James H. Thomason Library

History 3670

Race & Slavery in the Atlantic World

Reference Sources


Starting out to harvest coffee, photograph c. 1885, Brazil, Marc Ferrez

ArtStor Digital Image Collection

  Dictionaries & Encyclopedias
  Style Guides
Locating Books
  PASCAL Catalog
  WorldCat & I.L.L.
Locating Articles
  Journal & Reference Databases
  Historical Newspapers
  Journal Finder
  Key Journals
Web Sites
  Primary Sources-Full Text
  Slave Narratives
  Reconstruction Era
Get Help

denotes recommended resource

Reference Sources:    
Dictionaries & Encyclopedias   back to top

For background information and definitions refer to the following library reference works and online reference collections:

Chronology of World Slavery, ABC-CLIO, 1999.
Main Level, Reference: R 306.3 R618C.

Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History, Macmillan Pub., 1996.

Main Level, Reference: R 973.0496073 En19E2 [5 vols]
Covers the African-American experience from 1619 to the present day. Uses biographies, historical essays, and thematic pieces, to explore the cultural roots and current condition of the African-American community.

Encyclopedia of African and African-American Religions, Routledge, 2001.

Main Level, Reference: R 299.603 En19E

Use the index to find information on slave religion, Second Great Awakening, and more.

Encyclopedia of African American Society
[SAGE eReference], SAGE, 2005.
A reliable initial reference for learning basic facts and ideas about African American society and for guidance on where to obtain more information.

Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A Political, Social, and Military History, ABC-CLIO, 2000.

Main Level, Reference: R 973.703 En19E [5 vols]
Entries that chart the war's strategic aims, analyze diplomatic and political maneuvering, describe key military actions, sketch important participants, assess developments in military science, and discuss the social and financial impact of the conflict, providing comprehensive treatment of subjects usually covered only in specialized monographs. Includes chronology, illustrations, maps, primary documents, bibliographies, and index.

Encyclopedia of African American Society Bookcover


Encyclopedia of Black America, McGraw-Hill, 1981.
Main Level, Reference: R 973.0496073 En19E 
Of particular note: See section titled  “Slavery in Selected States.”

Encyclopedia of Black Studies [SAGE eReference], SAGE, 2006.
A source for the most used ideas and concepts in the field of Black studies.

Encyclopedia of Emancipation and Abolition in the Transatlantic World. Junius P. Rodriguez, editor. M.E. Sharpe Pub., 2007 [CREDO eBook Collection].


Slavery and America (Gale Library of Daily Life series)  [GaleVirtual Reference Library]. Orville Vernon Burton, ed. Detroit: Gale, 2008. 

Historical and Cultural Atlas of African Americans, Macmillan, 1991.
Main Level, Reference: R 973.0496073 As13H

Macmillan Encyclopedia of World Slavery, Macmillan Reference, 1998.
Main Level, Reference: R 306.3 M228M [2 vols]

The Negro Almanac: A Reference Work on the African American, Gale Research, 1989.
Main Level, Reference: R 973.0496073 N312N


Oxford African American Studies Center

Core content from reference works - Africana, Encyclopedia of African American History, 1619-1895, Black Women in America, and African American National Biography.  The Center draws on other key resources from Oxford's reference program, including the Concise Oxford Companion to African American Literature and selected articles from other major reference titles. Numerous primary sources with specially written commentaries, images, and maps enhance this reference content.


Biography   back to top


African American Lives, Oxford University Press, 2004. 
Main Level, Reference: R 920.009296 Af83A

American National Biography, Oxford University Press, 1998.
Main Level, Reference: R 920.073 Am35A [24 vols]
Portraits of more than 17,400 men and women whose lives have shaped the nation.

African American National Biography
[Oxford African American Studies Center], Oxford, 2006.
Included are slaves and abolitionists, writers, politicians, and business people, musicians and dancers, artists and athletes, victims of injustice and the lawyers, journalists, and civil rights leaders who gave them a voice.

Gale Biography in Context   [Gale]
Contains 600,000+ biographies covering more than 525,000 individuals. Includes biographical articles from reference books and periodicals as well as multimedia content.

Style Guides   back to top

Guidelines for Writing History Research Papers, Dr. Richard Heiser, History Dept.

Suggestions for Paper Writers, Dr. Anita Gustafson, History Dept.

Writing Center, Presbyterian College
Citation styles, writing guides, and scheduling an appointment with a tutor.


Locating Books  
THOMCAT   back to top


 Use THOMCAT , the online catalog, to locate books in Thomason Library. You can search by author, title, word, or subject.

  • Search for a person, as AUTHOR or SUBJECT, with last name, first name:              

Douglass, Frederick [as AUTHOR]

  Casas, Bartolomé de las, 1474-1566 [as SUBJECT]  
  • SUBJECT searching requires use of Library of Congress subject headings. The terms below are examples of subject headings related to freedom and slavery:

Fugitive Slaves


Slavery Brazil History


Slavery Brazil History

  African American abolitionists -- Biography  
  • Materials relevant to the study of slavery may also be found by specifying the era or dates, geographic area, or the material type in which you are interested:
  African Americans--History to 1863  
  Antislavery Movements--United States--History--19th century  
  Women abolitionists -- United States -- History -- 19th century  
  Slavery Latin America History  
  Slaves Emancipation Latin America History  

Slavery Caribbean Area History


Subject searching is an effective and precise method of searching the catalog, however, KEYWORD searching has benefits, also.

  • If you are unsure of the exact title or the correct subject heading to use, try a KEYWORD search using two or three of the most significant words from the title or subject you are trying to find. Place phrases in "quotation marks."

  • Connect words with AND, OR, NOT to focus your search.
  • Try truncation at the end of a word stem to retrieve singular, plural, and other variations of the word.  Use an asterisk (*) to truncate from 1 to 5 characters. Use a double asterisk (**) to include word endings with an unlimited number of characters.
KEYWORD Searching Tips


· Add * to the root of a keyword to truncate & expand
a term:
slave* = slave, slaves, slavery

· Use AND between keywords to narrow your search:
AND narrative*


· Use OR between keywords to expand your search then group keywords with parentheses:
(freedom OR emancipation) AND south


Try KEYWORD searching with THOMCAT,

PASCAL Catalog, & the library's journal databases


PASCAL Catalog   back to top

PASCAL Catalog

If you need books in addition to those found at Thomason Library, try your search here for books in other academic libraries in SC. Through PASCAL Delivers, you can order books online for delivery within 3-4 working days. This service for current PC students, faculty, and staff is a project of PASCAL- Partnership Among SC Academic Libraries. Borrowers will be notified by e-mail when requested items arrive at Thomason Library. Click here for searching and ordering tips.

Worldcat & Interlibrary Loan   back to top


A catalog of books and materials at libraries worldwide. Try searching here to find ALL books available on a topic. Materials available at Thomason Library are highlighted and others can be borrowed through ILL or searched in PASCALCAT.

Interlibrary Loan

ILL is available to PC students, faculty and staff in order to share resources between libraries. Check link for instructions.

Locating Articles:    
Journal Databases back to top

The following journal databases are available to PC students, faculty, and staff from on- and off-campus locations.  Search using terms dealing with your topic.

Academic Search Complete  
The world's most valuable and comprehensive scholarly, multi-disciplinary full-text database, with more than 8,500 full-text periodicals, including more than 7,300 peer-reviewed journals.

A searchable archive of full-text journals covering all disciplines while providing more full-text access in the library's electronic databases

 Project MUSE Basic Undergraduate Collection
Current and recent volumes of 111 core journals in the humanities and social sciences

Reference Databases       back to top

Oxford African American Studies Center

A comprehensive online collection focusing on the lives and events which have shaped African American and African history and culture from Oxford Press.
Reference titles in this collection include:

African American National Biography
(much content available, but still under development)
Encyclopedia of African American History, 1619-1895

Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present
Black Women in America
, Second Edition
Concise Oxford Companion to African American Literature

Historical Newspaper Databases    back to top

America’s Historical Newspapers, 1690-1876 [NewsBank Archive of Americana]
A searchable database with issues from over 700 historical American newspapers from 23 states and the District of Columbia focusing largely on the 18th and early 19th centuries. Select specific titles or search publications by state.

The Atlanta Constitution Archive [ProQuest Historical Newspapers]
Full-text & full-image articles from 1868-1945.

The New York Times Archive [ProQuest Historical Newspapers]
Full-text & full-image of NYT articles with coverage from 1851 up to three years ago.

Journal Finder   back to top

Journal Finder provides access to PC's electronic and print journals,

magazines, and newspapers in one convenient location.

Browse Journal Finder by title or subject. When browsing or searching, you can read articles from any journal that is available in the Full-text resources online group of results. Choose a database in this group based on the dates available and the time frame in which you are interested.

Library article databases are inter-connected by Journal Finder, which will lead you to the full-text of an article when available.

Key Journals   back to top

American Historical Review
  1895 - present

The American Historical Review (AHR) is the official publication of the American Historical Association (AHA). The AHR has been the journal of record for the historical profession in the United States since 1895—the only journal that brings together scholarship from every major field of historical study.

American Quarterly  1949 - present

The journal publishes essays that examine American societies and cultures, past and present, in global and local contexts. This includes work that contributes to our understanding of the United States in its diversity, its relations with its hemispheric neighbors, and its impact on world politics and culture.

Colonial Latin American Review 1996 - present

Colonial Latin American Review (CLAR) is a unique interdisciplinary journal devoted to the study of the colonial period in Latin America.

Journal of African American History 2002 - 2011 (continues The Journal of Negro History 1916 - 2001)

The Journal of African American History, formerly The Journal of Negro History, is the leading scholarly source on African American life and history.

Journal of American History  1964 - present

The Journal of American History is the leading scholarly publication and the journal of record in the field of American history. Each volume of the Journal features a variety of pieces that deal with every aspect of American history, including state-of-the-field essays, broadly inclusive book reviews, and reviews of films, museum exhibitions, and Web sites.

Journal of Southern History 1935 - present

The Journal of Southern History, which is edited at and sponsored by Rice University, is a quarterly devoted to the history of the American South and is unrestricted as to chronological period, methodology, or southern historical topic.

New England Quarterly  1928 - present

Through major essays, memoranda and edited documents, reconsiderations (of scholarly editions, influential interpretive texts, and essays published in NEQ), essay reviews, and book reviews, NEQ authors help readers evaluate the history of civilization in New England.

William and Mary Quarterly 1892 - present

A leading journal in early American history and culture, the William and Mary Quarterly publishes refereed scholarship in history and related disciplines from initial Old World–New World contacts to the early nineteenth century. Its articles, sources and interpretations, and reviews of books range from British North America and the United States to Europe, West Africa, the Caribbean, and the Spanish American borderlands.


Web Sites  
General Sources   back to top


Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture [College of Charleston]
This site presents the Avery Center's archival and museum collections of primary documents relating to the history and culture of African Americans in Charleston and South Carolina. The site also offers a schedule of center programs, including conferences, lectures, and exhibits.

Digital Library on American Slavery  [Electronic Resources and Information Technologies, University Libraries, UNC-Greensboro]

The Digital Library on American Slavery offers data on race and slavery extracted from eighteenth and nineteenth-century documents and processed over a period of eighteen years. The Digital Library contains detailed information on about 150,000 individuals, including slaves, free people of color, and whites. These data have been painstakingly extracted from 2,975 legislative petitions and 14,512 county court petitions, and from a wide range of related documents, including wills, inventories, deeds, bills of sale, depositions, court proceedings, amended petitions, among others. Buried in these documents are the names and other data on roughly 80,000 individual slaves, 8,000 free people of color, and 62,000 whites, both slave owners and non-slave owners. (from web site). NOTE: This resource provides detailed abstracts only--not full-text of documents.

Sonja Haynes Stone Center Library for Black Culture and History  [UNC Libraries]
Over 900 sites are available in the searchable guide which is also browseable by subjects. The topics covered range from the underground railroad to hip hop music.

Slave Movement During the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries [Data & Information Services Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison]
This site provides access to the raw data and documentation which contains information on the following slave trade topics from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries: records of slave ship movement between Africa and the Americas, slave ships of eighteenth century France, slave trade to Rio de Janeiro, Virginia slave trade in the eighteenth century, English slave trade (House of Lords Survey), Angola slave trade in the eighteenth century, internal slave trade to Rio de Janeiro, slave trade to Havana, Cuba, Nantes slave trade in the eighteenth century, and slave trade to Jamaica. For information about the data sets, read the study descriptions for each set.

Slavery in America  [Dr. Chris Lewis, University of Colorado]
Categories include African-American Views on Slavery, The Geography of Slavery, 1600-1860, The Debate Over Slavery in America, and The American Civil War.

Primary Source Materials - Full Text  

back to top

African-American Newspapers and Periodicals: Freedom's Journal
[Wisconsin Historical Society]
Freedom's Journal, the first African-American owned and operated newspaper published in the United States, was published weekly in New York City from 1827 to 1829. John B. Russworm edited the journal alone between March 16, 1827 and March 28, 1829. Later,Samuel Cornish served as co-editor  provided international, national, and regional information on current events and contained editorials declaiming slavery, lynching, and other injustices. The Journal also published biographies of prominent African-Americans and listings of births, deaths, and marriages in the African-American New York community. Freedom's Journal circulated in 11 states, the District of Columbia, Haiti, Europe, and Canada.

The Atlantic Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Americas: A Visual Record [Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and by the Digital Media Lab at the University of Virginia]
This site provides a collection of images related to American slave trade and slave societies. The images were compiled from a variety of sources and are comprised primarily of visual documents dating to the period of slavery.

Caribbean Views

Caribbean Views is a collection of the British Library containing over 1,200 images, maps and texts from the 18th and 19th centuries that reveal contrasting experiences of life in the former British colonies.  The selections and commentary offered by historian Mike Phillips is particularly relevant to historians of race and slavery in the Caribbean.

Digital Library of the Caribbean

The Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC) is a cooperative digital library for resources from and about the Caribbean and circum-Caribbean. dLOC provides access to digitized versions of Caribbean cultural, historical and research materials currently held in archives, libraries, and private collections.

From Slavery to Freedom: The African-American Pamphlet Collection, 1822-1909 [American Memory Project, Library of Congress]
Presents 396 pamphlets from the Rare Book and Special Collections Division, published from 1822 through 1909, by African-American authors and others who wrote about slavery, African colonization, Emancipation, Reconstruction, and related topics. The materials range from personal accounts and public orations to organizational reports and legislative speeches

The Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition: Online Documents  [The MacMillan Center, Yale University]
Contains over 200 individual items, including speeches, letters, cartoons and graphics, interviews, and articles. The documents are organized by author, date, subject, and document type. Includes category “History by State,” for resources by geographic areas.

Freedmen’s Bureau Online  [Christine's Genealogy]
Established in March, 1865,The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands  supervised all relief & educational activities relating to refugees and freedmen, including issuing rations, clothing, & medicine. The Bureau also assumed custody of confiscated lands or property in the former Confederate States, border states, District of Columbia, and Indian Territory.  Records include “Records Relating to Murders and Outrages,” “Records Relating to Freedmen’s Labor,”  and “Marriage Records “

Samuel J. May Antislavery Collection [Cornell University Library]
In 1870, the University’s first President, Andrew Dickson White, acquired the complete library of his friend Samuel J. May, an abolitionist minister from Syracuse, New York. Numbering over 10,000 titles, May's pamphlets and leaflets document the anti-slavery struggle at the local, regional, and national levels  Much of the May Anti-Slavery Collection was considered ephemeral or fugitive, and today many of these pamphlets are scarce. Sermons, position papers, offprints, local Anti-Slavery Society newsletters, poetry anthologies, freedmen's testimonies, broadsides, and Anti-Slavery Fair keepsakes all document the social and political implications of the abolitionist movement. 

Word of Cornell’s acquisition spread among prominent abolitionists, many of whom responded to the call to contribute their personal papers and documents to the Cornell Library. In 1874 the abolitionists William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips, and Gerrit Smith, wrote, signed, and circulated an appeal to their friends and supporters in America and Great Britain, urging that it was of "great importance that the literature of the Anti-Slavery movement...be preserved and handed down, that the purposes and the spirit, the methods and the aims of the Abolitionists should be clearly known and understood by future generations." The effort was successful, bringing in further scarce and original manuscripts and publications, allowing the Cornell Library to develop an Anti-Slavery collection that is unique for its depth and coverage.

White supplemented May’s collection with an extensive Civil War collection of his own. Housed in the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections in the Carl A. Kroch Library, both collections form part of Cornell's vast holdings documenting ante-bellum and Civil War America.

ALSO OF NOTE: This web site includes an online exhibit, “I Will Be Heard: Abolitionism in America,” which provides an excellent overview of the abolitionist movement.

Slavery and Abolition in the U.S.: Select Publications of the 1800s

Slavery and Abolition in the US: Select Publications of the 1800s is a digital collection of books and pamphlets that reflect the varying opinions and beliefs expressed on the slavery issue throughout the nineteenth century.  The works in this collection reflect arguments on both sides of the slavery debate and include first person narratives, legal proceedings and decisions, anti-slavery tracts, religious sermons, and secondary works. 

The materials presented in Slavery and Abolition in the US were gathered from the Archives and Special Collections Departments of both the Millersville University Library and the Dickinson College Library.

Slaves and the Courts, 1740-1860 [American Memory Project, Library of Congress]
Contains just over a hundred pamphlets and books (published between 1772 and 1889) concerning the difficult and troubling experiences of African and African-American slaves in the American colonies and the United States. The documents, most from the Law Library and the Rare Book and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress, comprise an assortment of trials and cases, reports, arguments, accounts, examinations of cases and decisions, proceedings, journals, a letter, and other works of historical importance. Of the cases presented here, most took place in America and a few in Great Britain. Among the voices heard are those of some of the defendants and plaintiffs themselves as well as those of abolitionists, presidents, politicians, slave owners, fugitive and free territory slaves, lawyers and judges, and justices of the U.S. Supreme Court. Significant names include John Quincy Adams, Roger B. Taney, John C. Calhoun, Salmon P. Chase, Dred Scott, William H. Seward, Prudence Crandall, Theodore Parker, Jonathan Walker, Daniel Drayton, Castner Hanway, Francis Scott Key, William L. Garrison, Wendell Phillips, Denmark Vesey, and John Brown.

TransAtlantic Slave Trade Databases [Emory University, Harvard University, National Endowment for the Humanities]

Information on almost 35,000 slaving voyages offering researchers and scholars an opportunity to

rediscover info on one of the largest forced movements of people in world history. Search the Voyages database by choosing variables [date, slaves embarked, disembarked, ship, captian, etc.] or view prepared statistics, timelines, maps. Custom graphs display in line, bar, or pie chart formats.


Slave Narratives   back to top

Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938  [American Memory Project, Library of Congress]                      

   This online collection contains more than 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery and 500 black-and-white photographs of former slaves. These narratives were collected in the 1930s as part of the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and assembled and microfilmed in 1941 as the seventeen-volume Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves.

North American Slave Narratives [Documenting the American South, UNC-Chapel Hill] 
Includes full-text of books and articles that document the individual and collective story of African Americans struggling for freedom and human rights in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries. This collection includes all the existing autobiographical narratives of fugitive and former slaves published as broadsides, pamphlets, or books in English up to 1920. Also included are many of the biographies of fugitive and former slaves and some significant fictionalized slave narratives published in English before 1920.

Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War [Virginia Center for Digital History, UVA]
The Valley Project details life in two American communities, one Northern and one Southern, from the time of John Brown’s raid through the era of Reconstruction. In this digital archive you may explore thousands of original letters and diaries, newspapers and speeches, census and church records, left by men and women in Augusta County, Virginia, and Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Giving voice to hundreds of individual people, the Valley Project tells forgotten stories of life during the era of the Civil War.


Timelines   back to top

Statutes of the United States Concerning Slavery : Chronological [The Avalon Project, Yale Law School]

Slavery and the Making of America: Time and Place  [PBS]
Move cursor over dates to see key events; click on date to see more events for that date.

U.S. National Timeline Kentucky’s Underground Railroad [Kentucky Educational Television]

African-American World. Timeline: Early Days and Slavery (1400s-1865) [PBS]

Get Help   back to top
Stop by the
Reference Desk

Sara Rowe 833-8313
Dan Lee 833-8437



Mon - Thurs: 8:30 am - 10 pm

Friday: 8:30 am - 5 pm

Sunday: 1:30 pm - 10 pm

Personal appointments also available.

Copyright © 2008 by Presbyterian College • 503 South Broad Street • Clinton, South Carolina 29325 • 1-864-833-2820