African-American Studies Resources in the Special Collections Research Center
This is a guide to manuscripts, books, periodicals, and other materials in the Special Collections Research Center that may be useful for researching or teaching about African Americans in the United States from the colonial period to the present.
PLEASE NOTE: This is not a comprehensive list. We have other collections that include materials related to slavery or African Americans during the antebellum and Civil War eras; what follows is merely a selection.
The Austin Twyman papers include numerous letters relating to those enslaved by the family. Topics include permissions to join a Baptist church, occupations and work activities of the enslaved, health, resistance to enslavement, and the sale of enslaved people. Collection includes letters written by enslaved individuals.
This Bucktrout material has been digitized and is available online. Bucktrout was an undertaker and buried numerous people, including free African Americans and those enslaved, whose burials are recorded in this volume. In addition, he recorded hiring out of William Waller (the individual that he enslaved), for work around Williamsburg.
This collection includes a poem, ca. 1830, about the love between Kate and Mingo, both enslaved. Also included is a letter by Elizabeth Keckley, an enslaved woman and later a published author, dated 25 April 1844.
From the Collection: The Campbell Family Papers is a collection of business records, personal documents and photographs belonging to the Campbell and Sampson families of Albemarle County, Virginia dating from 1795 to 1945. The great majority of the documents are the business records of Joseph Watson Campbell (1795-1875). These include tax bills and receipts, accounts between Campbell and various merchants, receipts for goods and services received and rendered, promissory notes and papers relating to other family matters including the execution of the estate of Campbell's father-in-law, John Rogers and the practice of enslavement. The collection includes personal correspondence between the children and grandchildren of the Sampson family. Photographs, mostly unidentified, are among the documents included. The remaining documents are those pertaining to his children and grandchildren.
This artificial collection includes a few items relating to slavery, such as a receipt for an enslaved person working on fortifications and pension applications by freed Blacks for their work for the Confederacy.
This is a 4-page memoir dictated by a runaway enslaved person. Originally from Virginia (the Robert Carter Nicholas family of Williamsburg), he fled from the Nicholas plantation in Louisiana. His reminiscences focus on religious meetings and an enslaved preacher, also originally from Virginia.
This journal of work on an unknown plantation includes a record of enslaved births and deaths, 1857-1861; enslaved marriages, 1857; an inventory of those enslaved, 1864, with some birth dates; and visits of a physician to treat enslaved individuals.
Record kept by Andrew Reid, clerk of Rockbridge County, Virginia, entitled "For the Registering of Free Negroes [of Rockbridge County] according to the Act . . . of the General Assembly of Virginia, passed 25 January 1803," which includes physical descriptions, ages, information on former owners, and records of emancipation.
This diary mentions exchanging letters with African-American friends, sending a package to Liberia, and having a visitor from Liberia come to town to encourage Blacks to emigrate. Murdoch also records the death of African-American servants.