Exploring Race and African-American History Through the GHS collections

Select African-American History Resources At the Georgia Historical Society
Please note this is not an exhaustive list of all GHS resources. Search our online catalog for other archival collections, books, pamphlets, and serials related to African-American history and culture.

Archival Collections

  • Richard Dennis Arnold Papers, MS 27: Contains the will of Maria Cohen, a free woman of color (Will is dated 6/21/1855; will states that her estate is to go to Dr. Richard D. Arnold in trust for her children)

  • Lowry Axley Photographs, MS 35: Contains photographs of African-American adults and children, religious services, and Bishop “Daddy” Grace (not dated)

  • Victor Hugo Bassett Photographs, VM 55: Contains photographs of African-American midwives

  • Charles J. Beatty papers, MS 60: Contains a circular about impressments of freemen of color and slaves for work projects of the Confederate Army; authorization of which Beatty is appointed as Special Agent to assist counties in dealing with escaped slaves; a “Roll of Slaves Impressed to Work on the Defenses Around Savannah, Ga”, and a list of slaves and their owners for South Carolina and Georgia (dates between 1864-1867)

  • Joseph Vallence Beven papers, MS 71: Contains correspondence dating from 1787 between George Mathews, Thomas Pinckney, and General James Jackson concerning armed fugitive slaves

  • Robert Bolton papers, MS 73: Contains slave bills of sale and two letters from Jesse Scrugs to John Bolton dating from 1804 concerning African-Americans and land

  • Lillian Chaplin Bragg papers, MS 83: Contains article “A Slave Cup Comes Home” on the history of a cup given by Major Pierce Butler to his slave Morris (not dated), and the article “Savannah Negroes Owned Slaves” (not dated)

  • Archibald Bulloch papers, MS 103: Include a letter discussing the mistreatment of Bulloch’s slaves by another plantation owner.

  • Ann Butler Letter, MS 114: Contains letter written January 30, 1865 by Ann Butler to her husband William Butler who was serving in Company H, Second U.S. Colored Troops

  • Lila Marguerite Cabaniss papers, MS 116: Contains letter dating from April 8, 1853 written by Feriba Burney [a slave] to her husband Emanuel Jenkins in Forsyth, Georgia

  • Cohen-Phillips papers, MS 162: Contains a slave bill of sale dating from 1859 in Savannah, Georgia.

  • Bernard Constantine indenture, MS 172: This collection consists of a deed of indenture, dated November 11, 1861, from Bernard Constantine to his son, Peter Constantine, for two slaves, Mary and Susan, in trust for Bernard’s daughter-in-law, Sarah Constantine, and her children

  • William Harris Crawford papers, MS 186: Contains a letter written October 20, 1819 by James Monroe to William Harris Crawford concerning importation of slaves into Charleston

  • Cumming records, MS 189: Contains seven slave bills of sale (1852-1863) recorded in Chatham County and Bibb County transferring 5 slaves including March, Sam, Frank, Marian, and an unnamed male

  • Sarah Alexander Cunningham collection, MS 194: Contains photographs of African-Americans taken in Forsyth Park during an annual huckster contest (not dated)

  • Richard James Darant Collection, MS 199: Contains bills of sale for slaves to Peter and William H. Wiltberger, 1827-1861

  • Stephen Elliott papers, MS 233: Contains correspondence on slavery between Stephen Elliott and Amelia Murray of Norfolk, England dating from 1855

  • Jeremiah Evarts Diary, MS 240: Contains diary (not the original) written in 1822 which describes appearance, customs, and living conditions of African-Americans in Georgia

  • Couper and Fraser Family papers, MS 265: Contains undated list of 40 slaves received by Peck & Son, and an undated list of slaves belonging to Anne S. Fraser who were sold in Savannah

  • Georgia Volunteer Infantry 49th Infantry Regiment letter, MS 297: Contains letter dating from March 15, 1865 which proposes to General Lee that the Regiment be allowed to fill its ranks with African-Americans conscripted in Georgia

  • Georgia Militia Districts census records, MS 298: Contains volume listing all African-American males living in the 4th militia district in Chatham County in 1894

  • Georgia Infirmary Records, MS 301: Contains minutes books, patient registers, birth records, and miscellaneous administrative records from the Infirmary, which was chartered in 1832 in Savannah for the care of African-Americans

  • Mary Lois Granger papers, MS 321: Contains correspondence, pamphlets, and notes on race relations circa the 1930s

  • Nathanael Greene letters, MS 329: Contains letter written on December 9, 1781 by Nathanael Green to Governor John Rutledge concerning the possibility of using African-American troops to force the British to evacuate Charleston

  • Guerard Family papers, MS 334: Contains documents relating to divisions of slaves belonging to the estate of Dr. William Parker in 1845; documents relating to the sale and transfer of slaves from the estate of William Parker to Robert Guerard in 1845, and a document relating to sale of slaves between Augustus Guerard of Pennsylvania to Robert Guerard of Savannah in 1850

  • James Habersham papers, MS 337: Contains papers of a prosperous land owner and a strong advocate for allowing slavery in Georgia. When, in 1749, slavery became legal in the state, Habersham established many rice plantations.

  • William Hughes and Horace Bertrand Folsom family papers, MS 406: Contains list of slaves at Bonaventure dating from 1806-1807; receipts for slave purchases dating from 1797-1812, and the following historical writings by Horace Bertrand Folsom: “The First Negro Hospital”, “Negro Education in Georgia”, and “Slave Baptism by Proxy”

  • Peter Hynes and James Sullivan papers, MS 412: Contains two bills of sale for the slaves Dorcas and Edward to James Sullivan in 1850

  • Jones Family papers, MS 440: Contains slave bills of sale; list of slaves derived from marriage settlements; list of slaves derived from estate settlements; lists of field hand; lists of slaves sold, and a letter from slave William Nuttall to his owner George Noble Jones I dating from 1854

  • Samuel J. Josephs receipt, MS 451: Contains the receipt for the sale of mulatto slave Eliza dating from 1863

  • Lachlan McIntosh papers, MS 526: Contains letter from Robert Baillie to Lachlan McIntosh on July 17, 1781 concerning slaves (includes list) taken by a privateer and sold in Beaufort, S.C.; an agreement between John Fabian and William McIntosh, Jr. on December 20, 1792 with McIntosh lending Fabian 12 slaves in exchange for crops, and a letter from Lachlan McIntosh to John McIntosh, Jr. on July 11, 1788 requesting slaves

  • William Wiseham Paine papers, MS 603: Contains records of a lawsuit to recover named slaves in Montgomery County (1845-1848); petition of Rachel Brownfield, an African-American woman, to recover debt (1867); records of W.W. Paine; Claims vs. US which include lists of African-Americans living in Chatham and Liberty counties with their name, residence, and age given (1874-1877); fragment of the will of Peter Groves, a free African –American man (1820); claims for pensions and lots by African-American (1880-1881), as well as descriptions of properties owned by slaves.

  • Jane E. Pritchard slave deeds, MS 639: Contains two deeds of gift for slaves belonging to Jane E. Pritchard of St, Helena Island, South Carolina, in 1855

  • Keith Read Collection, MS 648: Contains document relating to slave trade in 1879.

  • Thomas Porcher Ravenel papers, MS 649: Contains slave bill of sale from 1859, will of Benjamin A. White which included provisions for funeral expenses of 2 ex-slave women, Constitution of the M.W. Union Grande Lodge, A.F. & A.M. of the State of Georgia 1892 (African-American Masonic order)
  • Richmond County (Ga.) judicial records, MS 659: Contains bench warrant for harboring runaway slaves; testimony on worth of a female slave; receipt for slaves, coroner findings on the deaths of five African-Americans; records of lawsuit for the recovery of slaves; records of lawsuit for selling a stolen slave; records of lawsuit concerning mortgage on slaves, and records of lawsuit for shooting a slave,
  • Isaac Shelby paper, MS 727: Contains letter dated April 15, 1809 from Isaac Shelby (first governor of Kentucky) to Thomas Hart requesting aid in shipping a slave to New Orleans for sale.

  • Port of Savannah Slave Manifests, MS 733: Contains 6 manifests (which include first name, gender, age, height, owner and residence) of slaves shipped from Savannah to various ports between 1852-1860

  • Telfair Family papers, MS 793: Contains letter dated March 10, 1793 from John Hume to Edward Telfair regarding the “misbehavior of Negroes”; letter dated April 29, 1756 from Ann Gibbons to William Gibbons concerning expenses in caring for slaves; receipt from 1764 for expenses accrued in care of slaves; affidavit from 1765 regarding the receipt for the slave expense; an account from N.W. Jones to Edward Telfair concerning medical services for slaves; three slave passes dating from 1855; list of slaves at the Sharon Plantation (not dated); list of slaves from the Thorn Island Plantation dating from 1837; list of slaves from the estate of John Martin Gibbons (not dated); letter dated December 28, 1789 from Francis Courvoisie to William Gibbons regarding the sale of slaves; list of slaves sold from the estate of John Sommerville in 1775, and a document dated September 12, 1791 regarding sale of slaves and piracy

  • Robert G, Wallace bill of sale, MS 831: Contains bill of sale for a slave named Billy dating from 1827

  • Charlton H. Way slave bills of sale, MS 843: Contains two slave bills of sale for sales which occurred after the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 (one dates from 1864 and the other from 1865)

  • Wayne-Stites-Anderson papers, MS 846: Contains note regarding a slave named Daniel (1801); slave bills of sale dating from 1798-1812 (some show chain of title); legal cases concerning free people of color; slave list, and “Negro Records” dating from 1805-1813

  • Naomi Stanton Wylly collection of Stanton Family papers, MS 887: Contains 7 bills of sale for slaves by John L. Weitman dating from 1852-1857, and an inventory and appraisement of the slaves belonging to the estate of John L. Weitman from 1860

  • Ogeechee Four Loving Brothers Society letter and minutes, MS 915: Contains a fragment of the Ogeechee Four Brothers Society minutes for March 18, 1935 which includes a motion for disbandment, and a letter dating from 1835 from Stephen K. Meyers to Beatrice Hood

  • Cornelius Rea Agnew papers, MS 926: Contains receipt for relieving the Colored Presbyterian Church of Augusta from debt

  • Colonial Dames of America, Georgia Society, Historical Collections, MS 965: Contains plantation journal from 1863-1866 with notes on slaves, essay entitled “Sales of a Family of Negroes on Account of Mr. J.H. Couper…” from 1837, and three bills of sale for slaves from 1812-1843

  • McLaughlin papers, MS 990: Contains indentures and slave manifests (not dated)

  • Savannah Historical Research Association papers, MS 994: Contains a paper titled “Some Characteristics of the Sea Island Negroes”, and a paper titled “Origin, Dialects, Beliefs, and Characteristics of the Negroes of South Carolina and Georgia Coasts”

  • Thomas B. Smith bill of sale, MS 1025: Contains one 1850 bill of sale for a mulatto woman who was sold for $750.00

  • Francis Stebbins Bartow papers, MS 1156: Contains handwritten paper on the constitutionality of slavery (not dated)

  • Varner Family papers, MS 1256: Contains letters dating from 1843-1847 concerning a court case involving an African-American man named Georgia, the purchase of a male slave named Tally, and a slave named Jim in the Houston County Jail

  • Joseph Frederick Waring II papers, MS 1275: Contains 35 items on African-American churches (not dated); 18 items on African-American members of the Republican Party of Georgia from 1867-1869; slave bills of sale from 1856-1859; a list of slaves from 1859, leases to African-Americans from 1865-1866, and a letter from 1851 which discusses a fugitive slave riot.

  • Saussy Family papers, MS 1276: Contains legal documents relating to the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Savannah from 1880-1889, land deeds and legal documents relating to slaves from 1830-1839

  • Heyward-Howkins family papers, MS 1278: Contains 3 programs from the Georgia State Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs’ annual meetings for 1921, 1928, and 1930

  • Malcolm Bell, Jr., and Muriel Barrow Bell collection, VM 1283: Contains photographs of African-Americans taken for the book Drums and Shadows

  • Antonio J. Waring Collection, MS 1287: Contains “The Case of the Africans” which discusses the slave trade from 1817-1820

  • Meldrim family papers, MS 1288: Contains letter appointing Peter Wiltberger Meldrim to the Commission for a Negro College (1887-1901)

  • Northen Family papers, MS 1298: Contains a letter dated April 11, 1908 to William J. Northen from President Theodore Roosevelt regarding the President’s stand on equal accommodations for African-Americans on railways

  • Dancy-Woods papers, MS 1305: Contains the autobiography of Phyllis Melissa Green, an African-American woman (1939)

  • Marmaduke Hamilton and Dolores Boisfeuillet Floyd papers, MS 1308: Contains correspondence regarding, and undated photographs, of African-Americans 1929-1942

  • American Legion, Chatham Post #36, 1917-1929, MS 1321: Contains roster of African-Americans from Chatham County who served in World War I

  • Ossabaw Island papers, MS 1326: Contains list of the slaves of John Morel and how they were divided after his death (1817); receipt of slaves from 1826, deed entrusting slaves to the care and for the use of Nathaniel G. Rutherford (February 2, 1828)

  • Frank O’Driscoll Hunter papers, MS 1342: Contains correspondence, clippings, and pamphlets from 1945 dealing with race relations on military bases, transcripts of phone conversations dealing with race relations on military posts

  • Works Progress Administrations – Georgia Writers’ Project, Savannah Unit, MS 1355: Contains typewritten paper concerning African-American burial customs in Laurens County, Georgia; sketches of African-Americans who took part in the Civil War; sketches of African-American schools in Savannah; information on African-American organizations in Chatham County; sketch of the Tatemville area of Savannah containing interviews with some of the African-American inhabitants; extracts from Savannah newspapers 1767-1858 concerning the slave trade; article on African-American churches in Augusta; slaves bill of sales from Bethesda dating from 1761-1809, and a list of slaves from Beech Tree Plantation dating from 1853-1901

  • Cordray-Foltz collection, MS 1360: Contains photographs of both identified and unidentified African-American children, unidentified African-American men, as well as identified and unidentified African-American groups and families

  • John Mallory slave bill of sale, MS 1368: Contains one bill of sale for a slave named Henry who was sold to Robert Habersham on December 3, 1845 for $550.00

  • Savannah Health Center Collection, MS 1478: Contains documents and photographs dating from the 1920s-1980 regarding African-American nurses and midwives

  • Wiley M. Pearce slave bill of sale, MS 1562: Contains one bill of sale for a slave named Wade who was sold for $1020.oo in Macon, Georgia, on November 19, 1859

  • Race Question Scrapbook, MS 1568: Contains newspaper clippings dating from 1889-1890, and taken from both Northern and Southern newspapers, dealing with various race questions created by the abolition of slavery

  • Charles C. Jones, Jr. Consideration, MS 1578: Contains one consideration filed with Chatham County Superior Court in 1860 by Charles C. Jones concerning the sale of three slaves

  • Trial Docket, Inferior Court for People of Color, MS 1596: Contains minutes of the trials of people of color from June 1813-June 1827 for the Inferior Court of Savannah

  • Episcopal Diocese of Georgia, MS 1617: Contains files on the Diocese’s committee on racism for the years 1982-1983 and 1986-1990, and the following papers relating to race relations and civil rights: “A reply to the Political Plea” (1913), “The American Church Institute for Negroes, 1935-1947” Also contains photographs of African-American churches (1907-1990)

  • Charles Hicks Papers, MS 1634: Contains personal property assessments, pension records, and newspaper clippings related to Charles Hicks who accompanied his master into the Johnson County Grays during the Civil War, and a midwifery certificate for Polly Ann Banks Hicks, Charles’s wife

  • Kollock-Thoromon Family papers, MS 1648 (microfilm): Contains contracts between George Jones Kollock and his plantation overseers dating from 1849-1859, and letters that he received from them dating from 1830-1859

  • Westley Wallace (W.W.) Law paper, MS 1670: Contains a transcribed speech given by Law on October 27, 1984 at a retirement banquet for Lt. John A. White, one of the first black police officers in Savannah

  • Sapelo Island collection, MS 1681: Contains documents relating to African American Sea Island Communities, with specific information on the Hog Hammock community (1986-1997)

  • Aldrich Photograph collection, MS 1687: Contains photographs of an African-American family circa 1900

  • Naval Stores collections, MS 2022: Contains reports dating from 1965 and 1967 on civil rights for the Naval Stores Loan Program

  • Hyer Family collection, MS 2117: Contains papers relating to Ethel Hyer and her work as president of the Rome, Georgia chapter of the N.A.A.C.P. during the 1960s, as well as a Hyer family Bible. Also contains one photograph of Ethel Hyer dating from the 1960s, one photograph of an African-American man circa 1900, one photograph of an unidentified African-American man from the 1930s, and one photograph of an African-American woman and three African-American men dating from the 1930s.

  • James S. Silva collection, MS 2126: Contains photographs of African-American people in Savannah’s City Market and on the docks along the Savannah River (1888-1910s)

  • Bessie Lewis collection, MS 2138: Contains research notes, correspondence, photocopies, and newspaper articles relating to African-American history dating from 1863-1964

  • A. Pratt Adams, Jr. collection, MS 2165: Contains correspondence, minutes, by-laws, and other material relating to Savannah-Chatham Civic Progress, Inc. (an organization chartered in 1959 to unite citizens) and the Bi-racial Committee (1959-1971)

  • Register of Free Persons of Color, MS 5600CL 130 (microfilm): Contains list of free people of color living in Savannah during the years 1817-1865