Legal Documents Concerning Slavery Collection
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAH.AC.0786
Creators:
Maynard, Thomas
Clark, Julie
Dates:
undated
1710-1865
Languages:
English
Collection is in [English]. Some documents are in French.
Physical Description:
1 Cubic foot
2 boxes
Repository:
A collection of a variety of legal documents that relate to slavery and African-Americans.

Scope and Contents
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.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is divided into 1 series:
Series 1: Legal Documents Concerning Slavery, 1710-1865, undated

Biographical / Historical
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.

Administration
Processing Information
Processed by Franklin A. Robinson, Jr., 2011; supervised by Vanessa Broussard-Simmons, archivist. Additional processing by Walter Hursey and Jakob Dopp, 2015, supervised by Vanessa Broussard-Simmons, archivist.
Author
Joseph Hursey and Franklin A. Robinson, Jr.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
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.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Legal Documents Concerning Slavery Collection, 1710-1865, undated, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
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.

Custodial History
Custodial History
This collection originally consisted of a single document, and was entitled, Maryland Slave Bill of Sale. In 2008, the Museum's Division of Music, Sports and Entertainment transferred numerous documents, which were added to the single document entitled Maryland Slave Bill of Sale and re-named as Legal Documents Concerning Slavery, 1710-1865, undated (manumission documents, bills of sale, a deed of title, a deed of trust, estate documents, one document relating to the branding of captured runaway slaves, and other papers relating to slavery).

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Bills of sale Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Deeds Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Land titles Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Maryland Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Slave bills of sale Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Manuscripts -- 18th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Manumission, deeds of Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Branding (Punishment) Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fugitive slaves Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Slaves -- Emancipation Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Slave trade -- Maryland Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Slaveholders -- Maryland Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Slavery -- United States -- Maryland Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Clark, Julie Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012
archivescenter@si.edu
http://americanhistory.si.edu/archives