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African American Manuscripts - Colonial and Antebellum Eras

Rubenstein Library collections related to African American History from the Colonial and Antebellum eras

Domestic Slave Trade


  • Joseph Dickinson papers, 1822-1868. - Alabama - Letters from Nolen and Griffith Dickinson on travels from Virginia to Missouri. A letter written by Hester and Lancaster of Marion, Alabama in 1854 stated that they were selling slaves very slowly since the trade in that state was very dull.


  • John and Robert Middleton papers, 1787-1835. - Routine personal, business and legal papers, including a commission for John Middleton as 2nd lieutenant in the state militia (1815); a document concerning slave sales in Georgia (1809)
  • William R. Enecks papers, 1800-1865. - Letters and papers of a Screven County, Ga., cotton farmer concerning the cotton and slave markets in Savannah
  • Slave register, 1820-1821. - Microfilm (negative and positive) containing sworn statements of those importing slaves into the state of Georgia between December 1820 and October 1821.




North Carolina

  • John A. Forsyth papers, 1818-1864. - Collection includes letters and accounts of merchants John A. and Henderson Forsyth. Many letters relate to the buying and selling of slaves.
  • Jarratt-Puryear family papers, 1807-1918 - Chiefly correspondence relating to the Clingman, Jarratt, Poindexter, and Puryear families, early settlers of Surry County, N.C. Subjects include the slave trade between North Carolina and Alabama, 1830-1835
  • Alfred Brower papers, 1840-1863 - Collection contains papers concerning the sale and transfer of slaves between Thomas Goldston, Sarah (Goldston) Brower, Alfred Brower, and Frances Myrick.
  • William Alderman papers, 1853-1864. - Three legal documents relating to the purchase of slaves
  • James Graham papers, 1831-1850. - Correspondence between Graham, of Salisbury (Rowan Co.), N.C., and a brother-in-law, Joseph W. Rogers of Cabarrus County...relates to slave trading and praises the Chickasaw Indians with whom he is doing business.
  • Tyre Glen papers, 1806-1882 and undated. - Provides information on the domestic slave trade in the U.S. in the 1830s and 1840s.
  • Obadiah Fields papers, 1784-1855. - Letters and papers of a slave trader with data on slave prices and the territory of Obadiah Field's trade.

South Carolina

  • Papers, 1798-1865 and n.d, Mitchell, John Wroughton, 1796-1878 - One letter (1837) notes the price received for a female slave in South Carolina.
  • Edward Hooker letters, 1806-1815. - South Carolina - Family letters of Hooker describing the slave trade in South Carolina, several trips made to that state.
  • Paul Rapelye papers, 1820-1823. - South Carolina - Account books, letter book, and letters of Rapelye and his associates..,Includes references to a prize ship and its slave cargo (1820, July 27) and to an auction firm and the aborted slave insurrection of Denmark Vesey (1822, July 15).
  • Papers, 1834-1838, Maxcy, Virgil - Collection contains Maxcy's financial papers, including an account of the public auction of a slave family in Charleston, S.C. in 1837.
  • Slave transporters notebook, 1845 - Notebook of unidentified person employed by J. H. Witherspoon to transport 25 slaves from Lancasterville, S.C. to Alabama. Author recorded the names of the slaves, as well as distances traveled, locations where the party camped, and expenses incurred during the journey.



  • Papers, 1853, 1865, Jordan, John A. Letter of Jordan discussing events of the Civil War, the news in Richmond, and the failure of the Hampton Roads Conference; and a letter to a Colonel Jordan concerning the sale of a slave.
  • Letters, 1845-1858, Pulliam, D. M. - Pulliam led one of the more important slave-trading companies of Richmond, Va.
  • James M. Whittle papers, 1843-1883. - Collection contains letters, many dealing with the settlement of estates and the value and sale of slaves.
  • Benjamin Thurmond sale book, 1848-1851. - Sale book of Benjamin Thurmond's estate. Book contains names of purchasers, items and property purchased, and sale price. Notable are the names and cost of several slaves, including children.
  • William A. J. Finney papers, 1849-1876. - This collection contains business, Civil War, and political correspondence, giving a detailed picture of methods of conducting and financing the slave trade, with accounts of purchases in Virginia, Louisiana, and Mobile and Montgomery, Alabama. Included are notices regarding the slave market in Richmond.
  • Papers, 1814-1863, Whitehead, Floyd L. - Collection contains invoices, bills, and receipts of Whitehead, and scattered militia and tax records kept by a sheriff of Nelson Co. Volumes include an account book kept by Whitehead and Ralph W. Lofftus in their slave trading business, giving prices of slaves.
  • Joseph Dickinson papers, 1848-1858. - Correspondence of the slave-trading firm concerning the slave market and prices of slaves.