A collection of a variety of legal documents that relate to slavery and African-Americans.
Scope and Contents:
This collection consists mainly of a wide vareity of court and legal documents such as, bills of sale, warrants, a manumission document, a certificate of free birth, and documents concerning debt, property, and legal obligations. The documents originated in four states: Alabama, the Carolina colony, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas. They span the greatest portion of the era of slavery within what is now the United States. Most of the documents are from Lawrence County, Alabama and may have at one time been created or used as evidence in either an orphans court or civil court case. The documents are arranged in one series in chronological order.
The collection is divided into 1 series:
Series 1: Legal Documents Concerning Slavery, 1710-1865, undated
Biographical / Historical:
Up until the Emancipation Proclamation and the subsequent victory of the Union forces in the Civil War, slaves were considered chattel, property that could be bought and sold. Slaves were a commodity that could be attached for non-payment of debt, used as collateral, given as bequests in a will, and were considered assets of a deceased's estate. As such, they engendered legal battles and the need for a variety of legal documents asserting one's freedom or manumission.
Bill of Sale of "one Negro girl named Nancy, about three years old, from Thomas Maynard to John Stephen Hale, for the sum of 30 pounds, Frederick County, Maryland, June 13, 1796." 2002 acquisition: "Receipt for a slave named Wilson", January 19, 1863, and two carte-de-visite portraits: W.B. Mitchell, July 1880, and Pleasant A. Mitchell, undated. Gifts of Julie Clark, 2008 addendum.
Collection is open for research.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information. Use of archival audiovisual recordings and born-digital records with no duplicate access copies requires advance notice.
The Jeff Donaldson papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Jeff Donaldson papers, 1918-2005, bulk 1960s-2005. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the digitization of the Jeff Donaldson papers was provided by the Walton Family Foundation.
Access to original papers requires an appointment. Access to audiovisual recording with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
The Ben Shahn papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Ben Shahn papers, 1879-1990, bulk 1933-1970. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art