed in London, England and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Included are two advertisements and an article with reference to African Americans. They are:
October 6, 1784 issue of The Pennsylvania Journal and the Weekly Advertiser , contains advertisements and articles referring to slaves.
FOR SALE . "A Negro woman with a male child."..."A Negro boy, excellent for the sea-service, or waiting on a gentleman."
Three Hundred Dollars Reward . "Negro GEORGE ran away from Elk Forge, near Head of Elk, Cecil County, Maryland, on the 2nd of August, 1784"..."Negro CATO ran away from the same place, the 24th of May 1783"..."Negro DICK ran away from the same place, the 23rd of April 1781...", [point of contact] THOMAS MAY.
July 5, 1757 edition of The London Chronicle: or, Universal Evening Post , contains an “Extract of a letter from Capt. Baille, to his owners, dated River Bonny in Africa, Jan. 31: We arrived here the 6th of December, and found the 'Hector' with about 100 slaves on board....”
MG-170 - PENNSYLVANIA HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION PAPERS, 1932-1965. Founded in 1933, the Pennsylvania Historical Association is an organization of professional and amateur historians dedicated to promoting research and teaching of Pennsylvania history.
Correspondence, 1949-1960. This series contains many letters to and from persons who authored articles for various Association publications, some of which addressed African American history in Pennsylvania. Representative correspondence includes: a letter from Ernest C. Miller, referring to the publishing of the original letters of John Brown; a letter dated November 30, 1950, from J. Cutler Andrews to Donald H. Kent, Associate Editor of Pennsylvania History , mentioning Thomas E. Drake's Quakers and Slavery in America ; letters from Ira V. Brown referring to authored articles and books such as "Pennsylvania and the Rights of the Negro, 1865-1887"; a letter of December 14, 1960, to Larry Gara referring to his article on William Still and the Underground Railroad; a letter of December 8, 1960, to Horace Montgomery referring to his article "A Union Officer's Recollections of the Negro as a Soldier: Major John McMurray, Sixth United States Colored Regiment"; and a letter dated June 2, 1959, listing a "Negro Bob, death warrant issued September 22, 1795, offenses not known (probably murder)" and date of execution not known.
MG-171 - SAMUEL W. PENNYPACKER PAPERS, 1802-1816, 1851-1916. Pennsylvania Governor Samuel W. Pennypacker (1843-1916) served on the Board of Public Education in Philadelphia, 1885-1889, as a judge of the Common Pleas Court No. 2 in Philadelphia, and was elected governor in 1903. During his gubernatorial administration, the State Archives was established as an administrative unit within the State Library. He was an active member of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, a noted genealogist and amateur historian.
Governor's Papers, 1902-1907
Executive Correspondence, 1902-1907. Series contains the following folders or subseries:
Includes a letter dated November 5, 1902 from Robert J. Nelson of Reading, president of the Afro-American Republic League of Pennsylvania, congratulating Pennybacker for his gubernatorial victory “on behalf of 55,000 colored voters in Pennsylvania.
Legislation, 1903-1906, Appropriations, 1905 . includes letters to Governor Pennypacker which were received from churches, schools, and other organizations seeking state funding.
A letter dated April 14, 1905 from Thomas J. Gatewood (a former slave of Judge Pennypacker in old Virginia) in support of the Home for the Aged and Infirm Colored Women of Pittsburgh.
MG-180 - MILLICENT BARTON REX COLLECTION, 1762-1949 (bulk 1814-1880). Papers used by Millicent Barton Rex, historian, in preparing lectures, essays, and articles on the life and career of James White (1802-1873), a physician in Hartstown, Crawford County. The collection contains correspondence, commissions, licenses to practice medicine, legal papers, land papers, photographs, etc., and accounts of James White; correspondence and photographs of A. McLeon White; and miscellaneous White family materials. Also included are letters of inquiry, notes, and manuscripts of essays and articles, 1942-49, by Millicent Barton Rex.
James White, General Correspondence, 1814, 1823, 1833-59, 1880. A letter to Wilson King from C. Canning Smith of Memphis, Tennessee, dated August 27, 1864, describing a Confederate raid on Memphis, reporting that "one of the rebels caught a young Negro boy and had him pinned to the earth by driving a bayonet through each eye; another boy (black), seven years old, was shot dead by another rebel soldier." Observing that Confederate soldiers killed several blacks, Smith questioned the commanding general's failure to restrain his troops.
Millicent Barton Rex, Notes. Western Pennsylvania County Histories contains a reference to Samuel Marshall, one of the first settlers of Butler County, whose home was an asylum for the needy and oppressed and a prominent station on the Underground Railroad. Marshall opposed the United States Constitution because he felt it sanctioned and protected slavery.
MG-185 - HARMONY SOCIETY PAPERS, 1742-1951. Founded by George Rapp, the leader of a group of German Separatists who had emigrated from Wurtemberg, Germany, 1803-1904, the Harmony Society was formally established as a “Christian communist” community at Harmony, Butler County, Pennsylvania in 1805. Following the War of 1812, Rapp and his followers moved to a site near the mouth of the Wabash River in the Territory of Indiana where they constructed a new town, which also was called Harmony. In 1824-25, the Indiana property was sold to the Scottish reformer, Robert Owen, who renamed it New Harmony, and the Harmonists returned to Pennsylvania where they established the most lasting of their communities, the town of Economy, Beaver County, about twenty miles north of Pittsburgh. The death of George Rapp in 1847, the coming of the Industrial Revolution, and rather strict adherence to the practice of celibacy were factors involved in the decline in the association's fortunes and membership in the latter half of the nineteenth century. In 1905, on its 100th anniversary, the Harmony Society was dissolved.
Legal File, Indentures, 1809-1889. Included in the records is an indenture dated May 18, 1807, which states that a "Negro woman of the age of sixteen years being a slave named Henny belonging to John Waller and by him brought into this territory from the State of...shall serve him for a period of seventy years." The agreement was signed and dated October 2, 1817 in Knox County, Indiana.
MG-200 - POSTER COLLECTION, 1854-1971, undated. Nearly 500 posters, most relating to political issues such as campaigns and elections, or to the Civil War, World War I, or World War II. Included in this collection are:
No. 8. Political - Freedman's Bureau (anti), "Geary for Climer opposed," ca. 1863.
No. 9. Political - Lincoln (anti), "Elect Lincoln and the Black Republic Ticket," undated.
No. 12. Political - McClellan Campaign, "Defeat Negro Equality," ca. 1864.
No. 15. Political - Stevens, Thaddeus (anti), Mass Convention, Lebanon, Pa., Oct. 6, 1866, “Anti-Negro Suffrage,” 1866.
No. 38. Freedom - "The World Cannot Live Half Slave Half Free" (quotes of Pres. Wilson and the Kaiser), State Council of Defense, undated.
No. 275. WW I - Freedom, Office of Facts and Figures, “This World Cannot Exist Half Slave and Half Free,” Artist: John Falter, 1942.
No. 515. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission Black History Conference posters, 1981-1995.
MG-203 - CORNWALL FURNACE COLLECTION, 1768-1940. Erected by Peter Grubb in 1742, Cornwall Furnace came under the control of Robert Coleman in 1798 and ownership remained in the Coleman family until 1932 when the property was donated to the Commonwealth. The collection consists primarily of account books, 1768-1892, pertaining to Cornwall Furnace and several other furnaces and forges, including Charming Forge, Colebrook Furnace, Hellem (Helmstead) Forge, Hopewell Forge, Speedwell Forge, and Spring Forge. A number of these volumes include references to African American slaves and workers. Placed inside the account books are loose pages of typed notes on the African American slaves and workers written by the late historian of Pennsylvania’s early iron industry, Herbert S. Beck, [ca. 1940].
Account Books, 1768-1892
Coal (Cole) Books, 1768, Hopewell Forge. According to Herbert S. Beck, contains credits to colliers (charcoal burners) from April 25 to December 8, 1768 that includes an entry reading “Three credits go to Negro Bob, a slave.”
Individual Accounts, 1779-1780, Hopewell Forge. Accounts are shown for the following: Molatta Abb for July and December 1779 and February and April 1780 and for Molatta Sue in September, October, November, and December, 1779 and February through September, 1780.
Account Book, April 12 - July 19, 1790. Notes by Herbert Beck state: “In account book dated April 12 – July 19, 1790, the ‘Negro accounts’ at store include negro Jack, Negro Harry, Negro Cato, Negro Tommy, Negro Oston, Negro Samson and Gov. Dick. The account of May 30 is this: ‘Negro acct pr shows Govr Dick.’ This shows that the collier, (who) prior to 1780 (was) a slave, was called Governor Dick in 1790. It is the first documentary mention of this man for whose cabin located, at its base, Governor Dick's Hill was named.”
Misc. Accounts, 1791, Pallas Stewart. Herbert Beck writes: "this book, which curiously found its way to the Cornwall Furnace, is a smart boy's schooling book on legal forms, book-keeping accounts, etc.” It contains a passage entitled “Liberation of a Slave” dated 1782, that Beck has described as “a superb sample of Spencerian handwriting."
Cash Book, 1795, Union Forge. Beck's notes state: "Cornwall Furnace purchased 2 ton, 2 cwt of anconies, which, curiously enough, were made by ‘Cato.’” Cato was often listed as working at both Cornwall Furnace and Hopewell Forge. In an entry dated Jan. 13, 1795, Negro Bob is listed as receiving a number of gallons of liquor for the use of the slaves. Beck goes on to state that “The Union Forge was built in 1782 by Curtis Grubb and these slaves were owned by Grubb. . . The slaves working there were Grubb’s Dec. 25, 1794. Negro account page . . . Bob, Toney, Diana, Jack – Christmas . . . apparently these were Christmas presents.” Beck also gives further information on Governor Dick and Governor Dick’s Hill.
MG-214 - WARREN J. HARDER COLLECTION, [ca. 1828-1968]. Warren John Harder (1905-1968), a lifelong resident of Harrisburg, was a news correspondent, commercial photographer and amateur local historian. His collection includes correspondence, notes, newspaper clippings, photographs, and lantern slides. Among the items found in the series labeled “Various Negatives” and the sub-series labeled “Civil War” are photographic negatives which depict scenes from the antebellum era. These include scenes labeled “Slave Auction Room,” “'Contraband' (African Americans) Coming North for Protection of Union Lines,” “Capture of Slave Ship by British War Vessels, 1860,” “'Sunny North,' 702 Negroes Aboard,” and “Congress Passes Resolution to Abolish Slavery.” Among the series labeled Lantern Slides are a group of lantern slides labeled “Southern Scenes” that were taken around the turn of the century in the Deep South. Other pertinent slides are a scene of a slave ship at Mozambique Channel, Africa, and of a slave auction. Among the sub-series entitled Newspaper Clippings in the series Reference Materials are an advertisement dated July 19, 1828 for a runaway slave named Jenny McClintock of Carlisle and an undated advertisement announcing “A magnificent and original production of Uncle Tom's Cabin, a $20,000 production...2 brass bands...white and colored band, and Colored Lady Bugle and Drum Corps.” The collection contains some photocopy pages of George H. Morgan's Annals of Harrisburg , written around 1858 and revised in 1906.
MG-227 - SOLOMON FOX COLLECTION, 1862-1879. Civil War letters and miscellaneous items relating to Solomon Fox, a native of Berks County who served as a private in Company G, 93rd Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers. This collection includes a letter Fox wrote to his wife on March 16, 1862, from Camp Edward, Virginia, telling of African Americans coming in large numbers to seek the protection of the "Yanky" soldiers.
MG-247 - ALGERNON SYDNEY LOGAN AND ROBERT RESTALRIG LOGAN PAPERS, [ ca. 1680-1945]. This collection consists of manuscript and printed material pertaining to the Logan family including James Logan, first provincial secretary of William Penn, his father Patrick Logan, and descendents Algernon Sydney Logan (1849-1925) and Robert Restalrig Logan. Included are three volumes of printed and manuscript copies of Indian treaties and other material relating to Indian affairs covering the period 1722-1762, copies of John Dickenson correspondence, 1753-1776; and one volume of minutes and related items of the Indiana Company, 1776-1789.
James Logan Items, 1722-1762. Contains printed and hand written copies of treaties made with the Indians. Of particular interest is a treaty made with the Indians of the five nations: “Maquose, Oneida, Onnondages, Cayouges, and Simmekaes.” Included in a collection are handwritten copies, this treaty was signed in September 1722 by Virginia Governor Alexander Spotswood and contained a provision requesting the aid of the five nations in seizing runaway slaves. Governor Spotswood promised the Indians “one good gun and a blanket” for the capture and return of each runaway slave. For their part, the Indians of the five nations avowed to the Governor that “if any runaway Negroe or Slave shall happen to fall into our hands we will carry them to Col. Mason’s on the Potowmach River for the reward promised.”
Algernon Sydney Logan Items, 1776-1934. Contains a handwritten transcript entitled “Records of the Families of Logan and Norris” (1815) by Deborah Norris Logan. The book contains genealogical information, obituary notices, personal accounts, a copied manuscript entitled “An historical account of the ancient and honorable Family of Logan of Edinburgh,” poems, sonnets, and a copy of an article that appeared in the American Magazine for 1790. The article describes an incident that occurred on the island of Jamaica in 1692 when an earthquake destroyed Fort Royal and also killed a slave attempting to rescue his master, a merchant from Philadelphia. Later, “a cradle was seen floating on the water with a female Negro child alive, and a large silver dirk the property of the merchant. Upon examination, the child appeared to be the daughter of the Negro man who had lost his life in attempting to save his master. Both the child and the dirk were sent to the elder son of the merchant who lived in Philadelphia.” The master was Thomas Norris and the dirk belonged to the Norris family.
MG-252 - STEPHEN GIRARD COLLECTION, 1786-1856 (bulk 1828-1842). Stephen Girard was a Philadelphia merchant, financier, and philanthropist, who engaged in foreign trade and owned eighteen sea-going vessels. He also became involved in real estate, insurance and banking. His will, a copy of which is included in the collection, stipulated large sums of money for charities and for the establishment of Girard College. Though challenged by the heirs, the will was upheld by the United States Supreme Court in the landmark case of Vidal et al v. the City of Philadelphia, a classic in American legal history in clarifying of the laws regarding charities. The will contains several references to African Americans, including mention of his "black woman" Hannah to whom he gave an annual sum of two hundred dollars for the remainder of her life. He also specified that part of his real and personal estate near Washita, Louisiana, including thirty slaves, be given to his friend Judge Henry Bree.
MG-253 - JACOB J. BIERER PAPERS, [1795-1907]. Jacob J. Bierer, a native of Westmoreland County, served in the Civil War as a captain of Company C, 11th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers from November 1861 to April 1864. He subsequently served several terms as school director of Latrobe Borough and was chief burgess of Latrobe in 1869, 1862 and 1882. He was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives as a Democrat in 1883 and again in 1891 and was commissioned as a notary public in 1886 and 1910. The collection includes correspondence, legal papers, photographs, and other items pertaining primarily to Bierer's Civil War service.
Two letters in the Correspondence folder contain unfavorable opinions of slavery, the Freedmen's Bureau and "Negroes." These are a letter from Michael Schall, Jr. to Michael Schall, Sr. dated February 21, 1831 and a letter from John Bachman of Charleston, North Carolina, to J. J. Bierer dated February 12, 1862.
Also found in the collection are several Newspapers that provide information about slavery and situations involving African Americans. Some of these are: The Greensburgh Gazette dated May 31, 1822 that contains a reward advertisement for a servant mulatto boy named Frank, Greensburgh Democrat dated February 7, 1863 containing articles entitled "Negroes in Fort Lafayette," "The Effect of the Proclamation," "Niggers to be Made Soldiers," "Kentucky and Emancipation," "The Negro Tax," "Treaty with Liberia," and a copy of the Republican & Democrat dated November 30, 1864, containing an article entitled "A Hill in Labor"... that discusses slavery as the cause of Civil War and an item headed "Election news"... that states that the Abolition candidates received 255,081 votes against the Democratic candidates who garnered 242,123 votes.
MG-262 - GENERAL MICROFILM COLLECTION, [ca. 1620-1975]. This collection consists of rolls of microfilm copies of Pennsylvania records and manuscripts primarily held by other institutions. Over the last fifty years the State Archives created this collection by making special arrangements with individual donors to microfilm letters, diaries, business records, etc. Because of its diverse sources and themes, this collection complements many of the State Archives’ own manuscripts and records. The majority of this material was gathered by the Division of Research and Publications, now called the Division of History, as source materials for conducting research and writing books and articles on Pennsylvania history. Through such special arrangements, letters, diaries, and business records, relating to Pennsylvania were microfilmed from materials deposited at other institutions in the Commonwealth and throughout the nation. In April 1977, the administration and preservation of microfilm holdings were transferred from the Division of History to the Division of Archives and Manuscripts within the Bureau of Archives and History. [For a more detailed description of this collection a copy of the Guide to the Microfilm Collections in the Pennsylvania State Archives by Roland M. Baumann and Diane S. Wallace may be consulted. Though this volume is no longer in print, copy is available at the Archives and at the State Library.]
Newspaper Collections. The State Archives has a small collection of microfilmed newspapers that include commemorative editions and daily and weekly editions from eight counties, German language editions, and other ethnic newspapers. Newspaper editions that include articles on African Americans are:
Americana Volunteer. The October 22, 1902 issue of the Americana Volunteer printed an article on the death of J. N. Choate, one of Carlisle’s successful photographers. The funeral announcement gave the names of the active and honorary pallbearers. Among the active pall bearers were African Americans Charles Whiting, Amos Johnson, William Chapman, and Diston Barnes.
Abstracts of Obituaries in the Carlisle Evening Sentinel , 1906-1915. By 1906, the Carlisle Evening Sentinel appears to have instituted a policy of collecting obituary information relating to the inhabitants of Cumberland County. Some examples of African Americans for which such obituaries are available are: Agy, William, “Colonel,” a Dickinson College janitor, February 2, 1911, aged about 50, local preacher. Funeral, February 3, 1911; Arter, Fannie, Mrs. (black), in Shippensburg, March 17, 1908, widow of J. Hugh Arter, was born a slave in Jefferson County, Virginia; Bell, Daniel, Underground Railroad figure (black), was born in Carlisle, February 14, 1832, moved at age 39 to Harrisburg, date of death there not given, widower about 2-1/2 years, daughters named; Brown, Jucetta (black), Mechanicsburg, March 11, 1907, age not given but lived there all her life, interment in Garret Cemetery; Butler, Mrs. (black), of Newville, December 26, 1910, interment in Newville cemetery; McCard, Maria Randolph, Mrs. (black), Carlisle, January 11, 1913, aged 95, formerly Mrs. Randolph, mother of pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church, other children named; Taylor, Elizabeth Beals, Mrs. (black), in Chicago, formerly of Carlisle, September 14, 1909, aged 34, daughter of Isaac Beals, no mention of children, burial in Union Cemetery.
Juniata Journal. The September 1, 1835 issue of the Juniata Journal contains the following articles: “The Abolitionists;” “Religion versus Abolition;” “The Burnt Papers;” “Another Slave Atrocity;” and an untitled article that states “we understand that a gentleman of this city, received yesterday from New York, a large box containing...pictures of slaves being whipped..” The article “The Burnt Papers,” was reprinted from the Emancipator , an Abolitionist’s newspaper.
Simon Cameron Papers, 1824-ca. 1919. A prominent Harrisburg financier, Simon Cameron also served as a United States Senator and subsequently as the first Secretary of War under Abraham Lincoln. The collection consists of correspondence and business papers in the possession of the Dauphin County Historical Society that include thirteen letters or drafts written by Mr. Cameron. Among these is a letter dated April 23, 1862 to Mr. Cameron from Thomas Morris Chester, an African American native of Harrisburg who served as a Civil War correspondent and became friends with Simon Cameron. T. Morris Chester writes "that the thought of sending slaves in the District of Columbia back to Liberia is not a good idea." He states "it would be unwise and inhumane in the government at Washington to send them to Liberia. I desire them to be immigrants to our adopted country...."
Sol Feinstone Collection of the American Revolution, 1739-1859. Originally assembled by Sol Feinsteine, a businessman and collector, this collection includes 1,742 letters and documents relating to the American Revolution. Among these items are the following documents relating to the institution of slavery:
A document dated August 5, 1776 signed by Cornell Stevenson of Burlington, County, New Jersey, setting his negro slave Pompey free.
Receipt dated January 10, 1737 to John Fisher from Ebenezer Stearns for the purchase of a negro named Jack for eighty pounds.
Receipt dated January 7, 1716 to John Fisher from John Howe, for the purchase of a negro boy in Boston named Prince for forty-two pounds.
A document dated September 21, 1791 at Accomack County, Virginia and signed by John Custer and Tully Wise stating that Tomthy, a Negro man, had forged a document claiming that he was free.
Albert Gallatin Papers, 1761-1849. Albert Gallatin served as a member of the Pennsylvania Legislature and the United States Congress, as a foreign diplomat, and as United States Secretary of the Treasury. The papers include genealogical and biographical items, political papers, correspondence, pamphlets and miscellaneous family papers. Included is a copy of Albert Gallatin's membership certificate in the Pennsylvania Abolition Society.
Hershey Family Papers. Papers of a prominent Lancaster County family and their descendents including correspondence (1832-1853) relating to economic events, political conditions and religious trends in both Erie and Lancaster counties, account books, a family history, pamphlets, and an incomplete newspaper file (1851-1863) of the Conneautville Courier of Crawford County. Included are the following materials related to slavery, abolition, and the Civil War:
The text of a February 5, 1851 lecture on slavery delivered by a Professor Williams of the Methodist Church.
Several articles on the Fugitive Slave Law dated February 19, 1851 are present including "The Great Compromise Measure" that presents the story of a “colored” woman known by the name of Tamar Williams who resided at the corner of
Fifth Street and Germantown Road. It was alleged that her real name was Mahala and that she was a fugitive slave belonging to William T. Parnell of Worcester County, Maryland. The story relates that she had escaped from a southern plantation in the year 1820 and subsequently married and bore five children. Mahala’s husband also had been arrested as a fugitive slave and there is also an article on an Indiana fugitive slave case.
A February 26, 1851 issue of the Courier contains an article on the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 and an article on a fugitive slave named Frederick Williams that states "A mob of 300 negroes stormed the Court Room (in Boston), and in despite of the officers, carried off the fugitive in triumph. The fugitive's whereabouts is not yet known, but it is supposed he is on his way to Canada via Burlington."
An April 2, 1851 article entitled "Selling Slaves in Pennsylvania" addresses the issue of the Fugitive Slave Law and the possible development of a new market in slaves captured by slave agents in Pennsylvania for return to the South.
The May 7, 1851 article "Virginny Neber Tires" refers to man who was a member of one of the first families in Virginia who entered “Douglas’s” shop for a shave. “As the gentlemen was being lathered, a Bostonian, a warm free-soiler, asked Douglas, what would you do if your old master attempted to carry you back into slavery? Shoot him down, was Douglas’s reply. The Virginian jumped into the middle of the floor with lather, towel and all, ...”
A January 4, 1854 article entitled "Verdict Against Mrs. Stowe" recounts the case of Harriet Beecher Stowe vs. F.W. Thomas, a German book publisher in Philadelphia. Harriet Stowe charged F.W. Thomas with "an infringement of the plaintiff's copy right of Uncle Tom's Cabin , by publishing a German translation.
Pennsylvania Abolitionist Society Papers, 1775-1916. This collection, owned by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, includes minutes and manuscripts of The Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Kept in Bondage . Organized one year before the War of Independence, the society was lead by Quakers, Presbyterians, Episcopalians and Jews. Temporarily suspended during the war, it was vigorously reactivated in 1787 and adopted the title of "The Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery and the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully held in Bondage." This was the first formal abolitionist society founded in the United States of America.
Pennsylvania History, General, Papers Relating to Pennsylvania, 1681-1913. Papers include accounts, correspondence, deeds, legal papers, military records, minutes, printed items and other materials relating to business matters, military affairs, politics and many other subjects. Items relevant to African Americans are: the case of "Negro Cato," the slave of Matthias Slough of the Borough of Lancaster, who was no longer in good health; an indictment for larceny of "Negro Isaac," a slave owned by Matthias Slough, who was taken to the Public Whipping Post to receive twenty-one lashes on his bare back and paid a fine of twenty pounds; a lading bill for a negro boy valued at thirty pounds; an act addressing the trials of "negroes" who committed murder, manslaughter, rape, burglary and any other illegal acts as specified by William Penn’s Laws of the Province of Pennsylvania published by the Order of the General Assembly which includes "an Act" for the better regulating of Negroes in this Province.
Thaddeus Stevens Papers, 1814-1868. These papers consist of the private and public correspondence, speeches, legal and business papers, and congressional records of United States Congressman Thaddeus Stevens, an outspoken advocate for the abolition of slavery. The originals are scattered across the United States and this microfilm edition is comprised of the following four series:
General Correspondence and Miscellaneous Documents. Included information on the following persons or subjects: Abolition Society of Pennsylvania, American Anti-Slavery Society, Frederick Douglass, Ku Klux Klan, Lucretia Mott, New York Tribune, Pennsylvania Equal Rights League, John Peck, Thaddeus Stevens, Thaddeus Stevens, Jr., Lucy Stone; Charles Sumner.
Speeches and Resolutions. The following subjects are included in this segment: copies of the 13th and 14th Amendments, materials on various abolition societies, Black Cavalry Units and Black military history, African Americans in Pennsylvania, Black railroad passengers, Black refugee aid, Black soldiers, Black suffrage in Pennsylvania, Black apprenticeships, court testimony by African Americans, African American migration to Pennsylvania, the legacy of John Brown, the Brownsville Female Academy, the Christiana Riot Trial, civil rights and trial by jury, civil service, Civil War veterans, Emancipation, equal rights legislation, freed slaves, Freedman's Bureau, fugitive slave arrests, Pennsylvania’s fugitive slave laws, the federal Fugitive Slave Law, African Americans and higher education in Pennsylvania, Indian slaveholding, military hospitals, "Negro" soldiers, Re-admission of States, the rights of seceded states, secret societies, and the questions of abolition, extension of slavery, protection of slavery, and restrictions on slavery in Washington, D.C., in the territories, and in Utah.
Legal Arguments and Legal and Business Papers. Included on this reel are summaries from a few cases argued by Stevens dealing with slavery and slave ownership. They are: Butler and others vs. Delaplaine; Scott vs. Waugh; and Kauffman vs. Oliver. Also included is the summation of John M. Read of the 1851 Christiana trial (United States vs. Hanway), in which Stevens and three other lawyers successfully defended Caster Hanway, two other whites, and thirty-eight African Americans from charges of treason for helping fugitive slaves escape.
Congressional Committee Minutes. In Benjamin J. Kendrick's The Journal of the Joint Committee of Fifteen on Reconstruction, 39th Congress, 1865-1867, (New York, 1914), is the full text of resolutions and bills that the Committee considered.
Theses and Dissertations
“The Evolution of the Constitution of Pennsylvania, 1683-1838, with Special Emphasis Upon the Constitution of 1838,” by Russell Henry Kistler, (Lehigh University, 1943). This thesis discusses Pennsylvania politics, the state constitution that defined the status of the "negro" and the philosophy of abolitionist congressman Thaddeus Stevens. According to Kistler, the African American population of Bucks County had increased to a point that "elections in that county were generally closely contested and the blacks had enough votes to 'swing' the election, therefore, the legitimate voters were...defeated by NEGRO SLAVES."
“The Triumph of Militant Republicanism: A Study of Pennsylvania and Presidential Politics, 1860-1872,” by Erwin S. Bradley. Discusses the Kansas-Nebraska Act, Missouri Compromise, Dred Scott Decision, Lancaster and the Christiana Riot, Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society, negro suffrage/negro voting, and many of the Pennsylvania politicians during this time period; Henry D. Foster, John C. Fremont, Thomas L. Kane, Thaddeus Stevens, Simon Cameron, David Wilmot, Andrew Curtin.
MG-264 - INTERNATIONAL UTILITIES POLITICAL MEMORABILIA COLLECTION, 1789-1972. The International Utilities (I.U.) of Philadelphia is a business conglomerate with diversified services in distribution, agriculture, utilities and other areas. The memorabilia relate to successful and unsuccessful United States presidential candidates, their vice-presidential running mates, and their election campaigns. Also included are materials pertaining to such national political issues as the tariff, sectionalism, slavery, the Civil War, reconstruction, western expansion, progressivism, and civil rights.
Cartoons, 1860-1884, 1972
Miscellaneous, 1860-1972. A small collection of political cartoons from various presidential campaigns. Items pertaining to African Americans from the Lincoln Campaign are “The True Issue or ‘That’s What’s The Matter.’” (quote from cartoon “No peace without abolition”) and “The Rail Candidate” (quote from cartoon “Dis Nigger strong and willin but its awful hard work to carry Old Massa Abe on nothing but dis ere rail!”). Items from the Grant Campaign are “The Irrepressible Conflict or The Republican Barge in Danger,” “The Man of Words, the Man of Deeds, Which Do You Think the County Needs” (the cartoon shows a Negro man being lynched in front of a building titled “Colored Orphan Asylum”), “Re-Construction, or ‘A White Man’s Government,’” “Freedom of Suffrage to the Blacks Means Freedom of Suffrage to the Whites.”
Bedford Gazette , October 7, 1836 , contains several articles regarding the "poll tax" that was implemented to prevent the poor, the uneducated, and non-land owners from voting. Also, this issue contains a brief piece entitled "Negroism."
Bedford Gazette, December 2, 1836 , contains two advertisements for runaway slaves. The first advertisement offers six cents reward for an eight year old child and the other is a six hundred dollar reward for four negroes who escaped from jail.
The Boston Evening Atla s, November 7, 1860 , provides the results of Abraham Lincoln’s election as president in 1860. Also present is a brief excerpt entitled "The Negro Suffrage Movement".
The New York Herald , November 13, 1864, contains an article entitled "The Next Congress - The Vote on the Constitutional Amendment Abolishing Slavery," that predicted the downfall of the amendment and explains why it was unlikely to pass.
The New York Tribune , October 22, 1860, contains numerous articles that discuss the issue of slavery. They are: "The question of Slavery in the Territories," "Who opposed the Compromise and Why?," "What do we mean by the Slave Power?," and "The extinction of Popular Sovereignty."
Pamphlets, 1796-1912, & [ca. 1932]. Pamphlets from various presidential campaigns for both Democratic and Republican Parties. Topics covered include the Missouri Compromise of 1850, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, free labor, sectionalism, and slavery. Items are unarranged.
1856 Democratic Party
“The Democratic Party as it Was and as it Is!” A Speech of the Hon. Timothy C. Day, of Ohio delivered in the House of Representatives on April 23, 1856.
“Hon. James Buchanan. Remarks of Hon. J. Glancy Jones, of Pennsylvania, delivered in the House of Representatives,” May 13, 1856.
A pamphlet comparing the positions of John C. Fremont and James Buchanan on issues of sectionalism and the Constitution in 1856.
1856 Republican Party
“Speech of Hon. John M. Read, in favor of Free Kansas, Free White Labor, and of Fremont and Dayton, at the Eighth Ward Mass Meeting, Held in the Assembly Buildings, on Tuesday Evening, Sept. 30, 1865,” Philadelphia, 1856.
“The Dangers of Extending Slavery,” and “The Content and the Crisis,” two speeches delivered by William H. Seward, Washington, D.C., 1856.
“Immigrant White Free Labor, or Imported Black African Slave Labor,” a speech delivered by William H. Seward, at Oswego, New York on November 3, 1856, Washington D.C., 1856.
“Important Facts drawn From Authentic Sources, Proving Beyond a Doubt That The Approaching Presidential Election is Forever To Decide The Question Between Freedom and Slavery,” 1856.
“Southern Slavery Reduces Northern Wages.” 1856.
1860 Democratic Party
“Union or Disunion, Speech of the Hon. John M. Botts, at Holcombe Hall in Lynchburg, Virginia, on Thursday Evening, October 18.”
“Non-Interference by Congress with Slavery in the Territories. Speech of Hon. S. A. Douglas, in the Senate, May 15 and 16, 1860.”
1860 Republican Party
“Free Homes For Free Men,” a speech delivered by the Hon. G. A. Grow of Pennsylvania in the House of Representatives, February 29, 1860.
“The Issues: The Dred Scott Decision: The parties,” a speech delivered by the Hon. Israel Washburn, Jr., of Maine, in the House of Representatives, May 19, 1860.
“Freedom v. Slavery,” a speech delivered by John Hutchins of Ohio in the United States. House of Representatives, May 2, 1860.
“Political Record of Stephen A. Douglas on the Slavery Question,” a tract Issued by the Illinois Republican State Central Committee.
MG-275 - MISCELLANEOUS MANUSCRIPTS OF THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR ERA, 1771-1791 & undated. Arranged chronologically, this collection was created by the State Archives from miscellaneous correspondence, extracts, receipts, petitions and certificates pertaining to the Revolutionary War era. Included among the manuscripts is a decree from the Admiralty Court of Pennsylvania between George Geddin of Pennsylvania and the sloop Sall concerning "Five Negroes," October 16, 1779. After being captured by the Brigantine of War Holken the Admiralty Court decreed that the Sall was to free five Negroes from its cargo and surrender its tackle, furnishings and cargo to the Holken .
MG-294 - FRENCH AZILUM COLLECTION, 1781-1934 and undated. French Azilum near Towanda, Pennsylvania, was established as a refuge for the former Queen Marie Antoinette and other aristocrats during the French Revolution. Formerly a historic site administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, it is now in the possession of the Bradford County Historical Society. Two newspapers in the collection contain references to African Americans. The November 21, 1814 issue of the Albany Gazette published 1814 census data that included slaves for the New York towns of Whitestown, Utica, Troy, and Johnstown. The Charleston, South Carolina Gazette and Daily Gazette and Daily Advertiser , dated June 16, 1802, advertised “Negroes” for sale, persons for hire, and almost two pages of notices of runaway slaves that provide descriptions of the runaways.
MG-296 - THOMAS KRAMER COLLECTION, 1780-1889 (bulk 1835-1882). Thomas Kramer was a justice of the peace in Palmyra, Lebanon County, from 1844 to 1880. The collection consists primarily of legal papers as well as some genealogical materials pertaining to the Kramer and Segner families.
Included in the collection is a handwritten manuscript entitled "A History of Pennsylvania from Its First Settlements by the Swedes and the Dutch Down to the Year 1872" by John F. Wolfinger of Milton, Pennsylvania. This manuscript contains several references to African Americans. In an appendix to chapter 3, the "rebellion of blacks" in the West Indies, Haiti and St. Dominique is noted. Chapter 10 mentions William Penn's "black servant." References to "blacks" as a group of people among the general population are found in chapters 13, 21, 22 and 24. Chapter 30 discusses the role of Pennsylvania in the Civil War as well as slavery, the Missouri Compromise, and the Kansas-Nebraska Act.
MG-341 - FLORENCE AMELIA LINDERMAN PAPERS, 1840-1948. Florence Amelia Linderman was born July 17, 1893 in Fleetwood, Berks County, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Daniel Boone Linderman and Amelia Shiery. The Linderman family claims kinship with the Daniel Boone family through Florence’s grandmother. Consisting primarily of family genealogical materials, this collection contains facsimile copies of three letters written by Abraham Lincoln to A. H. Stephens of North Carolina. In one of the letters, dated December 22, 1860, Lincoln outlined the Republican Party’s position on not interfering with slavery in the states where it already existed. Also included in the collection are a number of postcards and greeting cards. A circa 1907 “Thanksgiving Greeting” depicts a turkey and two African American children.
MG-343 - CARL W. GATTER ARCHITECTURAL RESEARCH BOOKS, 1981. Carl W. Gatter was an architect who conducted research for a possible reconstruction of the Slate Roof House, William Penn’s Philadelphia residence from 1700-1701. Erected between 1698 and 1700 by Samuel Carpenter, it was the first example of an H-Plan house in America. The birthplace of William Penn’s son, John, in 1700, it was here that William Penn granted Pennsylvanians the Charter of Privileges in 1701. The seat of Pennsylvania government from 1701-1704, the home was long occupied by William Penn’s secretary, James Logan, and was also owned and occupied by William Trent, the founder of Trenton, New Jersey, from 1704-1709 when it was sold to Isaac Norris. Thereafter, the ownership remained in the Norris family until 1869. A Mrs. Graydon leased the building for use as a boarding house during much of the 18th century. Her boarders included George Washington, Benedict Arnold, Baron von Steuben, Silas Deane, and John Adams. The house also served as the headquarters of British General Sir Henry Clinton during the British occupation of Philadelphia, 1777-78. The papers are comprised of sectional drawings and photographs of exterior and interior elevations of the building, and of drawings and photographs showing hearths, tiles, furnishings, and walks; maps; archaeological reports; and historical background on the home’s various owners and occupants. Also present are newspaper clippings concerning possible reconstruction of the house as a historic shrine and plans for erecting a marker. The information on African Americans found in this collection is described below:
Workbooks: Slate Roof House, 1700-1701, by Carl W. Gatter, 1981
Book III--Isaac Norris. In an unidentified biography of Isaac Norris there is a published letter from John Dickinson in which he refers to selling slaves and "taking care to get them good masters." A little further in the letter, Dickinson "expects seventy or eighty pounds at least for women and children on an average." Only a brief excerpt from the letter is provided by Mr. Gatter and the location of the original is unknown. Also present are letters copied from something called the “North Carolina Papers” concerning the ratification of the Constitution in which slavery is discussed. These copies bear the stamp of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
Book III--James Logan. In a paragraph dealing with the pending French and Indian War, the author notes that Logan found shipping Delaware tobacco at this time "the greatest cheat as well as slavery in trade." The origin of the quotation is not cited in the collection.
Book III--William Penn. A biography of William Penn provides a great deal of information on Hannah Penn. In a description of their summer move to Pennsbury Manor, the author lists a "negress" among the household staff. Later in the same book, a letter to James [Logan] is included which describes how Hannah was coping with living in Pennsylvania, mentioning a "black Jack" and suggests he help with the fleet in Philadelphia. Again, the original sources are not cited.
Book III--Benjamin Rush. In a letter to John Adams, Rush expressed his opinions on the issue of slavery, quoting Lord Howe on the slavery of mankind. It is unknown were the pages are from.
Book III--R. T. Paine. In a letter to Thomas Lynch, Jr. from Thomas Lynch, a reference is made to "Negro Houses" in a discussion of liquor. The letter is dated Dec. 28, 1775 but there is no other information provided as to where this letter came from.
Book III--John Penn. In a biography of John Penn is a copy of several pages from the Philadelphia Directory and Register for 1821, one of which is entitled "Directions to the Reader." According to these directions, a person of colour is denoted with a cross (x). Several African American men and women are listed along with their names, addresses and occupations.
Book VI--History. In a copy of Philadelphia As It Is, in 1852 , is a brief history of the public buildings, places of amusement, and maps of Philadelphia and surrounding area. The “Old London Coffee-House” described as once being used as an auction house where "negro men, women, and children were bought and sold as slaves." A copy of several pages from the Encyclopedia of Philadelphia is also in this section. The beginning paragraph of "Slaves and Slavery in Philadelphia" is on the same page as some information on the Slate Roof House and so was included in the collection.
MG-346 - CORNWALL FURNACE AND HOPEWELL FORGE ACCOUNT BOOKS, 1752-66. Peter Grubb developed Cornwall Furnace and Hopewell Forge several miles apart on Hammer Creek in Lebanon County, Pa. Around 1739, construction began at Cornwall, which was to supply the Hopewell Forge with pig iron. Cornwall Furnace was a large blast furnace and had a monopoly on the smelting of iron ore in the area for its first fifty years of operation. By 1790, both facilities were under the control of iron magnate Robert Coleman, who spent 12 years purchasing the works from Grubb's heirs, giving him full ownership in 1803. Cornwall Furnace remained in operation until disbanded in 1883; the site was donated to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1932. The journals and ledgers in this collection date from the era of Peter Grubb's ownership.
Journal, 1757. Includes several entries for “Negro John.” (October 15, 1757: items charged were 10 buttons, tape, 1 yd flannel).
Journal, 1759. In the Sundry Accounts is listed "the purchase of 1 Negro Man, 80.00 and 1 Negro Woman, 50.00."
Journal, 1762. Mentions a credit to “Negroe Jack (Barbados)” and “Negroe Tom” for overcharging on washing, April 10, 1762).
MG-350 - American Association of University Women, Pennsylvania Division Records, 1942-1981. The American Association of University Women - Pennsylvania Division (AAUW-PA) was organized on October 26, 1924 to promote the advancement of women and encourage their intellectual growth and commitment to social responsibility. Most records document club activities and major networking projects.
Division Records, Division Board Member Portfolios
President, 1961-1974. Contains a copy of the Women in History Project publication Our Hidden Heritage: Pennsylvania Women in History , edited by Janice H. McElroy that features fifteen women including abolitionists Lucretia Coffin Mott, Hannah Longshore, Anna Dickenson, Angelina and Sara Grimke, and Hannah Gibbons. Also mentioned is Martha Schofield who moved into the South after the Civil War to help feed, clothe, and educate freed slaves. Some of the African American women featured are Marian Anderson, Anna Lucille Carter, Fanny Marion Jackson Coppin, Ella Frazier, Ida Jones, and The Rev. Bessie S. Wheeler.
MG-358 - MRS. JAMES LEWIS HOOK AUTOGRAPH COLLECTION, 1752-1810. Mrs. James Lewis Hook was a collector of autographs of signers of the Declaration of Independence. The collection contains letters, accounts, legal papers and other documents acquired for their autograph value. Item #15 is a letter dated May 20, 1782 from George Reade to the Prothonotary of Bedford County, Virginia, regarding the return of "Negro Hamble."
MG-366 - GRAEME PARK COLLECTION, 1742-1918. Graeme Park, the only surviving residence of a colonial Pennsylvania governor, is a historic site operated by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. The buildings of Graeme Park were constructed by William Keith who served as Deputy Governor from 1721-1722 and were originally intended as a distillery before the property was sold to Dr. Thomas Graeme in 1739 who renovated the mansion to serve as his country estate. Elizabeth Graeme Ferguson, Graeme’s only surviving child, inherited the estate and subsequently divided the property into lots. In 1920, Mr. and Mrs. Welsh Strawbridge acquired the land upon which the main house stands and restored the mansion to its original condition. In 1958, the Strawbridges gave the property to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The collection contains two issues of the Pennsylvania Packet or, the General Advertiser containing advertisements for the sale and return of runaway slaves. The issue dated August 29, 1787 has an advertisement for the sale of a “negro man,” and the December 7, 1782 issue has an advertisement placed by Benjamin Rittenhouse seeking the return of a runaway “Mulatto Wench named Chloe.”
MG-389 - JAMES A. BEAVER COLLECTION, 1790-1915 & undated. James Addams Beaver served as Republican governor of Pennsylvania from 1887 to 1891. Born in 1837 in Millerstown, Perry County, Beaver served as a Second Lieutenant in Company H of the Second Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers during the Civil War and rose to the rank of Brigadier General by 1864. He served as Major General of the Pennsylvania National Guard from 1871-1887 when he was elected Governor. As Governor, Beaver was an advocate of upgrading housing conditions for the poor and orphans. Among the items in the collection is a manuscript entitled "Reminiscences from Memory of Events and Incidents on Scouts and Marches with Troops of the U.S. Army before the Civil War in 1861, in Arizona and New Mexico Territories", that was sent to Governor Beaver from, J.C. McKee, a Surgeon and a Lieutenant Colonel. In the paper, McKee refers to his "colored" servant. Also, Union County Star and Lewisburg Chronicle dated September 24, 1862 includes a citation that a "General B. F. Butler has freed more slaves than all the Abolitionists in the land as a 'military measure.’” The same issue also contains an article entitled "Proclamation of the President," reporting President Abraham Lincoln’s recommendation to congress with regard to slavery.
MG-409 - ORAL HISTORY COLLECTION. Tapes in the Oral History Collection are divided into twenty projects of interviewing carried out in various Pennsylvania cities by staff members of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. These interviews shed light on the daily lives of African Americans, European immigrants, Hispanics, and Jews in the Commonwealth. Indexes of the contents as well as transcripts are available for many of these tapes. Three of the projects focus exclusively on the lives of African Americans. These are the Harrisburg, Chester, and West Chester projects.
Primarily recollections of long time residents of Harrisburg. Included are interviews with African American women who migrated from the South and lived in an uptown neighborhood. African American Interviewees were: Mildred Barber, her autobiography, "I Remember Mama", 7/7/75; Mary Jane Beasley, 7/23/76; Mae Breckenmaker, 5/11/77; Viola Davenport, 8/3/76; Amelia Davis, 1/14/76 and 2/24/76; Rev. George Davis, 2/13/76 and 2/17/76; Margaret Duff, 2/3/76; Hattie Hargrove, 7/27/76; Frederick Jackson, "The Black Chain Gang," 1/132/76; Lilly Jackson, "Slavery in Virginia", 1/19/77; Sarah Jones, 12/16/75, 1/27/76, 3/27/76; James Henry Lee, 3/16/76; /Georgia London, 7/30,76; Mary Elizabeth Moffitt, 8/5/76; Robert Quann, "Blacks in Harrisburg", 2/27/77 and 4/3/77; Florence Roebuck, "Blacksmithing and Growing Up in Harrisburg", 3/7/77.
MG-420 - JOHN W. HARPER COLLECTION, 1716-1888. A native of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, John W. Harper was an avid genealogist who collected taufschein , surveys, deeds, patents and other documents pertaining to his ancestors and for Centre County, Pennsylvania as a whole. Item #44 of the collection is a March 2, 1795 servitude indenture whereby "Negress Dinah" apprenticed herself to Nicholas Young of Philadelphia County for the term of eight years, seven months and ten days. In return for her service, Dinah was to be taught the "Mystery of Housewifery" and given five quarters of schooling. Upon the conclusion of her servitude, she was to receive changes of clothing.
MG-439 - EDWARD R. BARNSLEY PAPERS, 1801-1986 (bulk 1932-1986)
Edward K. Barnsley was a lawyer from Newton, Bucks County and head of the Furnishing Committee of the Pennsbury Manor Reconstruction. The papers relate to Barnsley’s early association with Pennsbury Manor from its restoration and inception as a historic site in the 1930’s. Included in the series Newsclippings, 1908-1972, is an undated newsclipping titled "Penn as a Slave-holder” that was taken from a Philadelphia Evening Bulletin . It quotes Hannah Callowhill, the second wife of William Penn as saying: "The young blacks must be disposed to prevent their increasing charge...."
Resource: Guide to African American Resources at the Pennsylvania State Archives, by Ruth E. Hodge
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