Microforms: Major Sets by Subject: American History (N-Z)
List of major microform collections by subject available in the Kelley Center of Fondren Library. Click on the title to access additional information and resources when available, such as indexes, guides, or electronic sources.
Papers of the NAACP forms a comprehensive inner history of the policies and personalities at the highest levels of the civil rights leadership. The collection includes 30 parts.
Part 1 reproduces the central organizational records of the association's first four decades. It provides a comprehensive guide to the NAACP's growth, the evolution of its policies, and its achievements. Foremost among these records are thousands of pages of minutes of directors' meetings, monthly reports from officers to the board of directors, proceedings of the annual business meetings, and significant records of the association's annual conferences. Part 1 also collects voluminous special reports written by the association's officers and >committees on a wide range of issues including the Ku Klux Klan, discrimination in public employment, the depiction of blacks in motion pictures, economic equality, legislative monitoring, black victims of crime, the church and civil rights, misconceptions regarding the heredity and the intelligence of blacks, the changing attitudes of black youth, and more. In addition, the speeches component of the collection and some 15,000 pages of special correspondence provide an almost daily record of the NAACP's struggles on behalf of civil rights.
Part 1: Supplement 1951 - 1955 This supplement updates through 1955 the files of board of directors' minutes, executive secretary's monthly reports, reports of annual business meetings, and records of annual conferences. The period covered includes the mounting of litigation against segregation that culminated in the Brown v. Board of Education decision and heralded the modern civil rights movement.
Part 1: Supplement 1956-1960 This supplement includes he national board minutes, staff reports, and annual convention materials in this supplement provide researchers with an inside look at the highest levels of the civil rights movement during these eventful years. The period was notable for the increasingly violent reaction within southern states against the determination of the NAACP and other civil rights groups to force compliance with the Brown v. Board of Education ruling. Month after month, executive officers' reports and board of directors' meetings were devoted to mapping out strategies to make the Supreme Court dicta a political reality. Reports poured into the national office on acts of intimidation, economic reprisal, brutality, and terror against advocates of all forms of integration in the South. The records reflect the legal battles with the officials of almost every southern state over efforts to harass and destroy NAACP state conferences and local branches. Also documented is the extent of NAACP involvement in the Little Rock school desegregation battle and its interaction with the emerging direct action movement personified in Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks. Additionally, there are records on the organization's encouragement of voter registration in the face of determined southern white resistance, its support of black students seeking admission to universities and professional schools, its work with labor unions, the appeals to state fair employment practices commissions, and the push at the federal level for comprehensive federal civil rights legislation.
Part 1: Supplement 1961-1965 Covers the NAACP during the high point of the civil rights movement. These years saw many of the most crucial events of the modem civil rights movement, including the Freedom Rides, the sit-in campaigns, the March on Washington, the meteoric rise of Martin Luther King Jr.'s influence, and the enactment of comprehensive civil rights and antipoverty legislation. It was a period of stress and change for the NAACP. Despite its stature, the organization was increasingly challenged as the leading voice of the movement by such groups as the Congress of Racial Equality, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. The records in this supplement document the NAACP's strategy in meeting these challenges.
Part 1: Supplement 1966 - 1970 Documents the main contours of NAACP activity between 1966 and 1970. During this period, the NAACP reaffirmed its commitment to ending racial discrimination in all aspects of American life. Having achieved spectacular successes in the courtroom and the passage of civil rights legislation, particularly the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, beginning in 1966 the NAACP moved to ensure the implementation and enforcement of this crucial legislation. The association was particularly concerned with school desegregation and discrimination by employers and by labor unions. The NAACP also worked for the enactment of legislation in areas not covered by the laws passed in 1964 and 1965. NAACP initiatives against housing discrimination culminated in the inclusion of an open housing provision in the Civil Rights Act of 1968. In addition to its traditional concerns, between 1966 and 1970 the NAACP also faced new challenges. The association struggled to respond to the growing anti–Vietnam War movement, the upstart black power movement, the problems facing African Americans living in urban ghettos, and Nixon administration policies on civil rights and school desegregation.
Part 2 provides a wealth of insight into the lives and work of upper-echelon NAACP officials over two critical decades in the association's history. The largest selections are those pertaining to Thurgood Marshall and Walter White, the NAACP's special assistant counsel and executive secretary, respectively. Other officials represented are special counsel Charles Houston, special assistant to the secretary Juanita Jackson, executive secretary James Weldon Johnson, branch coordinator E. Frederick Morrow, board of directors chair Mary White Ovington, field secretary Dr. William Pickens, and assistant executive secretary Roy Wilkins.
Part 3, Series A & B Focuses on the grueling legal battle to achieve unrestricted access to the best available education. By reproducing in their entirety the complete files pertaining to the American Fund for Public Service (the Garland Fund), teacher salary cases, university admission cases, local school cases, and general education subjects, The Campaign for Educational Equality documents the NAACP's systematic assault on segregated education that culminated in Brown v. Board of Education.
Part 3, Series C Contains files on the subject of education for the period between 1951 and 1955. It also includes a small percentage of files for the period 1940 through 1950 that were not available earlier. The larger concentration for the 1951-1955 period highlights one of the most important and energetic periods of the NAACP as a movement. The NAACP secured the landmark constitutional ruling in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 and moved aggressively to integrate America's public schools.
Part 3, Series D Focuses on the desegregation of public schools, a major priority for the NAACP since the 1930s. An important issue in its own right because of the consequences of segregation upon the development and education of black children, school desegregation was also recognized by the association as the spearhead for racial integration throughout American society. As a result, opposition to practices that indirectly perpetuated school segregation ranked high on the NAACP agenda.
Part 4 contains the complete NAACP legal department files and subject files, as well as selected branch files, on all topics related to voting rights: white primary cases; the grandfather clause; literacy tests, registration abuses, intimidation, and violence; poll taxes and legislative apportionment in the South; and women's suffrage. The issue of black voting rights produced a bitter and long-fought struggle because both segregationists and civil rights leaders realized that full participation by blacks in the political process would serve as the key to protecting blacks from exploitation in many other areas.
Part 4, Supplement 1956 - 1965 This segment of Papers of the NAACP covers the top-level planning for NAACP voting rights drives and the state-by-state project files. Originally the NAACP had relied upon local activists from within the southern states. During the 1960s, however, other civil rights groups such as the Congress of Racial Equality and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee moved aggressively into the South on voting rights drives. Unlike the NAACP, the newer organizations relied heavily upon out-of-state volunteers, primarily college students.
Part 5 covers the NAACP's efforts to oppose the legal and extralegal means used in many areas to accomplish residential segregation. The segregation of blacks within urban centers throughout the nation is an important facet of 20th-century American history. With massive migrations of rural blacks to urban centers in both the South and the North, anxiety and hostility spread among urban whites, and efforts were routinely taken to restrict blacks to specific residential locales. In response the NAACP launched widespread challenges. Part 5 makes available the complete files on cases and topics related to housing: segregation ordinances, restrictive covenants, discriminatory zoning ordinances, violence and mob actions against blacks, and discrimination in federal housing programs.
Part 5, Supplement 1956 - 1965 Documents in great depth the association's determined efforts to challenge these practices in hundreds of communities.
Part 6 reproduces the complete NAACP files of one of the most celebrated criminal trials and civil liberties cases of the century. The case was tried, appealed, and retried several times, and among the results were two landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases, a torrent of worldwide publicity on the plight of blacks in the southern judicial system, and a tangled relationship between the Communist Party and the civil rights movement headed by the NAACP.
Part 7, Series A Offers the key NAACP national office files on the campaign against lynching and mob violence. Series A contains the records of the association's investigation into lynchings and race riots throughout the country and especially in the South.
Part 7, Series B Contains the records of the association's sustained efforts to raise American consciousness of the specter of lynching and to enact federal antilynching legislation as a means of deterring the practice.
Part 8, Series A & Series B Contains case files from the NAACP Legal Department that span nearly a half century and are valuable for research on constitutional law, politics, and blacks in the legal profession, as well as on abuses practiced within the criminal justice system. Included in Part 8 are the files for all cases that the NAACP supported in the categories of crime, extradition, jury discrimination, police brutality, and rape, as well as files on cases in these categories that were investigated and rejected by the legal staff.
Part 9, Series A Part 9 is an exceptionally rich documentary source on blacks in the armed forces between 1918 and the early 1950s. The files are of importance for scholars of the armed forces' political and legal history, as well as black history. To date these documents have not been fully exploited. Series A contains the General Office Files and focuses on the campaign to end segregation in the armed forces.
Part 9, Series B Contains court martial and similar case records from the NAACP's Legal Department files.
Part 9, Series C Includes the complete extant files of the Department of Veterans' Affairs.
Part 10 focuses on the campaign against discriminatory treatment of black workers in the nation's factories, farms, and federal bureaucracy. Because legal tools for attacking job discrimination were virtually nonexistent, the NAACP sought remedies to many complaints it constantly received through petitions to labor unions, private employers, and government officers. During the Depression, the NAACP's interest in economic issues grew. Highlights of Part 10 include the files on federal civil service, World War I and black migration, labor unions, peonage and Mississippi flood control, and New Deal agencies.
Part 11, Series A & B An omnibus edition of all important subject files from the years before 1940 that have not been made available in Parts 1 through 10 of this series. Part 11 comprises subject areas in which NAACP records are not extensive enough for separate parts but which are crucial to the NAACP's early history. Together with the subject files published in Parts 1 through 10, the availability of Part 11 makes it possible for research libraries to acquire every significant NAACP subject file through 1939. Because of the large quantity of material, Part 11 is available in two alphabetically arranged series, Series A: Africa through Garvey, Marcus and Series B: Harding, Warren G. through YWCA.
Part 12 contains the pre-1940 correspondence between the national office and the most important and interesting local branches. Given the uneven nature of branch records, the editors have included only the most complete and revealing ones. Subdivided into series by regions (South, Northeast, Midwest, and West), each series contains records on NAACP branches in major metropolitan areas, small towns, and even rural hamlets. The branch files chronicle the impressive early legacy of civil rights activism whith black communities throughout the United States, efforts to build permanent community-based protest organizations, to secure the cooperation of white liberals, and to fend of white reaction. They shed light on relations with other organizations inside the black community and with competing factions within the local branches. The files also indicate how effectively the national office used the branches to advance the national program. Branch files frequently contain biographical information on numerous local civil rights leaders whose efforts have been largely unchronicled by historians.
Part 12, Series A Includes: Birmingham and Mobile, Alabama; Little Rock and Camden, Arkansas; the District of Columbia; Atlanta, Georgia; Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky; Durham and Raleigh, North Carolina; Columbia, South Carolina; Houston, Texas; Baton Rouge, Monroe, and New Orleans, Louisiana; Baltimore, Maryland; and state conferences in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas.
Part 12, Series B Includes: Wilmington, Delaware; Jamaica, Manhattan, and Buffalo, New York; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; New England regional conference; and state conferences in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.
Part 12, Series C Includes: Chicago, Decatur, and Champaign, Illinois; Gary and Indianapolis, Indiana; Detroit, Port Huron, and Bay City, Michigan; St. Louis, Missouri; Duluth, Minnesota; Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Masillon, Ohio; Charleston, West Virginia; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and state conferences in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan.
Part 12, Series D Includes: San Diego and San Francisco, California; Denver, Colorado; Des Moines, Iowa; Atchison, Coffeyville, Fort Scott, and Topeka, Kansas; and state conferences in Oklahoma, northern California, and Kansas.
Part 13, Series A Contains scores of files arranged by industry and occupation. Along with the complaints are filed records of the NAACP's responses. There are files devoted to monitoring compliance with those few state laws prohibiting race discrimination in hiring. Several major strikes, like that at Ford in 1941, have their own files, as do unions that were the subjects of complaints or were encouraging integration. Separate file series are devoted to southern sharecroppers and migrant farm labor in the Northeast. The extensive correspondence files of NAACP labor secretaries Clarence Mitchell and Herbert Hill provide a unifying perspective.
Part 13, Series B Focuses on the emergence of a national lobby for civil rights, with a large segment on fair employment practices. Led by the NAACP, it was in the early 1950s that the Leadership Council on Civil Rights was formed. The elevation of employment discrimination to the top of the civil rights agenda was related to the renewed demographic shift of blacks from the rural South to urban industrial centers starting on the eve of American entry into World War II. It was during the war that the coalition began to be formed among rights organizations, unions, and church groups, a coalition that would endure largely intact up to the present. The files show the NAACP's crucial role in the 1941 March on Washington movement, its influence on the staffing of the wartime Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC), the lobby to make the FEPC a permanent agency, and the formation of the Leadership Council on Civil Rights in the 1950s. In addition, there is extensive coverage of the NAACP's congressional relations in the period and of problems with communist activity in the civil rights movement.
Series B comprises the NAACP headquarters' correspondence with its partners in the coalition for fair employment practices, memos on legislative strategies, congressional correspondence, and draft legislation generated in the course of lobbying for their common cause in Washington.
Part 13, Series C Documents the problems the NAACP faced in the absence of fair employment practices legislation. Wartime files show the legal department working closely with the federal FEPC. After the war, when the FEPC was allowed to lapse, effective redress tapered off sharply, and the legal staff was forced to focus on the states that had their own fair employment practices laws. Here also are abundant records of a case against a railroad brotherhood, which demonstrate the impracticality of private litigation as a remedy. UPA's indexes to this material provide researchers access to geographic and occupational breakdowns.
Part 13, Supplement 1956 - 1965 In the decade covered by the supplement to Part 13 of Papers of the NAACP, the association struggled for an effective means to combat pervasive racial discrimination in the American labor force. Comprehensive federal civil rights legislation was not yet at hand, and the national prosperity of the 1950s and 1960s excluded most African Americans. In its determination to provide African Americans with entry to the economic mainstream, the NAACP exposed and confronted every aspect of employment discrimination in the modern labor force. The records here document the NAACP's wide-ranging campaign.
Part 14 This material provides major evidence of the connection between the American civil rights movement and the problem of colonialism throughout the world in the 1940s and 1950s.
Part 15, Series A Major themes of Part 15 are the struggle to combat racial segregation in the North and protests against the entrenched segregation of the South. Also highlighted are the problems of acting against private organizations and property owners in the era before federal civil rights legislation. Series A: Legal Department Files shows the different approaches the NAACP used to combat segregation before the entire practice was finally ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1954. Because segregation in the South was firmly entrenched in state laws, the NAACP's legal efforts were centered largely in the more promising North and on interstate transportation cases.
Part 15, Series B Provides an extensive record of segregationist practices among private or quasi-public national organizations such as the American Bar Association, the Red Cross, the American Legion, and professional baseball teams. Of special significance are the scores of cases involving discrimination against black servicemen and war veterans.
Part 16, Series A & B For a close look at the internal workings of the NAACP from 1919 through 1955, no research source can surpass the board of directors' correspondence and committee materials. While previously available board of directors minutes provide a record of the NAACP's growth and development, the correspondence and committee materials of the board add revealing detail and perspective. Virtually every issue that the NAACP took up between 1919 and 1955 falls within the scope of Part 16, including lynching and mob violence, depression relief, wartime migration and housing discrimination, segregation, employment discrimination, and competition with organizations like Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association and the American Communist Party. Individual board members' responses to these problems are well documented in both the correspondence and committee files.
Part 17 documents the growth of the NAACP's support at the local level. The reports also shed light on the political issues important to blacks during the 1940s and 1950s.
Part 17, Supplement 1956 - 1965 The files document the actions of NAACP leaders to implement the association's ambitious program of desegregation and expansion of civil rights throughout the United States. They include high-level staff conference reports on the development and coordination of strategy. They reveal the behind-the-scenes disputes on some points, as well as assessments of the association's public image in an era of increasing mass media coverage of race relations.
Part 18, Series A Includes files on the Ku Klux Klan in the 1940s, communism and anticommunism during the years of the "red scare," the congressional prosecution of Hollywood personalities, the prosecution of conscientious objectors during World War II, the persecution of the pro-Japanese network of African Americans known as the Pacific Movement, efforts of the Farm Security Administration to establish black sharecropper communities in the cotton South, and prison conditions throughout the United States.
Part 18, Series B Reproduces subject files through the first part of the alphabet. Among the highlights are files entitled American Civil Liberties Union, American Indians, Mary McLeod Bethune, Theodore Bilbo, Civil Rights Bills, CORE, Thomas E. Dewey, the Dies Committee, W. E. B. Du Bois, James Eastland, the FBI, William Hastie, and Japanese.
Part 18, Series C File titles include, among many others, Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Loyalty Boards, Joseph McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Politics, Poll Tax, Adam Clayton Powell, The President's Committee on Civil Rights, and Paul Robeson. Among the highlights are papers covering vigilante and economic retaliations against blacks in Mississippi in the 1950s.
Part 19, Series A Covers the Youth Department's formative years, the period 1919-1939, when the NAACP's focus was on antilynching legislation. Records in this segment cover the first four national youth conventions; correspondence with local, state, and college chapters; and the youth movement's role in antilynching demonstrations and other special events.
Part 19, Series B Series B and C span the entire national office alphabetical subject files of the Youth Department from 1940 through 1955. Series B runs from the beginning of the subject files through the letter M; Series C runs from the letter N to the end of the files. Subjects covered in Series B include the American Jewish Congress, Discrimination in Campus Organizations, Fair Employment Practices Committee, Fieldwork, Howard University, Integration of Qualified Negro Teachers, Leadership Training Institute, and Motion Picture Project.
Part 19, Series C Subjects covered in Series C include the National Commission on Children and Youth, National Conference on Prevention and Control of Juvenile Delinquency, National Emergency NAACP Youth Conference, Southeast Regional Conferences, Students for Democratic Action, Young Men's Christian Association, and Young Women's Christian Association.
Part 19, Series D Details the infusion of energy from hundreds of young men and women into the NAACP in the decade following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision Brown v. Board of Education. The records show how the roots of youthful militancy in the 1960s ran deep into the preceding decade. They document an outpouring among both African American and white youths of energy and political action dedicated to basic change and improvement of race relations in the United States. Due largely to this youth movement, the NAACP played a far greater role than many Americans have realized in "direct action" events of the 1960s that occurred in every part of the United States. These files challenge the notion that the NAACP was a stolid, strategically conservative organization, outflanked by more militant clerical and student organizations like the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
Part 20 This segment of Papers of the NAACP documents the NAACP's reaction to the relentless white resistance to the civil rights movement from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s. The material records some of the movement's most dramatic episodes, including: * The bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama * The lynchings of Charles Mack Parker and Emmett Till * The murders of civil rights workers such as Viola Liuzzo and Medgar Evers * Mass arrests of civil rights demonstrators in Birmingham, Selma, and elsewhere * The bombings, arrests, and acts of brutality against well-known leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Roy Wilkins, Fred Shuttlesworth, and Aaron Henry, and against countless civil rights activists and other innocent people throughout the South The records in Part 20 are excellent sources on how incidents of intimidation and violence directed against the NAACP were used by it as grounds for increasing federal involvement in the struggle. Part 20 is a key segment of the documentary record on the motivations for the civil rights legislation of the 1960s. In addition, the hundreds of private communications in Part 20 reveal the courage and resolve of individual civil rights leaders.
Part 21 Documents the NAACP's relationship with each of these movements and their leaders. While the NAACP ultimately supported Martin Luther King Jr. in all his ventures, the documents reveal occasional tension and uncertainty. Part 21 also records the NAACP's effort to unify the movement under the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, an umbrella group that included over 50 civil rights, labor, fraternal, and religious organizations. The documents record elements of both conflict and cooperation in the NAACP's relationship with the hundreds-possibly thousands-of students who participated in various forms of direct action. These students often turned to the NAACP for legal assistance when they were incarcerated, prosecuted, and sometimes brutalized by southern law enforcement agencies.
Part 22 The Legal Department kept reference files on the entire array of civil rights matters in the 1950s and 1960s. Part 22 includes those reference files. The files are essentially a mix of correspondence with local civil rights attorneys on cutting-edge legal strategies and a collection of reference materials on every aspect of civil rights law.
Part 23, Series A Reproduces the documentary record of this litigation. Among the contested issues were school integration, abuses of police procedure, racial discrimination, freedom of speech, privacy, freedom of association, and housing discrimination. Series A: The South includes several landmark constitutional cases of the 1960s, including Gomillion v. Lightfoot, attacking the racial gerrymandering of local voting districts; NAACP v. Alabama, asserting the NAACP's right of association free of state interference; and several others, including the cluster of cases in defense of the Jackson, Mississippi, student demonstrators. There are numerous cases involving prominent southern and student civil rights leaders such as Aaron Henry, Robert Moses, Daisy Bates, and Chuck McDew. The states covered by Series A are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.
Part 23, Series B States covered in this segment are Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.
Part 23, Series C Comprises mostly midwestern litigation. There are several large cases devoted to fair housing opportunities in Detroit and many school desegregation cases throughout the region. Like the cases pressed in the Northeast, the Midwest and Far West cases often challenge the subtle discriminatory policies that were rampant in education, housing, and employment. The Far West cases include school and employment discrimination cases in California. States covered by this series are California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, and West Virginia.
Part 23, Supplement 1960 - 1972, Series A, Section 1 The case files in Supplement to Part 23 pertain to school desegregation, employment discrimination, discrimination in the criminal justice system, voting rights, and demonstrations and boycotts. The files consist of correspondence discussing strategic decisions in the litigation process, exhibits, briefs, lawyers’ notes, depositions, and transcripts of court proceedings. Series A covers southern states and is further divided into three sections. Section I covers Alabama, Arkansas, and Florida.
Part 23, Supplement 1960 - 1972, Series A, Section 2 Covers Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.
Part 23, Supplement 1960 - 1972, Series A, Section 3 Covers Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas.
Part 23, Supplement 1960 - 1972, Series B, Section 1 The documents in this section consist of the working case files of the NAACP’s general counsel and legal department staff for Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. The cases from these states primarily relate to employment discrimination and school desegregation. The cases are organized alphabetically by state and within each state alphabetically by case name.
Part 23, Supplement 1960 - 1972, Series B, Section 2 The documents in this section consist of the working case files of the NAACP’s general counsel and legal department staff for New York State. The major topics covered in these cases are discrimination in housing, employment, and education. The cases are organized alphabetically by case name.
Part 23, Supplement 1960 - 1972, Series C, Section 1 The documents in this section consist of forty-eight sets of working case files, organized alphabetically, of the NAACP’s general counsel and legal department staff for Ohio, primarily for the years from 1965 to 1972. The major topics covered in these cases are discrimination in employment, labor union membership, and housing—and half of the cases pertain to the cities of Akron, Columbus, and Dayton. One indicator of the importance of the Ohio cases is that Greene County NAACP branch president Sidney O. Davis, himself a federal employee, played a key role in the national organization’s 1967 convention resolution condemning “discrimination against Negro federal employees at all military bases and federal agencies” (Reel 18, Frame 0163).
Part 23, Supplement 1960 - 1972, Series C, Section 2 The major legal issues highlighted in these documents are segregation in public schools and discrimination in housing, employment, labor union membership, public facilities, and the administration of justice, mostly in the years immediately following the landmark federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. As a whole, the collection reveals the breadth of situations throughout the ten states covered in which people sought the legal assistance of the NAACP, as well as the limits to the national organization’s ability to respond effectively to those needs. Many of the smaller case files contain only a portion of the material involved in a particular controversy, indicating that the NAACP Legal Department played only a supplementary or advisory role in addressing a grievance. In some instances, NAACP involvement on behalf of a client proved fruitless.
Part 24, Series A, B, & C Areas covered include relations with African colonial liberation movements, relations with the Black Muslim movement, the organizing of support among Christian churches for the civil rights cause, the fending off of charges of communist influence in the NAACP, racial injustice in the criminal justice system, relations with Jews, and more. In addition, the omnibus collection includes files on NAACP fund-raising and membership recruitment as well as numerous files of correspondence with prominent individuals.
Part 25, Series A Shows how national branch director Gloster Current set up regional offices to provide a full-time professional staff to link the local branch structure to the national office. Regional staff helped local organizations with leadership training, access to NAACP legal staff, increasing membership, raising funds, and generating publicity about local work. They recorded details about local community leadership and political networks. In addition, they guided local branches toward the NAACP's national program and away from affiliations with communist and competing organizations.
Part 25, Series B This part consists of the in-depth reports and correspondence from NAACP regional field secretaries and the comprehensive annual activities reports of hundred of local branches. These documents provide a panoramic view of local civil rights activism throughout the United States, revealing a national surge in grassroots activism in the wake of U.S. mobilization for World War II and the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education. Series B, Regional Files and Special Reports 1956-1965 places NAACP local branches in the midst of 1960s political activism.
Part 25, Series C This series of branch department files is composed of five subsidiaries: branch directories; handbooks and manuals; branch, state conference, and regional newsletters; convention programs; and branch, state conference, and regional reports. Major topics covered include campaigns against segregated schools and discrimination in education and employment, and NAACP political involvement.
Part 25, Series D Consists of the correspondence and reports of the regional and state field secretaries. Perhaps the most outstanding feature of these field secretaries’ reports is the extent to which they document other less well-known episodes and, in so doing, reveal the nationwide explosion of civil rights activity that occurred after 1955. For example, the reports of New York–New England area field secretary Thomas H. Allen describe civil rights demonstrations throughout the region and efforts to create employment opportunities for African Americans. The correspondence of Althea T. L. Simmons reveals a vibrant movement for civil rights in California. Other less well-known episodes mentioned in these files include economic reprisals against African Americans for voter registration in Haywood and Fayette Counties, Tennessee; demonstrations in Cairo, Illinois; and the Sanford, North Carolina, freedom movement.
Part 26, Series A This series of Papers of the NAACP documents the activities of branch offices and state conferences in Alabama, Arkansas, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. The files are arranged alphabetically by state and thereunder by city and span from 1940 to 1955. In addition to providing essential detail on local NAACP leaders and events, this series of branch files provides insight into regional and national developments of the 1940s and 1950s. The dramatic growth in membership in the south allowed the NAACP to strengthen greatly its campaigns against discrimination in education, employment, public facilities, housing, and the voting booth.
Part 26, Series B This series of Papers of the NAACP documents the activities of NAACP branch offices and state conferences in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. The files are arranged alphabetically by state and span from 1940 to 1955.
Part 26, Series C This series of Papers of the NAACP documents the activities of NAACP branch offices and state conferences in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. The files are arranged alphabetically by state and span from 1940 to 1955.
Part 26, Series D This series of Papers of the NAACP documents the activities of NAACP branch offices and state conferences in Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, South Dakota, and Washington State. The files are arranged alphabetically by state and span from 1940 to 1955.
Part 27, Series A This series of Papers of the NAACP documents the activities of branch offices and state conferences in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. The files are arranged alphabetically by state and thereunder by city and span from 1956 to 1965. The Branch Department files in this edition provide an important perspective on the functioning of local NAACP branches and state conferences during the high point of the post–World War II struggle for civil rights. The files contain correspondence from the national office to the branches as well as correspondence and reports generated at the local level and forwarded to the national office. The correspondence covers a wide variety of local matters such as branch elections, membership drives, fundraising, factional disputes, local civil rights initiatives, planning for mass meetings, and relationships with other organizations.
Part 27, Series B This series of Papers of the NAACP documents the activities of NAACP branch offices and state conferences in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. The files are arranged alphabetically by state and thereunder by city and span from 1956 to 1965. The Branch Department files contain correspondence from the national office to the branches as well as correspondence and reports generated at the local level and forwarded to the national office. These files cover a wide variety of local matters such as branch elections, membership drives, fundraising, factional disputes, and local civil rights initiatives.
Part 27, Series C This series of Papers of the NAACP documents the activities of NAACP branch offices and state conferences in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. The files are arranged alphabetically by state and thereunder by city and span from 1956 to 1965. The files contain correspondence from the national office to the branches as well as correspondence and reports generated at the local level and forwarded to the national office. These files cover a wide variety of local matters such as branch elections, membership drives, fund-raising, factional disputes, and local civil rights initiatives. The most well-documented campaigns in this edition pertain to schools and employment discrimination.
Part 27, Series D This series of Papers of the NAACP documents the activities of NAACP branch offices and state conferences in Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, South Dakota, and Washington State. The files are arranged alphabetically by state and span from 1940 to 1955.
Part 28, Series A & B This edition of Papers of the NAACP consists of the General Office Files from Group IV of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Records collection at the Library of Congress. Arranged alphabetically by subject, these General Office Files provide an in-depth look at some of the most important developments in the civil rights struggle between 1966 and 1970. These include the emergence of the Black Power movement, the enactment of open housing legislation, the fight against discrimination by employers and labor unions, the War on Poverty, urban riots, and the Vietnam War. Part 28, Series A, consists of the General Office Files spanning from letters A to P: from “Africa” to “Poor People’s Campaign.” Part 28, Series B, comes from the same General Office Files and spans from letters P to Z: from “Powell, Adam Clayton, Jr.” to “White Supremacy.”
Part 29, Series A Contains the regular reports and correspondence of the NAACP’s professional field staff. Put into place after World War II to be effective communicators and organizers and to provide local branch leaders with technical assistance and training, by the late 1960s, the field staff was operating as a highly effective network, providing regular communication from the local level to the national office.
Part 29, Series B This series of Branch Department files is composed of five subseries: Newsletters, Annual Reports, Annual Activities Reports, General Office Files, and Staff files of Branch Director Gloster B. Current. The files primarily span from 1966 to 1972; however, four of the subseries have some items dated from before 1966. The documents in this collection allow for a detailed view of the main issues, concerns, and campaigns of NAACP branches during the period between 1966 and 1972. They show NAACP branches grappling with the concept of Black Power, which gained national attention after Stokely Carmichael used the phrase at a rally in June 1966 in Greenwood, Mississippi. The NAACP also continued to work toward its traditional goal of ending discrimination in all aspects of American life. School desegregation and quality education for African Americans continued to be a major focus of the NAACP after 1965.
Part 29, Series C This series of Branch Department files spans from 1966 to 1971 and comprises three subseries: Branches—Newsletters and Other Material, Regions, and Regional Files. The first subseries of branch newsletters and printed materials reveals an active and diverse NAACP branch network that continued to work for the association’s long-standing goal of ending discrimination in American life. The Regions and Regional Files subseries contain correspondence and reports on local, state, and regional NAACP initiatives. This part of Papers of the NAACP shows that, even after the passage of federal civil rights legislation in 1964 and 1965, NAACP branches continued to work to end discrimination in housing, education, employment, and the criminal justice system. This part also covers some of the new challenges faced by the association during this period, including the rise of the Black Power movement, urban riots, and President Richard M. Nixon’s attempts to appoint Supreme Court justices who opposed the NAACP’s civil rights agenda. The diverse reaction of NAACP branches to the concept of Black Power is a particularly interesting in this group of files.
Part 29, Series D This series of Papers of the NAACP consists of the General Department Files of the NAACP’s Branch Department for the period from 1966 to 1970. The files primarily consist of correspondence and reports from Branch Department field staff and from Branch Director Gloster B. Current. The files are arranged alphabetically by subject or by name of correspondent. Gloster B. Current led the NAACP’s Branch Department from 1946 to 1976 and this General Department File reflects Current’s strong presence in the department. The largest group of files in this edition consists of correspondence, memoranda, speeches, and reports pertaining to Current. Another significant concentration of files in this edition consists of correspondence and reports from Branch Department state and regional field staff. Current required the field staff to submit detailed monthly and annual reports summarizing NAACP initiatives and other developments in their state or region. Field staff covered in this edition include Thomas H. Allen (New York–New England area); Harvey Ronald H. Britton (Louisiana); Kenneth L. Buford (Alabama); Marvin Davies (Florida); Sydney Finley (Midwest Region); Gertrude Gorman (field director at large); Jerry M. Guess (New York–New England area); Charles E. Mays (West Coast Region); I. DeQuincey Newman (South Carolina); Phillip H. Savage (Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware); and Harold C. Strickland (Ohio).
Part 30, Series A This edition of Papers of the NAACP consists of the General Office Files in Group VI of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Records collection at the Library of Congress. Arranged alphabetically by subject, these files document several of the challenges facing the NAACP between 1966 and 1972. These include the NAACP’s relationship with Black Power organizations and leaders, new obstacles in the field of school desegregation, continuing efforts to combat discrimination in housing and employment, and confrontations with President Richard M. Nixon, particularly over school desegregation and his nominees for the U.S. Supreme Court.
Part 1 Official Inventories of Papers and Other Historical Materials of the Nixon White House -
The Official Inventories collects in one convenient publication the finding aids to all of the Nixon presidential files that have been opened to the public.
Part 2 The President’s Meeting File, 1969–1974
This collection consists of detailed memoranda describing the numerous official sessions in which President Nixon met with key political figures and members of his administration. Although each of the meetings in this collection includes individuals outside the White House staff, the memoranda were written by staff members whose attendance was required at the meetings. Among the chief authors of the memoranda are Patrick Buchanan, Charles Colson, Alexander Haig, Henry Kissinger, and Caspar Weinberger. The following are among the hundreds of meeting sessions detailed in this collection: with Roy Wilkins on civil rights; Nelson Rockefeller on urban affairs; the cabinet on welfare reform; George Meany on political support from the AFL-CIO; and Robert Byrd on school busing.
Part 3 John Ehrlichman: Notes of Meetings with the President, 1969–1973
John Ehrlichman was President Nixon’s chief assistant in dealing with domestic policy matters; as such, his access to the President was second only to H. R. Haldeman’s. Ehrlichman’s contemporaneous handwritten notes for approximately 1,000 meetings and telephone conversations with Richard Nixon shed valuable light on White House attitudes and strategies toward a host of domestic issues.
Part 4 The John Ehrlichman Alphabetical Subject File, 1969–1973
Throughout his years in the White House, John Ehrlichman maintained an alphabetical subject file consisting of memoranda and reports documenting his varied activities on behalf of the Nixon administration. Since Ehrlichman was given wide-ranging responsibilities in many areas of domestic affairs, his files are particularly rich on such major policy issues as revenue sharing, antitrust, integration in housing and education, government reorganization, and the 1972 election strategy.
Part 5 H. R. Haldeman: Notes of White House Meetings, 1969–1973
As the President’s chief of staff from January 1969 through May 1973—and as Nixon’s most trusted aide—H. R. Haldeman attended innumerable White House meetings and was privy to almost every political decision that Richard Nixon made. Haldeman’s extensive and meticulous handwritten notes of these meetings—from one-on-one discussions with Nixon; to formal policy sessions attended by Nixon, his advisers, and aides; to strategy sessions with other staff members and cabinet officials—provide the quintessential inside view of the administration.
Part 6 The President’s Office Files, Series A: Documents Annotated by the President, 1969-1974
Covering 1969–1974, the materials in these files are particularly revealing in that, through hundreds of notes, memos, and annotations in Nixon’s handwriting, researchers are given an intimate view of the daily activities, thoughts, and opinions of the President during these crucial years.
Series A: Documents Annotated by the President, 1969–1974 contains memoranda, incoming and outgoing correspondence, news clippings, and reports bearing notes in President Nixon’s handwriting. Such notations are crucial to any understanding of the Nixon presidency because they served as Nixon’s method of initiating action on a wide range of issues. The annotations themselves range from underlined passages to in-depth summaries of policy on such subjects as Vietnam, revenue sharing, crime, the ABM, Cambodia, the 1972 presidential campaign, urban affairs, wage and price controls, campus disorders, school busing, China, the energy crisis, and women’s rights.
Series B: Daily News Summaries Annotated by the President, 1969–1973 comprises a collection of all of the daily news summaries on which President Nixon made handwritten notations. The news summaries were prepared for the President on a regular basis by the Office of Media Analysis and Speechwriting. Nixon’s marginalia on the news summaries cover a wide field of subjects and, as with the annotated documents, the notations were often intended to be directions to the staff. In such cases, H. R. Haldeman would provide a memorandum to the appropriate person, informing him of Nixon’s request.
Part 7 President’s Personal Files, 1969–1974
President Nixon’s personal White House files are organized in three subfiles, all spanning the years 1969–1974. The "President’s Speech File" segment constitutes about 75 percent of Part 7. It is of special interest on two accounts. First, in addition to final texts, it offers the drafts, critiques of drafts, notes, and background documentation in the hand of the President or others, allowing researchers to study the evolution of a speech.
Second, it includes remarks that were never recorded by the press because the audience was limited to a small, select group such as the cabinet or legislative leaders. It contains transcripts of remarks as delivered, including extemporaneous talks such as those to visiting delegations.
The "Name/Subject File" consists of correspondence, memoranda, notes, and clippings involving people and topics important to the President. It includes copies of outgoing handwritten presidential letters and incoming letters, often from notable people or reflecting notable occasions. Alphabetically arranged by name or subject, this subfile makes up about 20 percent of Part 7.
The third file is of "Memoranda from the President," primarily to his White House staff, his family, and other associates. Often reflecting matters he felt strongly about, subjects include the hijacking of planes to Cuba, the inertia of the bureaucracy, security leaks, revenue sharing, and means of dealing with political opponents. Arranged in chronological order, this subfile constitutes about 5 percent of Part 7.
Part 8 The Nixon White House Tapes: The Complete Transcripts Prepared by the Watergate Special Prosecution Force.
Consists of Oval Office tape transcripts of 85 conversations. Prepared by the Watergate prosecutors, the transcripts cover some 59 hours of conversations on 2,786 pages. The subject matter of the transcribed tapes focuses on responses to the investigations of the Watergate break-in and associated issues such as the "plumbers" activities, the administration’s handling of the Milk Fund, and the administration’s relations with ITT.
Microfilm. Gov E 441 .R27
Legislative petitions on race and slavery from 1777 to 1867. Relevant to many aspects of life in the South.
Series I: Petitions to Southern Legislatures, 1777-1867
This collection includes nearly 3,000 petitions to southern legislatures. These petitions add significantly to existing documentation on the history of race in the United States from the beginning of state governments through the Civil War. The Petitions Project has received support from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. This microfilm collection gives researchers access to important but virtually unused primary source materials that were scattered in state archives of Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. The collection includes virtually all extant legislative petitions on the subject of race and slavery. The documents were written by a broad range of persons, including blacks and whites, males and females, slaveholders and nonslaveholders. The petitions reveal how state legislatures dealt with with the legal ambiguities of slavery and how impersonal market forces worked within the "peculiar institution."
Microfilm Gov E441 . R272
Series II: Petitions to Southern County Courts, 1777-1867
Part A: Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi
The county court petitions in this collection offer immediate testimony on a broad range of subjects by a variety of southerners—black and white, slave and free, slaveholder and nonslaveholder, men and women. The documents include rare biographical and genealogical information about people of color; they detail how slaves, as chattel, could and often did find themselves sold, conveyed, or distributed as part of their masters’ estates; and they reveal the impact of market forces on the slave family. The guardianship and emancipation petitions present an unusually clear picture of the association between whites and free blacks, and the divorce petitions provide a unique picture of slaveholding white women. These documents give a unique view of the workings of local court systems: who approached the courts and why; how they fared; how their pleas varied in different states and locales during different time periods; and how judges and juries responded to their pleas. They illuminate, in hidden and unexpected ways, intellectual history and religious experience, containing references to debates over theology, ethics, law, social theory, and epistemology that occurred outside traditional academic, religious, and cultural institutions.
The value of these documents to scholars, students, and general readers of the humanities cannot be overemphasized. They reveal not only what southerners were saying, but what they were doing; not only what happened to slaves, but how slaves responded to their condition. They show how complex political, economic, legal, social, and cultural conditions affected the lives of all southerners, black and white, female and male, slave and free. In seeking to understand the impact of slavery on the people of the South, perhaps no available primary source offers more topical, geographical, and chronological breadth or penetrating depth of subject matter.
A substantial portion of the court records deal with estate distribution among slaveholding families. Some of these documents are perfunctory, but others reveal family disputes, charges of fraud or improper conduct, and disagreements among heirs about how and when slaves should be put on the auction block. In addition, they sometimes contain, either in the body of the petition or as an appendix, copies of wills, inventories, contracts, and reports by estate administrators or court appointed commissioners. The reports occasionally reveal black genealogical information stretching back to the mid-seventeenth century. It is here also that the rich documentary evidence concerning slaveholding children and their guardians can be found, complete with annual reports about slaves who were hired out, their appraised value, and the profits that accrued to their masters. Some of the most mechanical reports yield surprising data. When one slaveholder petitioned the court to sell the slave Hannah to cancel a note, the court-appointed commissioners reported that Hannah was knocked down for fifty cents—“(she could be sold for no more owing to her age & decrepitude).”
A second group of county court petitions concerns theft, murder, runaways, treatment of slaves, violence, patrols, rumored insurrections, militia units, self-hire, black preachers, religion, the sale of free blacks, slaves who were “casually lost,” buying and selling slaves, the domestic slave trade, colonization, and a host of other subjects.
A third group of documents comes from slaves and free persons of color. Georgia law, for example, required every adult free person of color to petition the local court to secure a white guardian. In the other three states, a few slaves freed by their owners but held in bondage by heirs sued for their freedom. Lastly, a small but significant portion of local remonstrances concern slaveholding white women seeking alimony and/or divorce. Female petitioners, often by their “next friend,” sought to dissolve their marriages and asked for support and maintenance for their children. Besides the important questions of law and equity, the divorce suits reveal, in great detail, some of the difficulties faced by the wives of slave owners.
Part B: Delaware, District of Columbia, and Maryland
The editor collected the documents from Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia during research trips to the Maryland State Archives for fifty-one days between October 1992 and May 1993; the Delaware Hall of Records (now the state archives) for six days in the late spring of 1995; and the National Archives Records Center, Suitland, Maryland, for fourteen days in January and February 1993 (the District of Columbia, Washington County records are now at the National Archives).
Among the most remarkable documents uncovered in Maryland were found in the six volumes of orphan’s court proceedings for Anne Arundel County (Annapolis). Unlike court minutes and proceedings in most counties, the clerk of court copiously copied the original bill of complaint into the record. These bills contained two types of information that are unique: the first concerns free black parents, who, because of their own pecuniary difficulties, were forced to sign indentures for their children to work away from the home; and the second concerns the whole system of indenture and apprenticeship for slave and free black children, as well as the response of blacks to this system. In the latter case, whites who held indentures for blacks constantly came before the court and obtained extension of services for an additional year, or two, or more. Thus, the post–Civil War system of apprenticeship that scholars have examined in detail can be viewed clearly in its developmental stages. Many of the Maryland petitions can also be found in the “Schweninger Collection,” a separate microfilm collection at the Maryland State Archives.
Many of the county records in Delaware reflect the influence of the Quakers, especially in Kent County. The emancipation petitions tell what happened to freed slaves following their manumission, how they coped with members of their family remaining in bondage, and how they found work to sustain themselves. There is also an excellent collection of documents in the state detailing various aspects of the domestic slave trade. Slaves were not supposed to be sold out of state and those who were taken out of state with their owners were not supposed to be sold immediately. How these laws worked in practice and how slaves were sold to traders is documented in petitions dealing with the transportation of slaves.
Among the most exciting petitions uncovered from the District of Columbia were presented by slaves and free blacks. Found in four records sets—“Segregated Habeas Corpus Papers, 1820–1863,” “Fugitive Slave Cases, 1851–1863,” “Emancipation Papers, 1862–1863,” and “Chancery Case Files, 1801–1863”—the suits were instituted by African Americans illegally held as runaways, by slave women seeking the freedom of their children, and by hired or self-hired African American laborers. In addition, there is an eleven-page plea, and about one hundred pages of accompanying testimony, involving insurance claims for slaves who took over the brig Creole and sailed it to Nassau in the Bahamas in November 1841. The attending testimony includes remarkable descriptions of the attitudes and appearance of individual slaves who participated in the revolt and were liberated by the British.
Part C: Virginia and Kentucky
During 1993 and 1994, the editor of the Petitions Project collected petitions in Virginia and Kentucky. Between June and May 1993, the editor spent a total of eighty-eight days conducting research at the Library of Virginia in Richmond and local courthouses. Most of the documents (about 89 percent) were uncovered in the Library of Virginia’s considerable collections of county court records, including excellent holdings for Southampton, Henrico, Chesterfield, Franklin, and Augusta Counties. As in other states, the bulk of the petitions concern estate distributions, slave sales, slave hiring, and squabbles among heirs about slave property, but there are also a significant number of documents detailing the struggles of blacks to gain their freedom. In one Lynchburg Circuit Court case, a group of African Americans provided a detailed genealogy of family members stretching back to the early eighteenth century, showing how and when they had achieved the status of free men and women; in other cases, slaves sued in forma pauperis, claiming they had been emancipated by a former master and were being held illegally in slavery by an heir of the estate.
Moreover, there are excellent documents concerning runaway slaves. While these are not as detailed as runaway slave notices appearing in local newspapers, they reveal with stark clarity the fate of persistent runaways who were invariably sold to slave traders or at a local auction. In one case, a slaveholding woman, after explaining the rebellious behavior of one particular slave, asked the court to authorize a quick sale, so that the slave would not learn of his impending sale and run away.
Virginia divorce petitions detail interracial liaisons, master violence, male dominance, and the difficult position of plantation mistresses. These documents also contain a number of free black divorce petitions, complete with depositions from slaveholding whites, ministers, businessmen, bondsmen and women, and free blacks. Added to these are several rare county court petitions from free persons of color seeking to return to slavery, one by a free African American in Lancaster County in 1856, another from a family of emancipated Sussex County blacks who returned from Liberia, declaring they would rather live as slaves in Virginia. Some documents were discovered in county or “corporation” (urban) courthouses, including those for Campbell, Dinwiddie, Halifax, Sussex, and Petersburg. Perhaps the most remarkable set of Virginia petitions came from the district court building in Petersburg. In a back room, hidden behind a 9' high record storage case, was a wall of Woodruff drawers stretching to the 12' high ceiling, 24 drawers across and 8 drawers high, housing a complete run of the Circuit Superior Court of Chancery records. With the special permission of Clerk of Court Albert A. Dawson Jr., the editor was allowed to peruse these previously unseen documents. The petitions uncovered during seven days of research tell about estate distributions, hiring of slaves, urban labor practices, and especially the internal workings of the free black community. There are, for example, a half-dozen free black divorce petitions, complete with testimony of slaves, ministers, members of the white gentry, and free persons of color.
Between December 1993 and April 1994, the editor spent sixty-one days in Kentucky conducting research at the Department for Libraries and Archives in Frankfort and two county courthouses. At state archives, the editor went through microfilm records of the circuit court for Barren (13 reels) and Butler (24 reels) Counties and the original manuscript case files for Jefferson (Louisville; 240 cubic feet), Scott (30 cubic feet), and Woodford Counties (156 cubic feet). The editor also conducted research in the courthouse of Harrison County (Cynthiana), going through 144 Woodruff drawers and approximately 7,200 case files, and Bourbon County (Paris), going through 376 Woodruff drawers (approximately 1,430 case packets). Perhaps the most exciting Kentucky material comes from Jefferson (Louisville) and Woodford (Versailles) Counties, where a significant proportion of the collected petitions were presented by free blacks and slaves. In Jefferson County, African Americans initiated nearly one out of three of the cases, including several successful cases against whites for nonpayment of debts. In Woodford County, the proportion was about the same, including a group of petitions from emancipated slaves being held in bondage and hired out by the widow of a slave owner who had died a decade before.
Part D: North Carolina and South Carolina
Between September and November 1991, the editor of the Petitions Project spent a total of nineteen days conducting research at the North Carolina Division of Archives and History in Raleigh. The state has done a most credible job in depositing local records at the state archives, flat-filing and organizing them in discrete collections. In North Carolina, the relevant petitions can be found in the county records under such heading as "Slave Records," "Slave Papers," "Civil Actions Concerning Slaves and Free Persons of Color," "Records of Slaves and Free Persons of Color," and "Miscellaneous Records." They can also be found in the manuscript records of the state supreme court. In addition to the editor collecting documents, during the fall and early winter of 1992–1993, two research assistants, Kate Knight and Douglas Bristol, spent twenty-eight days at the state archives locating and photocopying 167 county court petitions. They found them in the session records of the general assembly in records sets titled "Petitions (Liquor)," "Petitions (Alimony)," "Marriage," "Divorce," and "Vital Statistics."
As in other states, the bulk of North Carolina petitions concern property matters, especially the sale and/or distribution of slaves, estate management, and slave hiring. There are the same family squabbles over slave ownership, charges and counter-charges of mismanagement or duplicity, and disputes over the wording of wills. By the 1840s, partition petitions had become so common that printed forms were sent out to the local courts with a blank space for the names of slaves to be sold or partitioned. In contrast, there are excellent individual petitions concerning emancipation. At various times, the authority to manumit slaves came under the jurisdiction of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions. Slaveowners who wished to free their blacks were obliged to submit petitions, sometimes several pages in length, explaining why they had cause to do so. Most of the approximately 177 emancipation documents were from seven counties (Chowan, Craven, Guilford, Northampton, Orange, Pasquotank, and Perquimans), and most were presented during the early decades of the nineteenth century. Nonetheless, they contain unique details about slaveowners, freed slaves, and the circumstances surrounding emancipation. There are also excellent appellate cases in the records of the state supreme court. These cases began with a petition to the local court. Besides the legal issues involved, this set of documents contains valuable information about slaveholders, slaves, and free blacks.
Other North Carolina petitions tell about slave violence, runaways, slave patrols, rumored insurrections, white militia units, free blacks owning guns, and many other subjects. In Caswell County, a case was brought against a slave owner because he allowed one of his slaves the "freedom and privilege" to "work and traffic" and earn for himself $1,500. In Davie County, the heirs of free black Solomon Hall, like so many whites, petitioned the court with regard to Hall's estate. Several North Carolina blacks, including Henry Morgan of Nash County, petitioned the local court arguing that they were free people of color being illegally held in bondage. In other cases, petitioners provided descriptions of the "domestic" or "internal" slave economy, where slaves bought, traded, and sold various commodities, though this was against the law.
Between February and May 1992, the editor of the Petitions Project spent fifty-one days collecting documents at the State Department of Archives and History in Columbia, South Carolina. The state holds one of the largest and richest collections of county court petitions in the South. Like its neighbor to the north, South Carolina has done an excellent job of consolidating local records in the state archives and in 1988 published A Guide to Local Government Records in the South Carolina Archives. Although war, fire, and neglect have taken a toll (e.g., no estate papers survive for Beaufort, Charleston, Chesterfield, Colleton, Georgetown, Lancaster, Lexington, and Orangeburg districts), the record sets containing petitions—Equity and Ordinary/Probate court suits—have survived to a remarkable degree. In all, petitions involving race and slavery are extant for nearly two-thirds of South Carolina's districts (the state's appellation for counties during the antebellum period) and include a broad geographical distribution.
The county petitions in South Carolina provide rich and exciting documentation about race and slavery. There are numerous documents involving the sale and/or distribution of blacks following a master's death. Slaves, of course, were often sold in the South, but estate sales reveal perhaps as well as any single source the impersonal forces of the market place and how they affected black families. As in North Carolina, along with many of the petitions are answers by defendants, reports of court-appointed commissioners, accounts of appraisers and auctioneers, decrees and final judgments, and descriptions of sales. It is often possible to trace with some accuracy the eventual fate of slaves who were part of an estate.
Following the Denmark Vesey slave conspiracy, the South Carolina legislature passed a law requiring free persons of color to secure white guardians. Most of the nearly 150 free black guardianship petitions contained similar phraseology and types of information. From the guardianship petitions an unusually clear picture of the association between white protectors and black freemen and women can be drawn. These data are valuable in understanding the ambiguous and paradoxical nature of racial interaction, and for analyzing how, when, and why whites were willing to support blacks in a public forum. Whites who agreed to act as guardians described their free black charges as "sober, industrious and honest," "honest character and industrious habits," "good character and steady and industrious habits," "an industrious man & entitled to credit and confidence," and a man of "correct habits and unexceptional character." These petitions provide biographical data about free blacks and a profile of whites who acted as guardians.
There is also exceptional material in the South Carolina manuscripts concerning the testimony of white women who sought alimony (divorce was not permitted in the state until after the Civil War). Petitioning through their "next friend," a male co-petitioner, these women described their lives as filled with anxiety, fear, trepidation, and violence. There are a number of petitions like the one presented by Barnwell District slave mistress Eliza A. Ransom, the wife of Dr. Thomas S. Ransom, a respected physician. The nine-page document traced the husband's brutality (always when visitors were absent) over a three-year period: he repeatedly slapped her, knocked her to the floor, "abused and ill-treated her both by words and blows." He was "harsh, un Kind, contemptuous, degrading and cruel"; and he treated his slaves in the same manner. On one occasion, when he had ordered a slave girl to bring him some water, and his wife had asked her personal servant, Sally, to assist, the husband abruptly stepped out of the house, and began to beat the slave, "whereupon you Oratrix came down Stairs and mildly observed: 'Doctor, I told Sally to draw the water',—on which immediately turning round without uttering a word [to] her inflicted a severe blow on your Oratrix by which she was felled to the ground."
Part E: Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, and Texas
Part F: Louisiana (1775-1867)
There are a number of unique aspects to the Louisiana collection. First, the documents present, in bold relief, the complex set of forces surrounding a culture of former slaves, or children of former slaves, turned slave owners and endowed with slave-owning values and behaviors. The court records from a number of rural parishes, such as Natchitoches, Iberville, St. Landry, and West Baton Rouge, as well as urban New Orleans, offer a unique perspective on the culture of affluent families of free people of color.
Second, the Louisiana collection is unusual by the number of emancipation petitions it contains, about 42 percent of the collection. Emancipation petitions and their related documents illustrate the intricate web of economic and social relationships binding slave owners, black and white, with slaves. In petitions to local police juries, which were charged with deliberating on slave owners’ emancipation requests, and especially in related documents, such as wills and certificates of good behavior, entire lives unfold.
Third, financial transactions in Louisiana often revolved around slave sales and slave purchases between whites and free people of color who executed promissory notes for the purchase of slaves, which they were sometimes unable to honor. Creditors could be banks, merchants, friends and relatives, even enterprising unmarried free women of color.
Fourth, the the legacy of the French colonial period is palpable throughout the collection. First and last names are mostly French and, to a lesser extent, Spanish. So is the legal custom of calling a married woman by her maiden named followed by the designation “wife of.” The memory of Saint Domingue and of life on the island remained strong among those who had come to Louisiana fleeing the violent upheaval of the 1790s and early 1800s. A number of freedom suits center around persons of color claiming to have been born free or emancipated on the island but unable to prove their freedom because of the disappearance or burning of legal documents during the “troubles.”
Fifth, a marked difference between Louisiana and other states stems from the French legal environment as it pertains to women and property. Slightly more than 4 percent of the petitions were filed by married women “praying” to be separated “in property” from their husbands and to gain administration of their “own affairs.”
Lastly, the related documents submitted to the court in order to buttress a petitioner’s case are especially rich in details that provide texture to the life of the legal protagonists and help the reader understand the contextual framework of the collection. These documents uncover family history and connections that can only be surmised from the text of the petition itself. The related documents are especially rich in genealogical and financial information concerning the prominent families of free people of color. Online information
Paper Guide: Gov Ref E441 .R272
Microfilm. Papers from Southern plantations. Includes correspondence, wills, deeds, business records, and many other materials.
Series A. Selections from the South Carolina Library, University of South Carolina
Part 1: The Papers of James Henry Hammond, 1795-1865
Drawn from major repositories throughout the South, these primary documents are rich resources for scholars. They open new directions for research on plantations as economic and social systems, values and culture among the southern elite, slavery and emancipation, women's roles, life among the yeoman class, marketing of staple crops, national politics, southern politics, the Civil War, and myriad other aspects of the antebellum period. Because the plantation was a commercial enterprise, record keeping was essential. Many planters kept journals, crop books, overseers' journals, and account books in remarkable detail. Family members often kept personal diaries and corresponded extensively with friends and relatives near and far. Series A., P art 1 features the comprehensive papers of James Henry Hammond, a prominent planter and a secessionist leader in the U.S. Senate. Though his reputation was tainted by scandal in his time, Hammond remains famous today for arguing that "Cotton is King" in the South on the Senate floor. The second chapter of the Hammond family saga is told in Records of Southern Plantations from Emancipation to the Great Migration, Series C, Part 1: The Hammond Family Papers.
Part 2: Miscellaneous Collections
Series A, Part 2 contains valuable records of plantation owners from every region of South Carolina, from the rice plantations of the coastal lowlands to the cotton plantations of the central "upcountry" and Piedmont, with selections highlighting the westward expansion of 19th-century plantations.
Series B. Selections from the South Carolina Historical Society
Papers of families and individuals from the South Carolina low country are included in Series B, with a concentration of materials from St. John's Parish of the Charleston District. Also included are several outstanding plantation diaries including that of a low country minister, the Reverend Alexander Glennie.
Series C. Selections from the Library of Congress
Part 1: Virginia
Series C, Part 1 reproduces the correspondence and records of several Virginia planters, including William B. Randolph, Hill Carter, and James Bruce, which illustrate agricultural innovations, financial dealings, and details of plantation life.
Part 2: Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina
Series C, Part 2 contains papers from a great swath of the south, including the documents of two prominent South Carolina attorneys. Edward Frost owned several plantations himself and represented other major planters. The Franklin Elmore papers document the use of slaves in antebellum industrial firms such as iron foundries.
Series D. Selections from the Maryland Historical Society
Series D is distinguished by several rich 18th-century collections and by materials from plantations on which there were fewer than ten slaves. There are also significant antebellum women's diaries.
Series E. Selections from the University of Virginia Library
Part 1: Virginia Plantations
Series E, Part 1 is remarkable for the age, variety, and abundant detail of its selections. Several collections permit study of plantation practices prior to the closing of the transatlantic slave trade.
Part 2: Virginia Plantations
Series E, Part 2 is dominated by the papers of the Berkeley family from 1653 to 1865. The collection is exceptionally comprehensive for both the 18th and 19th centuries on such matters as land and crop sales, slave and medical accounts, and family and overseers' correspondence.
Part 3: Virginia Plantations
Series E, Part 3 contains two complementary collections from the southern border counties of Virginia -- materials from the "Southside Virginia" families of Bedford, Campbell, Charlotte, Franklin, Pittsylvania, Halifax, and Mecklenburg counties, and materials from the Bruce family of Halifax, Pittsylvania, and Roanoke counties.
Part 4: Cocke Family Papers
Series E, Part 4 includes several related collections concerning the notable Cocke family of Fluvanna County, Virginia. The papers of the Cockes, with plantations in Virginia and Alabama, and the related Barraud family, Faulcon family, and other families, consist of ca. 25,000 items from the period 1725- 1939.
Part 5: Ambler Family Papers
Series E, Part 5 concerns the related Ambler and Barbour families of Amherst and Orange counties, Virginia. Personal and business papers (largely of John Jaquelin Ambler and of his father-in-law, Philip Pendleton Barbour) deal with the estate Glen Ambler in Amherst.
Part 6: Virginia Plantations
Series E, Part 6 consists of over fifty collections documenting families and plantations in all parts of Virginia, as well as Alabama, Mississippi, and other states. Correspondence, plantation diaries, account books, and other records concern plantation life, slaves and slavery, family life, health and medicine, religion, and other aspects of life in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Series F. Selections from the Duke University Library
Part 1: The Deep South
Series F, Part 1 features records that depict the opening of the southern frontier in response to the cotton boom of the early 19th century. Among the exceptional collections are the papers of Henry Watson and Clement Claiborne Clay of Alabama.
Part 2: South Carolina and Georgia
Series F, Part 2 includes materials from the low-country plantations of absentee "rice barons." These collections shed light on the condition of slaves as well as on the society and economy of Charleston and Savannah.
Part 3: North Carolina, Maryland, and Virginia
Series F, Part 3 covers the upper South. It contains some of the most copious documentation on the interstate slave trade offered in the entire series. In addition, Part 3 reproduces several exceptionally rich 18th-century collections.
Part 4: North Carolina and Virginia Plantations
Drawn from twenty-five collections, Series F, Part 4 documents plantations in the Old North State, the Old Dominion, and adjacent areas of the South. Topics include tobacco culture, slaves and slavery, social life and travel, material culture, education, family life, women's studies, and other aspects of the antebellum South.
Part 5: William Patterson Smith Collection
Series F, Part 5 comprises the personal and business papers of William Patterson Smith (1796-1878), merchant and planter. Approximately one-half of the material pertains to the business records of the mercantile firm of William Patterson Smith and Thomas Smith in Gloucester and the grain trade throughout the Chesapeake area. Among the material are correspondence, bills and receipts, notes, bills of lading, orders, sales accounts, chancery court records, writs, estate papers, account books, indentures, wills, inventories, bank books, stock certificates, and bonds.
Series G. Selections from the Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin
Part 1: Texas and Louisiana Collections
Foremost among the numerous Texas collections in Series G, Part 1 are the Perry family papers, which document the family's migration to colonial Texas from Missouri as part of the Stephen F. Austin party and deal with such matters as land acquisition, sugar and cotton cultivation, plantation management, and slave ownership.
Part 2: William Massie Collection
Series G, Part 2 contains the papers of William Massie. A compulsive record keeper, Massie carefully documented every aspect of his plantation affairs from 1820 through 1865 in 188 volumes of diverse records and letters.
Part 3: Bank of the State of Mississippi Records, 1804-1846
Series G, Part 3 covers the voluminous papers of the Bank of the State of Mississippi. The bank, headquartered at Natchez and with branches at Port Gibson, Vicksburg, and Woodville, was chartered by area planters and conducted much of their financial business. Documents in the collection include correspondence about the credit extended to planters for plantation operations and the purchase of land and slaves, with much discussion of the notes of individual planters. Letters from institutions in Baltimore, Louisville, Nashville, New Orleans, and Philadelphia show how cash, commodities, and credit flowed throughout the antebellum United States.
Part 4: Winchester Family Papers, 1783-1906
Series G, Part 4 consists of the records of a family of Natchez lawyers. George Winchester, a native of Massachusetts, moved to Mississippi around 1820. In partnership with Sturges Sprague and later on his own, Winchester developed a legal practice representing the prominent landowners and slaveholders of the Natchez area. He also developed political ties and served as a state supreme court justice and legislator. His nephew, Josiah Winchester, joined him in his Natchez practice in 1835. Josiah married Margaret Sprague, a daughter of George Winchester's former partner, with whom he had 12 children. The younger Winchester later served as a judge. Records in Part 4 include correspondence, financial papers, and legal documents relating to innumerable plantations, slavery, and estate fiduciary transactions. Clients and correspondents include John Minor, Archibald Dunbar, Stephen Duncan, Wade Hampton, John A. Quitman, and the Natchez Rail Road Co.
Part 5: Natchez Trace Collection – Other Plantation Collections
Series G, Part 5: Other Plantation Collections includes more than 70 separate collections that provide a panorama of the plantation society of Louisiana and Mississippi, as well as documentation of emigration to Arkansas and Texas and immigration from South Carolina, Virginia, and other states. Many small collections in Part 5 provide insights into specific components of plantation life and culture. There are also new materials on many of the large planters featured in previously filmed collections, as well as the small planters and unheralded widows and orphans whose affairs are chronicled in this stellar material.
Series H. Selections from the Howard-Tilton Library, Tulane University, and the Louisiana State Museum Archives
Series H contains several rich collections of sugar planters in southern Louisiana, including rare records of two free black slaveholders. The papers of John McDonough detail the commercial development of the New Orleans area, and the minute books of the Citizens Bank reveal the network between planters and "land banks." Also included are important Georgia and South Carolina plantation records of the Jones and Colcock families.
Series I. Selections from Louisiana State University
Part 1: Louisiana Sugar Plantations
The collections in Series I, Part 1 document the sugar barons' regime at the turn of the 19th century and the spectacular growth in productivity and wealth under the slave labor system.
Part 2: Louisiana and Miscellaneous Southern Cotton Plantations
In Series I, Part 2 several rich collections from East and West Feliciana Parishes chronicle Louisiana's cotton kingdom. The largest collection in the group, the papers of Nathaniel Evans, offers a detailed record of life on the lower Mississippi River from the turn of the 19th century to the Civil War.
Part 3: The Natchez Area
The records making up Series I, Part 3 enable researchers to study this remarkable Mississippi locale, at one time home of more millionaires for its size than any other city in the country. Highlight collections include the papers of Lemuel P. Conner, William N. Mercer, and New Orleans factor and commission merchant William Kenner.
Part 4: Barrow, Bisland, Bowman, and Other Collections
Series I, Part 4 reproduces seven collections that focus on important cotton plantations along the east bank of the Mississippi River, especially between Natchez, Mississippi, and West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. Many of these planters also held extensive interests in sugar estates in southern Louisiana.
Part 5: Butler Family Collections
Series A, Part 5 includes eight manuscript collections that document the family of Judge Thomas Butler and Ann (Ellis) Butler of The Cottage, a cotton plantation in West Feliciana Parish. Among the earliest Protestant immigrants to the region, the Butlers and their relations held massive sugar plantations in Terrebonne Parish. Their papers provide details of the lives of plantation owners and African American laborers from the antebellum era through the Civil War and postwar eras.
Part 6: David Weeks and Family Collection
In Series I, Part 6: he echoes of a lost world reverberate in the records of the Weeks family. Their plantation, Shadows on the Teche, in Iberia Parish, Louisiana, remains an archetypal home visited by thousands each year. David Weeks built the Shadows shortly before his death in 1834. His widow, Mary Clara Conrad Weeks, and their family continued to make a home there. The family's personal letters and regular overseers' correspondence chart the seasonal rhythms of a sugar plantation and the life cycles of people connected with it. Diet, health, clothing, family relations and activities, slave insurrections and rebellions, relations with overseers, and work regimens are among the topics of discussion and concern.
Series J. Selections from the Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries
Part 1: The Cameron Family Papers
Series J, Part 1 charts the rise of a plantation family from 1770, when the family ran a country store along an Indian trail in central North Carolina, through the establishment of a plantation in 1778 followed by regular increases in land and slaves. The Cameron papers document women's success in managing large plantations during the men's absences, complicated legal agreements in upper-class marriages, slave genealogies, and the material culture of the times.
Part 2: The Pettigrew Family Papers
Series J, Part 2 begins in the 18th century and recounts the history of an influential coastal North Carolina family of planters, ministers, intellectuals, military officers, and politicians. The candor of the Pettigrew letters on slavery has been of enormous value to historians of the Old South for more than a generation.
Part 3: South Carolina
In Series J, Part 3: South Carolina, the plantation records are especially rich sources for the study of lowland cotton and rice plantations in Georgetown, Charleston, Colleton, and Beaufort districts. The pre-Revolutionary letterbook of a Charleston commission merchant and his correspondence with British merchants and absentee plantation owners is an exceptional source for the study of international commerce and plantation management. Upland plantations of Abbeville, Chesterfield, Claremont, Clarendon, Darlington, Fairfield, Kershaw, Pendleton, Richland, and Sumter districts are also well represented in the new selections. Planters here often owned several separate estates managed by other family members or overseers.
Part 4: Georgia and Florida
In Series J, Part 4: Georgia and Florida, the cotton and rice plantation records of lowland Georgia come from Bryan, Chatham, Glynn, and Liberty counties. The Georgia upland cotton plantations represented were in Baker, Baldwin, Bibb, Burke, Cass, Clarke, Habersham, Jasper, Jones, Murray, Morgan, and Muscogee counties. Florida cotton plantation records are from Alachua and Leon counties. As in South Carolina, Georgia Sea Island cotton and rice plantations were usually vast enterprises worked by huge slave forces. Upland Georgia and Florida cotton plantations often encompassed large acreages divided into several noncontiguous operating units and were managed by overseers.
Part 5: Louisiana
Louisiana plantation records in Series J, Part 5: Louisiana document sugar culture in the parishes of Ascension, Iberia, Iberville, Plaquemines, Point Coupe, St. Mary, and Terrebonne and cotton growing in Caldwell, Natchitoches, Rapides, St. Joseph, Tensas, and West Feliciana parishes. In addition, the Louisiana selections include merchants' extensive correspondence on the ever-changing cotton and sugar markets.
Part 6: Mississippi and Arkansas
Series J, Part 6 highlights Natchez, where so much of the cotton wealth became concentrated. Natchez is the origin of valuable family papers documenting the lives of Norton, Chilton, Dameron, Minor, Guion, and Quitman family members. Business records include the William Dunbar account book and the extensive George Washington Sargent letterbooks.
Part 7: Alabama
Every section of the state is represented in Series J, Part 7 and, through business and family connections, activities in virtually every other southern state are often covered.
Part 8: Tennessee and Kentucky
Cotton, tobacco, and mixed farming enterprises in these border states dominate the economic aspects of records in Series J, Part 8. The migration of North Carolina and Virginia planters across the Blue Ridge mountains is a subtheme, with rich family correspondence from both sides of the divide.
Part 9: Virginia
In Series J, Part 9 plantation records reflect the primacy of tobacco, always its chief commercial crop, though grain and livestock were also important. Documentation extends from the early 18th century (in the Charles William Dabney papers and Fredericks Hall Plantation books) through the Civil War.
Part 10: Hubard Family Papers, 1741-1865
Series J, Part 10 includes the Hubard Family Papers, 1741-1865. Spanning more than a century, the Hubard manuscript material centers on the family of Edmund Wilcox Hubard of Saratoga Plantation, Buckingham County, Virginia. The collection comprises business and personal papers of Hubard's forebears, relatives, friends, and business associates. In addition to correspondence, account books, and diaries, the Hubard papers include bills and receipts, personal notes, deeds and mortgages, wills, and records of land sales, estate settlements, and lawsuits.
Part 11: Hairston and Wilson Families
Series J, Part 11 covers the Hairston and Wilson families. These related families of tobacco planters and merchants lived in Southside Virginia and Piedmont North Carolina. Many of the Hairston and Wilson documents relate to slavery in Virginia, North Carolina, and Mississippi, where some family members had moved to raise cotton. In the account books there are slave birth records, clothing allotments, and work records. Numerous documents refer to the purchase and sale of slaves. There is also extensive documentation of the overseer system.
Part 12: Tidewater and Coastal Plains North Carolina
In Series J, Part 12, twenty-nine collections from North Carolina's tidewater region and coastal plains document life in the eastern third of the state. Included is material on rice culture in the Cape Fear area and cotton growing in the Roanoke River valley. Other material relates to corn, tobacco, wheat, garden crops, animal husbandry, lumbering, and fisheries. There are also papers on immigration from England and Ireland, and emigration to and investments in cotton and sugar plantations in Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.
Part 13: Piedmont North Carolina
In Series J, Part 13, thirty-two collections document the tobacco and cotton culture in the heart of Carolina. Correspondence, diaries, and financial and legal papers concern planters in the Old North State and relatives living elsewhere in the South. Some early records refer to the activities of the Transylvania Company in present-day Kentucky and Tennessee.
Part 14: Western North Carolina
The five collections in Series J, Part 14 are from plantations in Wilkes, Burke, and McDowell counties. The Hamilton Brown Papers span three generations of a family in North Carolina and Tennessee. Relatives and business associates wrote regularly from locations in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina, and Virginia. A massive diary covers 65 years in the life of planter James Hervey Greenlee. The business, family, and social records of James Gwyn, a merchant and court official as well as a planter, describe plantation life in western North Carolina.
Series K. Selections from the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Library, the Shirley Plantation Collection, 1650-1888
Series K contains the Shirley Plantation collection, which comprises the papers of several generations of the preeminent Carter plantation family, in Charles City County, Virginia. The collection covers personal, family, and plantation life at Shirley, as well as naval history, the Civil War, religion, politics, agriculture, business, medicine, and more. Slavery is a prominent and recurring topic. Complementing the plantation and financial records is a large body of personal family correspondence. There are letters from brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins, parents, and friends residing at Shirley, in other areas of Virginia, in Maryland, and elsewhere. Correspondents include Robert E. Lee, George Washington, Bishop James Madison, landscape artist Frederic E. Church, generals George B. McClellan and Benjamin Butler, and others.
Series L. Selections from the Earl Gregg Swem Library, College of William and Mary
Part 1: Carter Papers, 1667-1862
Series L, Part 1 centers on the Carters of Sabine Hall in Richmond County, in Virginia's Northern Neck. These Carters were related to the Carters of Shirley Plantation. Correspondence of this period documents the close ties of business, friendship, and marriage between the Carters of Sabine Hall and the Tayloes of Mt. Airy, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. There are also records of family gatherings, horse races, barbecues, and other social events. Documents relating to the migration of Virginia planters to the new plantation regions of Alabama and the Southwest augment the extensive material on life in the Northern Neck. Papers concerning slavery include estate inventories, medical papers, letters to and from overseers, and more.
Part 2: Jerdone Family Papers, 1736-1918
Series L, Part 2 begins with business letters, letterbooks, and account books of immigrant Francis Jerdone (1721-1771), a Scottish factor who lived in Hanover County, Yorktown, and Louisa County, Virginia, and letters of his wife, Sarah Macon Jerdone. These early papers are among the finest extant sources for the study of the colonial plantation economy in Virginia and the tobacco trade with Europe. Most of the collection consists of letters, accounts, and diaries of the next two generations of the Jerdone family, with the majority dating from 1771 to 1845. Family members include Francis Jerdone (1756-1841), a Louisa County planter; his brother, John Jerdone (1764-1786), a Spotsylvania County planter; Alexander McCauley of Yorktown, brother-in-law of Francis Jerdone; and Francis's sons, John (b. 1800), Francis (b. 1802), and William (b. 1805).
Part 3: Skipwith Family Papers, 1760-1977
Series L, Part 3 includes business records, correspondence, accounts, and farm notes of Sir Peyton Skipwith (1740-1805); his wife, Lady Jean Miller Skipwith (1748-1826); their son, Humberston Skipwith (1791-1863); and Humberston's wives and children. The papers detail the management of Prestwould Plantation in Mecklenburg County, Virginia, an area dominated by tobacco culture. The development of Lady Jean Skipwith's outstanding library and the education and travel of various family members are well documented. Manuscript volumes relate to farm accounts, Lady Jean's interest in gardening, and the education of family members. While there is material from the 20th century, most of the documents are from the 19th, including rich postbellum material and detailed agricultural records up to the 1880s.
Part 4: Austin-Twyman Papers, 1765-1865 and Charles Brown Papers, 1792-1888
Series L, Part 4 provides voluminous documentation of Piedmont Virginia in the 19th century. These collections are particularly valuable sources for the study of slavery and the medical treatment of slaves. One collection even includes an index of items referring to slaves and slavery. The Austin-Twyman papers form the bulk of this part and are a rich but rarely explored source on slavery in 19th-century Virginia. There are seven slave letters in the collection, including one written by a woman to her son, Beverley. Other items tell more about Beverley's life. There are also documents on the care of a child while the mother, a slave, worked in the field; the sale of a child; slave hire agreements; permission for slaves to marry off the plantation; qualms about slave ownership; and profits or losses sustained through slavery in agriculture and industry.
Series M. Selections from the Virginia Historical Society
Part 1: Tayloe Family, 1650-1970
Series M, Part 1 contains voluminous records compiled by the Tayloe family on their vast land and slave holdings in Richmond County, King George County, and Prince William County, Virginia; Montgomery County and St. Mary's County in Maryland; and Hale County and Marengo County in Alabama. The journals, account books, correspondence, and other papers that five generations of Tayloes produced over a period of two centuries shed light on the personal and professional or workday lives of family, friends, and slaves, as well as agricultural and business practices in the Old South. There is also correspondence that relates to social, political, and business affairs in the District of Columbia from family members who lived there.
Part 2: Northern Neck of Virginia; also Maryland
Series M, Part 2: Northern Neck of Virginia; also Maryland documents early colonial plantations in the Northern Neck region and adjacent areas of Maryland. Many prominent Virginia families, such as the Carters, the Custises, and the Lees, are included here.
Part 3: Other Tidewater Virginia
Series M, Part 3: Other Tidewater Virginia concerns plantations in Tidewater areas of Virginia other than the Northern Neck. Drawn from twenty-one collections, Part 3 covers areas near Norfolk, the lower James River, the Peninsula of Virginia, and the Rappahannock River. Records come from families in circumstances ranging from vast wealth and influence to a more hardscrabble existence. Among the larger collections are the Bassett family papers (1650-1923), noteworthy for Betty Carter Brown Bassett's instructions to her son regarding the treatment of slaves.
Part 4: Central Piedmont Virginia
Series M, Part 4 covers Central Piedmont Virginia, a region that embraces an area of 18 counties in the heart of the Old Dominion, between the James and Rappahannock rivers and above the fall line. The papers in Part 4 are drawn from forty-six separate collections and concern tobacco and grain plantations, horse breeding, slaves and slavery, and the Central Piedmont's rich social and political life.
Part 5: Southside Virginia
Series M, Part 5: Southside Virginia covers the fifteen counties south of the James River and above the fall line. The forty-six collections in Part 5, drawn from this region, provide a comprehensive view of this distinctive area on the border of North Carolina. The remoteness of most of the plantations fostered particularly voluminous family correspondence. The suitable soils and large slave forces engendered strong business ties among area planters with the commercial centers of Virginia and the Atlantic seaboard. The papers and diaries strongly reflect the South's religious and social practices and include much documentation of the lives of women.
Part 6: Northern Virginia and Valley
Series M, Part 6 covers Northern Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley. Like other regions in the state, these areas developed their own unique variations of plantation agriculture. In both regions, agriculture was mixed, with significant grain cultivation and animal husbandry and limited cultivation of tobacco and hemp.
Series N. Selections from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History
Series N contains significant materials on Natchez and antebellum plantation culture in Mississippi and Louisiana.
Microfilm. Papers from Southern plantations. Includes correspondence, wills, deeds, business records, and many other materials. Series A, Selections from the Rare Books, Manuscript and Special Collections Library at Duke University, contains documents on Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and Florida plantations. Series B, Selections from the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections at Louisiana State University Libraries, contains documents on Louisiana sugar and cotton plantations plus Mississippi cotton plantations, Albert Batchelor papers, and the Weeks family papers.
Series A: Selections from the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library, Duke University
Part 1: Alabama and South Carolina Plantations
Alabama and South Carolina Plantations consists of eight manuscript collections from cotton and rice plantations. Papers relating to African Americans can be found throughout. The papers of Henry Watson, for example, include correspondence from his overseer documenting changing labor relations on his plantations. There is also rich documentation on women in postbellum society, particularly in the papers of Clement Claiborne Clay. His wife, Virginia Tunstall Clay ran their plantations in his absence and wrote regularly on wage negotiations with former slaves. She also mounted a campaign to free her husband from prison after he was accused of conspiring to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln.
Part 2: North Carolina and Virginia Plantations
North Carolina and Virginia Plantations includes sixteen manuscript collections pertaining to cotton and tobacco plantations. Records of country storekeepers document their central role in plantation economics of the post–Civil War South.
Part 3: Georgia and Florida Plantations
Georgia and Florida Plantations comprises a single extraordinary collection, the Papers of John Flannery and Company, revealing the plight of thousands of cotton plantations throughout Florida and Georgia. Correspondence on debts, liens, mortgages, loans, and foreclosures provide insight into the credit system that developed after the Civil War between cotton brokers and their customers.
Series B: Selections from the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, Louisiana State University Libraries
Part 1: Louisiana Sugar Plantations
Louisiana Sugar Plantations presents a valuable and complementary series of records of adjoining estates formed in a bend on the east bank of the Mississippi River “coast” upriver from New Orleans. The collections in this edition provide substantial documentation on the laborers that worked on these sugar plantations. Particularly rich in this regard are the Benjamin Tureaud Family Papers, which contain several different types of financial records that allow for an examination of the lives of sugar plantation laborers over a twenty-year period.
Part 2: Louisiana Cotton Plantations
Louisiana Cotton Plantations highlights the ethnic diversity of Louisiana cotton plantation owners and laborers. Several collections document African Americans and Creoles of color in northwestern Louisiana. There are also papers of French Acadian planters from the central prairie regions of the state. White planters in the eastern and northern parts of Louisiana round out this edition of plantation records.
Part 3: Louisiana Sugar Plantations (Bayou Lafourche and Bayou Teche)
Louisiana Sugar Plantations (Bayou Lafourche and Bayou Teche) covers the operation of Louisiana sugar plantations from the antebellum period through the early twentieth century, with a particular focus on the complicated transition from slavery to free labor, the negotiations between planters and laborers in making this transition, and the impact of this transition on Louisiana agriculture, the economy, and politics. This part also reveals the shift toward corporate control of sugar plantations in the early years of the twentieth century.
Part 4: Mississippi Cotton Plantations
Mississippi Cotton Plantations documents the older estates around Natchez, Woodville, Port Gibson, and Vicksburg. The collections included in Part 4 allow researchers to investigate the operation of the postbellum plantation as well as many other aspects of life during this period, including the experiences of African Americans and women, family matters, and political events.
Part 5: Albert Batchelor Papers
Albert A. Batchelor Papers dates from 1860 to 1898 and is organized into two main series: a series of correspondence and business records and a series of bound volumes, including diaries, ledgers, cash books, and memorandum books. Batchelor’s management of his plantations, particularly his relations with laborers and renters, as well as his dealings with commission merchants, are major themes in this collection. Batchelor was a Confederate veteran and physician, and he owned several plantations in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana.
Part 6: Weeks Family Papers
Documents changes in sugar culture between 1866 and 1920 in St. Martin, St. Mary, and New Iberia parishes, Louisiana.
Series C: Selections from the South Carolina Library, University of South Carolina
Part 1: The Hammond Family Papers
Hammond Family Collection follows the trajectory of James Henry Hammond's family after his death and the financial ruin of the Civil War, in documents dating from 1865 to 1935. In the first generation of papers the principal figures are Hammond's sons, Harry, Edward Spann, and Paul, who feuded with each other while struggling to support their families in the postwar years. In the second generation, Harry Hammond's daughters, Julia and Katharine, become the central characters of the collection, as they wrestled to balance education, romance, and family obligation. In the first years after the Civil War, the death of James Henry Hammond and management of his estate is an ever-present topic. The documents demonstrate the turmoil left in his wake, with his children, including his daughters Katherine and Elizabeth, fighting amongst themselves over the distribution of their greatly reduced inheritances. Other documents address Reconstruction, plantation operations, family dynamics, the cotton industry, women's education, courtship, the legal system, medicine, and war.
Part 2: Selected Collections
Selected Collections follows the path of several South Carolina families following the upheaval of the Civil War, in papers dating from 1865 to 1949. Operation of the plantation and production of saleable cotton and rice crops is the central theme of the publication. In plantation journals and correspondence with factors, plantation owners recorded everything from weather conditions, to fertilizer experiments, to precise amounts of cotton picked by individual laborers. The collections in this part capture the stories of many families, headed by traditional plantation owners, politicians, office workers, and professors, each struggling to find their place in a re-imagined South Carolina. Their papers address a variety of topics in postwar life, including continued resentment of the North, South Carolina politics, new business and industry, courtship, religion, and the experiences of women.
Records of the States of the United States of America
Paper Guide for this series: Gov Ref Z1223.5 .A1 U47
Individual states are cataloged separately. Please search the catalog for records for the following states:
In addition to the electronic version, included works are available in microfiche in the microform area, catalog number: E12 .L68. The list of items in order can be found at Fiche List The list of items by author can be found at Author List
Microfilm. The Southern Tenant Farmers Union Papers (also called "The Green Rising") encompass a multitude of issues, movements, and individual histories on microform. A major acquisition for any library's social science collection, these papers can be used by scholars and researchers investigating the historical perspectives of the New Deal, farm labor, or Southern, Mexican-American, and American labor history.
Founded by seven black and eleven white sharecroppers on an Arkansas cotton plantation, the STFU laid the groundwork for and contributed to the creation of the LaFollette Civil Liberties Committee in the U.S. Senate and the Kennedy-Johnson Administration's War on Poverty.
The entire history of this influential union can be traced, from its humble beginnings under the auspices of the Socialist Party, through its brief and stormy affiliation with the CIO; from its entry into the AFL up to its merger into another union in the 1960s.
A unique feature of this collection is the correspondence from sharecroppers to union officials. Notes scrawled on scraps of paper or penciled on the backs of outdated calendars tell of usurious landlords, sick children, and flood conditions.
Supplement to the Southern Tenant Farmers Union Papers, 1910-1977 This supplement to the papers of the STFU features the personal papers and records of four of farm labor's dynamic leaders.
H.L. Mitchell Papers--The private papers, subject files, and printed materials of STFU co-founder H.L. Mitchell include unpublished and out-of-print studies of Mexican-Americans, and his correspondence documents STFU's Socialist Party origins.
Clyde Johnson Papers--Documented is the life of Clyde Johnson, a dedicated trade unionist who was the last secretary to the Alabama Sharecroppers Union. Featured is an unpublished thesis by Dale Rosen, which documents the facts surrounding the Reeltown Massacre, as well as Johnson's oral history.
David S. Burgess Papers--Insight into the lives of migrant workers during the 1940s can be gathered through the papers of David Burgess--a minister who saved the homes of 600 families in the Delmo Labor Homes Project of Southeast Missouri. In later years, Burgess was a CIO organizer and head of the Georgia CIO.
Thomas H. Gibbons Papers--Gibbons' unpublished "Autobiography of a Technocrat" is based on the author's experiences as a migrant worker and his beliefs in radical economic theory.
Microfilm. A collection of writings by 19th Century Southern women. Topics covered include courtship, slavery, education, child rearing, marriage, and religion. Divided into series by letter and parts by number:
Series A, Holdings of the Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Series B: Holdings of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Library
Part 1: Mary Susan Ker of Linden Plantation, was a governess at Vicksburg, teacher in Natchez, and traveler of Europe and the United States. The earliest papers are those of her parents, John and Mary (Baker) Ker in Natchez.
Part 2: The diary of Mahala P. (Eggleston) Roach, which traces 50 years of life in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and includes comments on social life, domestic relations with slaves, family life, and the Civil War.
Part 3: The diaries and papers documenting the lives of other Louisiana and Mississippi women are drawn from eight manuscript collections. Commentaries on daily life and travel, thoughts on the status of women as property owners, reminiscences, and even poetry are among the contents of the collections. The collections include the papers of Charlotte Beatty, Madaline Selima Edwards, the Gale and Polk family, t he Gibson-Humphreys family, Ellen Louise Power, Catherine M. Pritchard, Sarah Lois Wadley, and Mary Susannah Winans.
Part 4: Spanning 1667-1903. Among the early papers are letters of Elizabeth House Trist, with family correspondence and letters to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Her grandson, Nicholas Philip Trist, married Virginia Jefferson Randolph, granddaughter of Thomas Jefferson. Their courtship letters and correspondence among their relatives include descriptions of life at Monticello. Trist's eventful diplomatic career separated the family but spurred regular letter writing from children as well as parents. Civil War period letters reveal the divisions of feeling within the family.
Part 5: Georgia collections relate to members of the Brumby and Smith, Cornwall, Gift, Graves, Milligan, Mackay and Stiles, and Pember families. Alabama family names include Comer, Hentz, McCorkle, and Ulmer. There are collections from the Elmore and Mclver families of South Carolina and one small Florida collection relating to Julia McKinne (Foster) Weed.
Part 6: Covers five families. Included in the Beale and Davis family papers are diaries, moral reflections, and letters of Anne Turberville Beale Davis and her relatives, who were preachers and planters. The Henry Harrison Cocke papers include correspondence and diaries of Elizabeth Ruffin Cocke, a sister of Edmund Ruffin. The Francis Asbury Dickins papers contain many letters of Mrs. Dickins's Randolph family relations. The Hubard family papers feature the postwar activities of a woman writer and her planter family. The Susannah Gordon Waddell diary records the experiences of a physician's wife during the Civil War in Monroe County, now West Virginia.
Part 7: Consists of two related collections centered in Chapel Hill, North Carolina: papers of siblings Charles Phillips and Cornelia Phillips Spencer. These collections include family and personal correspondence and extensive women's diaries documenting life at the University of North Carolina and the university's struggle to stay open and then to reopen during Reconstruction.
Part 8: Twenty-four collections included which document the diversity of North Carolina family life during the 19th century. The stories of factors and physicians, planters and politicians, manufacturers and professionals, are told through the many families represented here.
Series B: Holdings of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Library: The Carter Family Papers, 1888–1989.
Comprises the detailed records of women at Shirley Plantation on the James River in Charles City County, Virginia. In addition to the diaries there are several volumes with copied or original essays and poetry, address books, scrapbooks, and other items, as well as extensive family, personal, and social correspondence.
Series C: Holdings of The Earl Gregg Swem Library, The College of William and Mary in Virginia: Miscellaneous Collections, 1773–1938.
Includes twelve collections documenting a variety of women's experiences in Virginia from the Chesapeake Bay to the Shenandoah Valley. Antebellum, Civil War, and postwar periods.
Series D: Holdings of the Virginia Historical Society
Part 1: Contains documents from the Tidewater region including the voluminous 19th-century papers of the family of Mary Custis Lee of Arlington and New Kent counties. Child rearing, housekeeping, social life, and travel are among the topics covered. Correspondents include Mary Custis Lee's husband, Robert E. Lee, as well as her mother, mother-in-law, daughters, and other relatives.
Part 2: Documents the lives of several generations of women from the Chamberlayne family (1821- 1938), McCarthy family (1839-1865), Williams family (1811-1946), Young family (1835-1900), and other families that were centered in the Richmond metropolitan area.
Part 3: Documents the Piedmont regions of central, southern, northern, and western Virginia. The culture and traditions of many hundreds of individual women and their families are found in sixty-eight collections of papers.
Part 4: Drawn from nineteen manuscript collections, records the experiences of scores of women and their families and features the strength of home and hearth. From distant domiciles throughout the South, southern women reveal their culture, traditions, and individuality.
Series E: Holdings of Louisiana State University
Allows comparative study of family life and women's roles in the Anglo and French cultures of the Mississippi Valley. Researchers can chart family and social life through such collections as the Annie Jeter Carmouche Papers, 1853-1964, chronicling one woman's antebellum childhood in Virginia and New Orleans, her experience of the Civil War, and her postwar life in St. Landry and Bossier parishes; and the Emily Caroline Douglas Papers, 1855-1913, contrasting impressions of the South gained during her New England childhood with the South she came to know during the turbulence of the Civil War and its aftermath.
Series F: Holdings of the Center for American History University of Texas at Austin.
Correspondence, diaries, literary works, and other papers provide unique insight into their lives and spirit from colonial times, to antebellum, Civil War, and postwar years, and through the Victorian era. Scholars will value this collection for both its diversity of female experience and its continuity of family records through several generations.
Series G: Holdings of the University of Virgina Library
Part 1: Below the fall line in 19th-century Virginia, the course of women's lives flowed as various and changing as the seasons. In correspondence, diaries, and other papers, these southern women narrate their experiences across generations of family and over a century of life in the South.
Part 2: The 19th century brought many challenges—evolving technology and new modes of transportation, farming, and manufacture; the advent of formal education for women, leading to their greater expectations of independence; an increasingly volatile slave population that early in the 1800s outnumbered whites in the South; and the approaching shadow of war that would linger long after all the battles had been fought. The southern women in this part struggled to meet these challenges, often with great success. Their stories capture life above Virginia's fall line, as it was determined day to day over one hundred years.
Series H: Holdings of the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library, Duke University
Part 1: These papers follow women as they travel the social arch of their lives, from close female friendships, courtship and marriage to motherhood, and encounter the issues of their times: the Civil War, slavery, religious faith, education and descent into poverty. Combined with the constant threat of disease and child mortality, the collections often present women in states of crisis, searching for the means to hold themselves and their families together. Many voices are represented in the collections, including the compelling accounts of Emma Spaulding, wife of carpetbagger and newspaperman John Emory Bryant, Julia Blanche Munroe, wife of U.S. and Confederate naval officer John McIntosh Kell, author Clara Victoria Dargan MacLean, schoolteacher Isabella Anna Roberts Woodruff, and wealthy plantation owner and well-known diarist Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas.
Part 2: The Clement Claiborne Clay papers and Washington M. Smith papers compose the majority of this part, while smaller collections consist of a few hundred documents or a single diary.
Part 3: Includes a number of Black voices, from business women Fannie B. Rosser and Josephine Leary to slaves of the Campbell and Mordecai families who dictated letters to their relations and owners.
Newspapers from 1963-1975 complied by the Alternative Press Syndicate. Includes Space City News, The Progressive, Florida Free Press, The Black Panther, New Left Notes, and Berkeley Barb among many others.