Freedmen's Bureau Digital Collection
NMAAHC.FB

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAAHC.FB
Creators:
United States. Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands.
Dates:
1865-1872
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
1,917,680 digital images
1918 digitized microfilm rolls
Repository:
National Museum of African American History and Culture
The Freedmen's Bureau Digital Collection is comprised of digital surrogates previously available on the 1918 rolls of microfilm held by the National Archives and Records Administration.

Arrangement note
Arrangement note
The Freedmen's Bureau digital collection consists of 44 collections.
Headquarters
Selected Series of Records Issued by the Commissioner of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872 (M742, 7 rolls)
Registers and Letters Received by the Commissioner of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872 (M752, 74 rolls)
Records of the Education Division of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1871 (M803, 35 rolls)
Superintendents of Education
Alabama (M810, 8 rolls)
Arkansas (M980, 5 rolls)
District of Columbia (M1056, 24 rolls)
Georgia (M799, 28 rolls)
Louisiana (M1026, 12 rolls)
North Carolina (M844, 16 rolls)
Tennessee (M1000, 9 rolls)
Texas (M822, 18 rolls)
Virginia (1053, 20 rolls)
Assistant Commissioners
Alabama (M809, 23 rolls)
Arkansas (M979, 52 rolls)
District of Columbia (M1055, 21 rolls)
Georgia (M798, 36 rolls)
Louisiana - Asst. Commissioner, (M1027, 36 rolls)
Louisiana - New Orleans Field Offices, (M1483, 10 rolls)
Mississippi (M826, 50 rolls)
North Carolina (M843, 38 rolls)
South Carolina (M869, 44 rolls)
Tennessee (M999, 34 rolls)
Texas (M821, 32 rolls)
Virginia (M1048, 67 rolls)
Field Offices
Alabama (M1900, 34 rolls)
Arkansas (M1901, 23 rolls)
District of Columbia (M1902, 21 rolls)
Florida (M1869, 15 rolls)
Georgia (M1903, 90 rolls)
Kentucky (M1904, 133 rolls)
Louisiana (M1905, 111 rolls)
Maryland/Delaware (M1906, 42 rolls)
Mississippi - Pre-Bureau Records, (M1914, 5 rolls)
Mississippi - Freedmen's Bureau (M1907, 65 rolls)
Missouri (M1908, 24 rolls)
North Carolina (M1909, 78 rolls)
South Carolina (M1910, 106 rolls)
Tennessee (M1911, 89 rolls)
Texas (M1912, 28 rolls)
Virginia (M1913, 203 rolls)
Marriage
Marriage (M1875, 5 rolls)
Adjutant General's Office
Office of the Adjutant General, 1872-1878 (M2029, 58 rolls).
Freedmen's Savings and Trust
Freedmen's Savings and Trust (M816, 27 rolls)
Tennessee Selected Records
Tennessee (T142, 73 rolls)

Historical Note
Historical Note
As the Civil War drew to a close, President Lincoln and members of Congress debated how to reunite the nation, reconstruct Southern society, and help formerly enslaved individuals make the transition to freedom and citizenship. As one response, in March 1865 Congress created the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, commonly referred to as The Freemen’s Bureau. In May 1865, President Andrew Johnson appointed Maj. Gen. Oliver Otis Howard Commissioner of the Bureau. Howard, who served until the Bureau was discontinued, maintained his headquarters at Washington, D.C. Assistant commissioners supervised the work of the Bureau in the States.
The Bureau was responsible for providing assistance to four million formerly enslaved individuals and hundreds of thousands of impoverished Southern whites. The Bureau set up offices in major cities in the 15 Southern and border states and the District of Columbia.
The Bureau provided food, clothing, medical care, and legal representation; promoted education; helped legalize marriages; and assisted African American soldiers and sailors in securing back pay, enlistment bounties and pensions. In addition, the Bureau promoted a system of labor contracts to replace the slavery system and tried to settle freedmen and women on abandoned or confiscated land. The Bureau was also responsible for protecting freedmen and women from intimidation and assaults by Southern whites.
By most accounts, the Bureau was only partially successful. Congress did not provide sufficient funds or staff for the Bureau to be truly effective. The Bureau only operated from 1865 to 1872. It generally failed to protect the freedmen or their political and civil rights from white Southerners intent on re-establishing their local power.
Administered by the War Department, the Bureau followed the record-keeping system inspired by the war effort and the expansion of the Federal Government it required. Those hundreds of thousands of documents provide an unexcelled view into the lives of the newly freed slaves.

Administration
Existence of Originals Note
The Freedmen's Bureau Digital Collection is provided courtesy of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, FamilySearch International, and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. Original archival records are held by the National Archives and Records Administration.
Author
Finding aid prepared by NMAAHC Staff
Acquisition Note
Acquired from FamilySearch, International in 2015.

Using the Collection
Citation Note
Freedmen's Bureau Digital Collection, National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution
Conditions Governing Use
Freedmen’s Bureau Digital Collection, 1865-1872, is a product of and owned by the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution. Copyright for digital images is retained by the donor, FamilySearch International; permission for commercial use of the digital images may be requested from FamilySearch International, Intellectual Property Office, at: cor-intellectualproperty@ldschurch.org.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
American South Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Freedmen's Bureau Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Reconstruction, U.S. history, 1865-1877 Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Slaves--Emancipation Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
National Museum of African American History and Culture
Washington, D.C., 20004
FreedmensBureau@si.edu