Slave lists, tax records, registers, receipts, and account books
are relatively unique sources in their straightforwardness. While
occasionally embellished with the compilers' comments on the
individuals being documented, such records provide a basic list of
facts about people's lives and work. Such records are particularly
valuable as sources to introduce specificity to the study of
African-American women's history. They are one of the few available
avenues through which one can gain access to the everyday realities
of women lives.
Although the content of these materials may appear thin when
compared with the rich narrative of a diary, they can nevertheless
provide a factual skeleton on which other information can be placed
and can be quite substantive when pooled together. Often these
materials are used for genealogical purposes - to connect certain
individuals with a specific place at a particular date and time.
Yet, the organization of the materials and the uniform data found
in many of these records also allow researchers to chart trends or
shared experiences among groups of people.
For instance, slave lists, by virtue of their organization, can
tell a researcher whether slaves were perceived of as having valid
family connections, they can give insight into gender differences
in work patterns, sickness, and treatment. Mercantile accounts and
post-emancipation landholders' accounts with their laborers can
answer questions about women's place in the household economy,
which items were bought and which were made, and work patterns
among sharecropping family members. A farm account ledger can
contain citations for payments made to a local grannie which in
turn charts the birthing patterns of slaves women as well as the
economics of health care in relation to other farm accounts. Census
and tax records can reveal settlement patterns, occupational
trends, and the economic status of an entire community over
Lists, ledgers, and receipts can be buried deep with a large
family or business collections or they may stand on their own as
single items. The collections described below represent only a
portion of those available in the Manuscript Department. Additional
materials, especially those related to slave sales and slave trade
and farm and store accounts, can be located through the
- Iveson L. Brookes Papers, 1784-1888. 709 Items & 11
Volumes. Hamburg, South Carolina.
- Correspondence of a white Baptist preacher and landholder in
South Carolina and Georgia. Included in the collection are lists of
slaves divided by family groups and a contract for the "Conditions
For Hiring Negroes by the Georgia Rail Road and Booking Co., 1855".
Letters discuss slaves and race relations, largely giving insight
into white perceptions.
- Samuel Chapman Papers, 1800-1822. 2 Items And 1 Volume. Charles
- Financial ledger of lawyer and planter itemizes Chapmans's
extensive personal and business transactions including those with a
midwife and free blacks. Financial papers, 1815-1822 include and
additional list of slaves.
- Francis Porteus Corbin Papers, 1662-1885. 719 Items.
- Letters and papers of Francis P. Corbin and his family. The
content of the collection from 1828 on centers on Francis Corbin's
financial interests, including the maintenance of his Louisiana
sugar plantation. Business letters from Paris, where he relocated
in 1830, include reports on crops and conditions of slaves. Of
particular interest are the circa 1712 slave lists from Ripon Hall
Plantation in York County, Virginia. The lists are extensive,
document family ties between slaves and list clothing, and supplies
distributed to approximately 60 slaves.
- Devereaux Family Papers, 1776-1936. 454 Items & 4 Volumes.
Raleigh, North Carolina.
- Papers of a prominent and wealthy white family. The majority of
the collection falls between 1839 and 1900 and are primarily
correspondence concerned with personal and family affairs. There
are also comments of slavery and manumission as Thomas P. Devereaux
(1793-1869) was a lawyer and wealthy planter, who owned more than
1000 slaves. One of the volumes includes accounts for three
plantations with extensive slave lists.
- Mary G. Franklin Papers, 1842-1855. 2 Volumes. Cherokee County,
- An account book kept by a white businesswoman concerning a gold
mine, sawmill, farm, water-powered mill, and coal mining on her
40-acre lot on the Etowah River which she won in the gold lottery
of 1832. Included are entries for work by both male and female
- Samuel Fuqua Account Book, 1835-1866. 1 Volume. Charlotte
- An executor's records of settlements of estates, household
expenses, and labor. Includes a written agreement between a
Virginia planter and his slaves regarding their continued service
after emancipation. Briefly noted are some workers, both men and
women, who had "absented themselves" from the plantation without
- McDonald Furman Papers, 1883-1903. 36 Items & 1 Volume.
Privateer, South Carolina.
- Family and business correspondence of McDonald Furman
(1863-1904), white lecturer, student of local history, and member
of the South Carolina Historical Society. The volume included is a
plantation book for the Cornhill Plantation in South Carolina for
1827 through 1873. Cornhill appears to have been a medium sized
plantation with approximately 30-50 slaves. Furman's record keeping
reflects a recognition of family groups and slave marriages and
provides insight into planter rules and slave productivity. Of note
are his rules concerning pregnant slave women, and a runaway woman
whose mother apprehended her and returned her to the
- Georgia Superior Court Slave Importation Register, 1820-1821. 1
Volume (Microfilm). Augusta, Georgia.
- Records of slave imports to the state of Georgia. Descriptions
include name, age, and sometimes occupation and physical
- Methodist Episcopal Church, North Carolina Conference,
Greensboro District, Haw River Circuit Church Book, 1841-1852. 1
Volume. Haw River, North Carolina.
- Membership records for various churches in the Haw River
circuit. Included are "names of the colored members in full
connection" to the various churches, many of whom are listed under
their owner's name.
- Isaac Brooks Headen Papers, 1848-1855. 1 Volume. Chatham
County, North Carolina.
- Account book of a white physician in Chatham County, North
Carolina. It includes numerous entries for the treatment of slaves.
Rarely are these records gender or treatment specific, but they do
document the frequency of illness on specific planters'
- William Horton Peace Jenkins Papers, 1845-1925. 2,417 Items
& 10 Volumes. Oxford, North Carolina.
- Collection consists of predominately public school records for
Granville County, North Carolina where during the period of 1881
through 1895 Jenkins was Superintendent of Public Instruction.
These records provide a wealth of information and statistics on
conditions in the schools. Teacher lists, pupil lists, attendance
records, teacher salaries, average length of school terms and
number of school-aged children in the various counties are all
broken down by race and gender. There are also written reports and
suggestions by black male and female teachers and
- Louis Manigault Papers, 1776-1883. 2,038 Items & 4 Volumes.
Charleston, South Carolina.
- Personal and business papers of Louis Manigault and the
Manigault family, who began to acquire rice-planting land in the
mid-eighteenth century and by 1850 owned several plantations. The
papers relating to planting begin in 1837 and continue through to
1883. There are work schedules, slave lists, instructions to
overseers on the care of slaves, and the management of plantations.
In 1848 Charles Izard Manigault purchased a plantation on the
Savannah River; the land cost $28,000 and $19,000 was required to
"stock it" with slaves. Here as in many other places in the
collection there is an itemized listing of slaves and their prices.
One of the volumes is an 1852 prescription book for medicine given
to slaves on the plantation.
- Henry Mcpherson Papers, 1801-1826. 3 Items And 1 Volume.
Charles County, Maryland.
- Daybook and financial papers record general store transactions
with blacks. Plantation accounts include entries related to the
hiring of slaves and women for weaving, farm labor and granny
- Jacob Rhett Mott Papers, 1743-1902. 305 Items & 4 Volumes.
Charleston, South Carolina.
- Papers and records of a white physician and surgeon in the
Confederate Army. Included is the Exeter Plantation Book,
1846-1871, which lists slaves, provisions issued to them,
occupation, ages, births, deaths, names of parents and prices.
- Thomas B. Nalle Papers, 1805-1905. 641 Items. Culpepper County,
- Personal, financial, and military papers of Virginia farm
family include a farm account book, 1877-1881, in which labor
contracts with black women and man are entered.
- African American Miscellany, 1757-1983. 315 Items.
- Artificial collection containing various items pertaining to
Afro-Americans. Included are miscellaneous slave sale receipts,
free papers and clippings of black women. Of particular interest is
a bill of sale, in which a black woman sold two slave
- North Carolina. Anson County Tax Lists, 1903-1906. 4 Volumes.
Anson County, North Carolina.
- Tax records for towns in Anson County listed alphabetically
with black and white accounts differentiated, amounts owed and
amounts paid, and county, state, school, and road taxes entered in
separate columns. Full name entries make male and female
distinctions possible over a four year period.
- Haller Nutt Papers, 1848-1911. 722 Items 1 Volume. Natchez,
- Papers of a large-scale white planter of Louisiana and
Mississippi containing a plantation journal, 1843-1850, also known as the "Araby Plantation Journal." The journal
includes lists of slaves as well as descriptions of births and deaths, treatment for sick slaves, commentary on childbirth, rules for
overseers, charts of amounts of cotton picked per male and female
- John Ramsay Papers, 1834-1885. 35 Items And 5 Volumes.
Seaboard, North Carolina.
- Account books kept by white farmer and merchant which contain
extensive and detailed records of Ramsey's dealings with his hired
laborers, many of whom, if not all, were black. Records of cotton
picked are listed by name, and document gender similarities and
differences in work patterns.
- Rockingham Plantation Journal, 1828-1829. 1 Volume. Brunson,
- Daily record of work done by slaves from 2/7/1828-7/13/1829.
The owner notes which slaves are doing which job each day, who is
out sick, and who has run away. The journal is a good illustration
of what jobs were done by whom on a medium sized plantation.
- William Slade Papers, 1751-1929. 2,750 Items And 32 Volumes.
- Personal correspondence and business records of a prominent
eastern North Carolina farm family chiefly valuable of social
history and a picture of ante-bellum family and plantation life.
Includes several slave lists, including prices at which each were
bought and sold.
- Washington M. Smith Papers, 1831-1916. 8,578 Items. Selma,
- Papers of a lawyer, banking specialist, and planter who owned
quite a few slaves contain a number of receipts for purchase and
sale, as well as accounts for their upkeep and doctor bills.
Letters from his wife relate to incidents of runaways slaves and
reveals her bitterness towards abolitionists who she felt were
- St. Paul's Church Record Book, 1909-1959. 1 Volume. Rockingham
Co., North Carolina.
- Records, primarily 1909-1912 and 1932-1939, of former black
Methodist Episcopal Church includes lists of members, financial
accounts, and memoranda on church and Sunday school services.
- Virginia. Campbell County Clerk Register Of Negroes, 1801-1850.
1 Volume. Campbell County, Virginia.
- Photocopy of a register kept by the clerk of the Campbell
County Court (1801-1850), listing the names of free Afro-Americans
in the county and giving their name, age, height, complexion, and
where and by whom emancipated.
- Joseph Westmoreland Papers, 1780-1865. 1 Volume. Edenton, North
- Journal of a white merchant's business accounts concerning
vessels and cargoes trading on the eastern coast of the United
States, the West Indies, Europe, and the Canary Islands. There are
entries for the selling, hiring and activities of slaves, usually
specified by name. In addition there are household accounts kept by
a woman for the issuance of cotton, wool and cows hair to slaves
and neighbors for spinning, weaving, and knitting cloth.