Anglo-American perspectives are defined as documents created by
white women and men which contain textual references to
African-Americans and shed light on the lives and experiences of
African-American women. Most of the sources included in this
section pertains to slavery times from whence very few
African-American voices exist. In many cases this means countless
passing references and scattered documents buried deep in
collections whose major focus is not the lives of
African-Americans. Some of these records are not gender-detailed,
but contain references to activities and communities likely to have
included African-American women or which provide a context for the
experiences of African-American women. Not included in this section
are the multitude of Anglo-American sources that document
theoretical and political attitudes towards slavery, emancipation,
suffrage, or civil rights.
Although Anglo-American perspectives may often be the primary
sources of documentation for black life in American during certain
time periods, they should not be viewed as the primary perspective,
nor as a singular point of view. The authors identified below are
diarists, travelers, teachers, and merchants who provide valuable
commentary on the religiosity, work and family life, and political
activity of black women and men. They do so with varying degrees of
bitterness, paternalism, and honesty.
Given the varied circumstances under which these sources were
recorded, it is impossible to suggest a uniform approach to the
collections. However, it is important that a researcher relying on
this information be aware of the multi-layered assumptions from
which that information comes. Anglo-American perspectives on
African-American women generally consist of observations made from
considerable distance. When using documents involving a shared
experience between blacks and whites, it is imperative to recognize
the existence of separate realities resulting from a complex system
of social constructs and power relations which differ greatly
between the two.
For example, a Mississippi slave owners' daughter writes in
anger at the fact that her father's slaves are deserting the
plantation. She repeatedly notes that slaves are being "persuaded
off" the plantation by older slaves. One interpretation of her use
of the term "persuased" is that the slaves would not otherwise be
motivated to leave. From what sources does the daughter derive this
perspective - from her family, newspaper articles, talking with the
slaves themselves? While this journal provides valuable
documentation of the desertion process, useful information can be
derived only when the bias of the author is factored into the
- Jessie Daniel Ames Papers, 1920-1940. 1 Item. Tryon, North
- Photocopy of a history, or possibly preparatory notes for a
work on the founding of the Woman's Division of the Commission on
Interracial Cooperation in 1920 and a summary of its activities up
to 1940. Included are the text of speeches made by Mary Washington,
Charlotte Hawkins Brown and others; membership lists and some
- William T. Bain Papers, 1850-1865. 89 Items. Raleigh, North
- Principally the family letters of a white slave owner and his
wife and children to his daughter Mollie Bain Bitting in
Germantown, North Carolina. The bulk of the collection deals with
family business, however correspondence that discusses slavery
provides information on the training of servants and the practice
of "hiring out" female slaves for punishment.
- Archibald Boyd Letters, 1841-1897. 46 Items. Lenox Castle,
- Business correspondence of Boyd, a white landholder. Included
are the letters from slave trader Samuel R. Browning reporting on
the health of the slaves, the conditions of the market and the
effect of a Cholera scare on his sales. One letter describes a
woman who gave birth while being marched about by the trader.
- George Bradley Letters, 1845-1868. 6 Items. Powhatan Co.,
- Includes a letter dated January 10, 1868 relating to another
white man's attempt to entice Martha, a cook in Bradley's service,
into his own employment. In Bradley's repudiation he addresses the
issue of employing blacks vs. whites as well as Martha's monthly
contract which she was at liberty to break.
- John Emory Bryant Papers, 1851-1907. 1,818 Items & 40
Volumes. Maine & Georgia.
- Personal and political papers of Bryant, white member of the
Radical Republican party during Reconstruction. He served in the
8th Maine Volunteers in the 1860s and while doing so described in
his correspondence black religious practices, the organization of
slaves during an owners absence and an expedition to "bring back"
800 ex-slaves in South Carolina. In 1865 he worked as an agent in
the Freedmen's Bureau in Augusta, Georgia under General Saxton. His
letterbook and his wife Emma Spaulding Bryant's journal for 1865
and 1866 reveal the chaotic conditions among the destitute
ex-slaves who thronged into Augusta and the work of the agents
connected to the Augusta Bureau. Included in the collection are a
series of letters from Henry McNeal Turner, a black Republican who
later became a Bishop in the African Methodist Church. Also
included are the correspondence, letterbook and scrapbook of and
William Anderson Pledger, a black Republican politician and
educator. These sources are of use in providing context for the
history of black women in this period.
- Robert Carter Papers, 1772-1794. 18 Volumes. Westmoreland
- Letterbooks and accounts of Carter, prominent Virginia planter
who owned and/or administered eighteen plantations in Virginia. By
1791 he owned about 2400 slaves whose labor, supplies and
discipline he continually supervised. His records reveal a
meticulous attention to his various businesses and disclose a great
many details of the lives, training, and hiring of slaves as well
as the management of overseers.
- Cronly Family Papers, 1806-1944. 1,962 Items & 66 Volumes.
Wilmington, North Carolina.
- Personal and financial papers of the Cronley Family of
Wilmington, North Carolina. Jane M. Cronley's short stories and
memoirs are devoted in large part to her family's relationship with
their slaves both before and after Emancipation. Also included are
two small volumes dealing with the 1898 Wilmington race riot. They
appear to have been written by Jane Cronley and are highly critical
of the white residents of Wilmington. She condemns them as
persecutors and murderers of innocent blacks.
- Samuel Smith Downey Papers, 1762-1965. 3,276 Items & 3
Volumes. Granville County, N. C.
- The papers of Samuel S. Downey concern his administration of
the estate of John G. Smith and the many suits involving the
estate, the management of plantations in Mississippi and North
Carolina including correspondence and legal papers dealing with
hiring slaves, and a record book of slave births and deaths. The
record book (1828-1874) occasionally notes the cause of death and
the number of children born to each mother.
- Dromgoole & Robinson Papers, 1767-1974. 2,685 Items & 6
Volumes. Lawrenceville, Virginia.
- Papers of George Coke Dromgoole and Richard B. Robinson, his
partner in business. Dromgoole was a large planter and a prominent
politician who served in both houses of the state legislature and
was a Congressman between 1835-1847. The correspondence reflects
and refers to the issues of plantation and slave management, and
after the Civil War many letters to Dromgoole are from his land
tenants concerning farming and financial arrangements. A daybook
running from 1847-1869 includes the work records for slaves and
- Kate Foster Diary, 1863-1872. 1 Item & 1 Volume. Adams
- Diary of the daughter of James Foster, plantation owner of
Madison Parish, Louisiana. Approximately two-thirds of the entries
date from the latter half of 1863 and concern the Civil War, the
effect of the war on her home and on local blacks and Foster's
opinion about the righteousness of the Southern cause. The diary
provides rich illustration of the desertion on the part of slaves
from the plantation, many of whom were women with children.
- William Gibbons Jr. Papers, 1728-1803. 807 Items & 1
Volume. Savannah, Georgia.
- Correspondence and financial papers of William Gibbons, wealthy
rice planter and justice of the peace of Chatham County, Georgia.
The bulk of the collection begins in the 1750s and describes life
on some of the early large plantations in Georgia. They include
continuing comments of the purchase, management and sale of slaves
and the activities of plantation management in general.
- Tyre Glen Papers, 1820-1889. 1,261 Items. Surrey County, North
- The collection contains letters and papers of Tyre Glen,
planter, constable, general merchant and slave trader who entered
the slave trading business in the early 1820s. The collection
contains many receipts for slaves, and records of original cost and
amounts slaves sold for, as well as money spent on maintenance. The
correspondence reveals information on the slave trade business as
well as on the character of a trader.
- Edward L. Hartz Papers, 1861-1867. 392 Items. Pottsville,
- Official military correspondence of United States Army Officer
Edward L. Hartz including documents relating to a secret U. S.
expedition to return dissatisfied black colonists from Haiti to the
U. S. in 1864. A list of colonists gives information on gender and
- Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick Papers, 1848-1893. 6,033 Items &
4 Volumes. Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
- Personal and business correspondence of Benjamin Sherwood
Hedrick, professor of chemistry at the University of North
Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1854-56, and examiner in the Patent Office,
Washington D. C., 1861-1886, who was expelled from the University
for his attitude on slavery and was forced to leave the state in
1856. His wife, Mary Ellen Thompson, writes valuable letters
describing the state of affairs in Chapel Hill, and the activities
of various black women during Reconstruction. Throughout the
collection are observations about black activity vis-a-vis
politics, suffrage, the KKK, and the Republican Party.
- Alice J. Cutright Kaine Papers, 1864-1947. 305 Items.
- Correspondence, writings, printed materials, and photographs
chiefly concern Kaine's administrative work at the Tuskegee
Institute (Tuskegee, Ala.) during the 1890s. During this time, she
developed close relationships with both Booker T. Washington and
his wife Margaret, as well as their children. Kaine's letters home
describe Washington's management style and educational philosophy,
her relationships with the Washington children, and the numerous
trips into the homes and churches of the Tuskegee community. Also
included are letters to Kaine after her return to Wisconsin from
Margaret Washington ca. 1900 - 1910.
- Key Family Papers, 1792-1856. 10 Items. Maryland.
- Correspondence of the Key Family include notes on a 1849 legal
case concerning the seizure in 1848 of 77 fugitive slaves on the
- John Richardson Kilby Papers, 1755-1919. 39,489 Items & 19
Volumes. Suffolk, Virginia.
- Business and personal papers of John Richardson Kilby
(1819-1878) and Wilbur John Kilby (1850-1878), father and son
lawyers of Suffolk, Virginia. There are numerous references in the
correspondence to the work of the American Colonization Society,
including attempts made to rouse interest in the Society among free
blacks, and a letter from former slave Randall Kilby detailing the
conditions and activities of J. R. Kilby's former slaves in
Liberia. Letters also refer to the Negro Reformatory Association of
Virginia, and a legal case concerning Harriet Whitehead, a white
woman whose mind had become impaired during the Nat Turner
Rebellion when all other members of her family were killed.
- Julia Lord Loveland Papers, 1855-1965. 31 Items & 2
Volumes. Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
- Included is a diary kept by Loveland on two trips south with
her cousin to Richmond and Florida, 1855 & 1856. The Richmond
trip is well documented and includes many references to the
religious practices and general condition of blacks in
- William George Matton Papers, 1859-1887. 4 Items. High Point,
- Papers of William George Matton, minister and presiding elder
of the Northern [integrated] Methodist Episcopal Church in North
Carolina, containing his memoirs (1866-1883) concerning his
decision to come to the South as a preacher. He was immediately in
conflict with the Southern [segregated] Methodist Episcopal Church
as he taught and preached to black congregations. Throughout his
memoirs he discusses relations with the Southern Methodists,
relations between the white and black members of the church, and
church sponsorship of schools for both white and black students,
Bennett College at Greensboro (a black women's college) and North
Carolina Seminary at High Point.
- John Moore McCalla Papers, 1785-1917. 1,813 Items & 40
Volumes. Lexington, Ky & Washington, DC.
- Personal, business, financial, military and legal
correspondence, letter books, journals, and clippings of John Moore
McCalla, lawyer, politician, and brigadier general of the Kentucky
Military. Included are letters from former slaves in Liberia on
conditions there in 1834 and 1836, and a journal kept by Dr. John
Moore McCalla Jr. during his 1860 trip to return a shipload of
illegally transported Africans to Liberia under the auspices of the
American Colonization Society. The journal notes the behaviors of
the Waydah people on the ship, the presence of a "princess", and
descriptions of Liberian officials and politics.
- Benjamin Muse Papers, 1919-1973. 747 Items. Reston,
- Papers of Benjamin Muse, politician, journalist, experimental
farmer, and civil rights activist. In 1959 Muse was given a post on
the Southern Regional Council (formerly the Committee on
Interracial Cooperation) and was director of their leadership
project from 1959-1964. Included in the collection are fifteen
speeches on the race question delivered in various places in the
South. Also are drafts and notes on three of his books dealing with
race relations: Virginia's Massive Resistance, Ten Years of
Prelude, and The American Negro Revolution. Of particular interest
is the "Memoranda," reports issued to the SRC on his conversations
with Southern leaders and observations on race relations made
during the five years he spent traveling through the South, when
integration and the Civil Rights Movement were having their biggest
impact. While predominantly conversations with white men, these
reports provided detailed accounts of school desegregation, lunch
counter sit-ins, and student activism throughout the south. As such
they provide context for the lives of southern African-American
women in the early 1960s.
- Rankin-Parker Collection Ca. 1880. 3 Items. Ripley, Ohio.
- The collection contains the autobiography of the Reverend John
Rankin and the biography of John Parker, an ex-slave who Rankin
worked with for the Underground Railroad. Rankin was active in the
Garrisson Anti-Slavery movement and was mobbed for his views more
than twenty times. John Parker was born into slavery and bought his
freedom in 1845. Included is the story of Eliza's escape across the
Ohio river, which was later supposedly used by Harriet Beecher
Stowe in Uncle Tom's Cabin.
- William W. Renwick Papers, 1792-1949. 2,393 Items And 12
Volumes. Newberry , South Carolina.
- Includes correspondence concerning the evils of slavery (1821),
the fear of a slave rebellion (1831), the murder of a master by his
slave and slave religious instruction (1842), and a letter from
John R. Lyon in 1853 tells of one of his runaway slaves hanging
- Mrs. Smith Diary, 1793. 1 Volume.
- Journal of Mrs. Smith describing a voyage from Boston,
Massachusetts to Savannah, Georgia. Once in Savannah, in the first
third of the journal she makes numerous observations concerning the
work and religion of slaves there. For example, she notes that
slaves have a black religious leader, and that whites use black
religious services for their own entertainment and curiosity.
- William Smith Papers, 1785-1860. 327 Items. London,
- Papers of William Smith, member of Parliament, relate chiefly
to the movement in England to abolish slavery. The collection
includes letters from William Wilberforce discussing resolutions
and plans for the abolition of slavery, the Anti-Slavery Society,
the Spanish slave trade and Jamaican slave laws. There are also
letters from planters in Jamaica, St. Vincent, Bermuda, Nevis,
Barbadoes and Berbice discussing the condition of slaves and
slavery on the islands. Extensive printed and miscellaneous papers
include research notes on the number of ships involved in the slave
trade, the rate of death on slave ships, methods of obtaining
slaves, eyewitness accounts of slave treatment, data on the
"breeding vs importation" question, and runaway statistics from
- Emma Juliana & John P. Smith Letterbook, 1843-1845. 1 Item.
- Letters from Emma Julianna Gray Smith and John P. George Smith
while on an expedition in Brazil to collect various specimens of
animal, insect, and plant life. The letters give a descriptive
account of Brazilian life: Emma's letters are very full and
detailed, and comment extensively on black Brazilian life and
- Edward Telfair Papers, 1764-1831. 906 Items & 5 Volumes.
- Papers of a merchant, governor of Georgia, and delegate to the
Continental Congress. Telfair's mercantile firm dealt in slaves,
among other things, and the correspondence includes discussion of
the management of slaves, purchase and sale of slaves, runaway
slaves, the mortality rate of slaves born on a plantation, the
difficulty of selling closely related slaves, and the relations
between whites and free blacks.
- Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas Diary, 1848-1889. 13 Volumes.
- Journal of Thomas who lived with her husband on the Belmont
plantation in Richmond County, Georgia, chronicles the family's
rise and fall during the Civil War era. The Thomas owned 90 slaves
and often went to a black church to hear black preachers, where
Thomas especially interested in Sam Drayton. The diary comments on
their attendance at slave weddings and revivals, reviews Uncle
Tom's Cabin, and discusses the relationships of black women and
white men. Of particular interest are two letters from former slave
Carrie Carr to Thomas in the early 1900s.
- Townsend Family Papers, 1829-1972. 2.4 Linear Feet. Windsor
- Correspondence and journals of various members of the Townsend
family. The collection includes the records of Bessie Meacham
(1883-1970) a teacher in the South with the American Missionary
Association. Meacham taught in a number of black schools in
Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee from 1912 until ca. 1945 and was
attuned to the political and social issues raised by being a white
teacher in a black environment, in her journals she sporadically
comments on her life as such. Also included are class photographs,
pictures of her students' families and homes, and student
- P. F. Wainwright papers, 1767-1890. 290 Items. Boston,
- Correspondence and papers of Peter Wainwright Jr., banker and
churchwarden. In 1812 he identifies himself as a slave driver and
writes of how he punishes slaves, and of the education of a slave
who wanted to learn to read.
- Amber Arthun Warburton Papers, 1917-1976. 31,400 Items.
- Papers and records of Amber Arthun Warburton (1898-1976),
teacher, librarian, New Deal administrator, Children's Bureau
researcher and executive secretary and director of research for the
Alliance for Guidance of Rural Youth. Her records include those
kept while teaching economics at Spellman College in 1929 and
include student autobiographies and surveys of standards of living
in black districts of Atlanta.
- Manchester Ward Weld Papers, 1847-Ca.1870. 1 Item & 1
Volume. New York, New York.
- Volume contains a compendium of lawsuits and cases aired before
agents of the Freeedmen's Bureau, 1865-1868. Disputes include wages
and several involve the efforts of black men to recover their wives
from white owners who refused to set them free. Also listed is the
amount of rations given both to poor whites and ex-slaves.
- Francis Cope Yarnall Papers, 1853-1861. 4 Items & 1 Volume.
Wynndown, Overbrook, Penn.
- Volume entitled "Letters on Slavery" of Francis Cope Yarnall, a
businessman with interests in railroads, coal operations, and slate
quarries. The work discusses the institution of slavery in the
South and is followed by a series of letters between Yarnall and
"Professor M" in which Yarnall attacks slavery and "M" defends it.
Topics discussed include conditions and treatment of slaves, house
servants, field hands, women gang leaders, and the role of female
slaves as healers.