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Researching Slavery and the Slave Trade  

Last Updated: Jun 2, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Databases Print Page

Freely Available Databases

  • Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database
    Contains information on more than 35,000 slave voyages involving the forcible transport of more than 12 million Africans to the Americas between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. Offers researchers, students and the general public a chance to rediscover the reality of one of the largest forced movements of peoples in world history.
  • Historical Document Repository (Brown University)
    Contains over one hundred and fifty historical documents, some six hundred manuscript pages in all, as well as introductory headnotes, bibliographic information, and technical data. The collection can be browsed by date, name, or type of document. Many of the documents have been transcribed, as part of an ongoing project. Compiled by the University Steering Committee on Slavery & Justice from sources at the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University, the Rhode Island Historical Society Library, and the Brown University Archives.
  • Voyage of the Slave Ship Sally, 1764-1765 (Brown University)
    The voyage of the Sally was an example of "the triangle trade." Rum-laden Rhode Island ships sailed to Africa and acquired cargoes of Africans, who were carried to the plantation colonies of the Caribbean and sold. The ships returned home with holds filled with sugar and molasses, which was distilled into rum and shipped to Africa to produce more slaves, more sugar, and more rum. In the century before 1807, roughly 100,000 Africans were carried into New World slavery on Rhode Island ships, most to the Caribbean. The Sally's voyage stands out for several reasons. It the best-documented Rhode Island slaving venture, but it was also one of the deadliest. The timing of the voyage was significant: 1764 marked the beginning of the imperial crisis between Great Britain and its thirteen mainland North American colonies. Drawn from holdings of the John Carter Brown Library and the Rhode Island Historical Society.
  • Manuscript Collections Relating to Slavery (New York Historical Society)
    Comprises fourteen significant collections from the NYHS's extensive manuscript holdings on slavery. They consist of diaries, account books, letter books, ships’ logs, indentures, bills of sale, personal papers, and records of institutions. Some of the highlights are the records of the New York Manumission Society and the African Free School, the diaries and correspondence of English abolitionists Granville Sharp and John Clarkson, the papers of the Boston anti-slavery activist Lysander Spooner, the records of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, the draft of Charles Sumner’s famous speech The Anti-Slavery Enterprise, and an account book kept by the slave trading firm Bolton, Dickens & Co.
  • Legacies of British Slave Ownership (University College - London)
    Traces the impact of slave-ownership on the formation of modern Britain and the significance of British Caribbean slave-ownership 1763-1833.
  • Digital Library on American Slavery
    Mounted by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in collaboration with the Race and Slavery Petitions Project, this database provides a searchable index to the "Race, Slavery and Free Blacks" microform set, which is available at the Brown University Library. PLEASE SEE the "Microforms" tab of this guide for further details.

Licensed Databases

  • Southern Life and African American History  Icon  Icon
    Includes records of selected Antebellum plantations in South Carolina, Maryland, Virginia and Louisiana, covering the labor of enslaved African Americans in the production of cotton, sugar and other crops as well as other issues related to the maintenance of the plantation slave system.
  • Slavery, Abolition and Social Justice  Icon  Icon
    1490-2007; Slavery, Abolition and Social Justice is a portal for slavery and abolition studies, bringing together documents and collections covering more than five centuries from libraries and archives across the Atlantic world and the Mediterranean with contextual essays by prominent scholars in the field. Close attention is given to the varieties of slavery, the legacy of slavery, the social justice perspective and the continuing existence of slavery today.

Subject Guide

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Holly Snyder
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