Monthly Archives: February 2014

Published in Philadelphia between 1846 and 1854, the Non-Slaveholder advocated free labor and free produce at a time when both were under threat. Expanding its critique of slaveholders to include those who profited from slave labor, those who sold slave-produced goods, or those who consumed material connected with slavery, the newspaper set a powerful moral standard. The entire print run is available here.

Source: Historical Society of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA)

The Kurt Fisher Collection is one of the most important archives for the study of Haitian and Caribbean history. It includes rare newspapers, government correspondence, and documents by Toussaint Louverture, André Rigaud, Charles Belair, and Charles Leclerc, among others. Selected manuscripts and newspapers from this collection are available below.

Box 1A-1B – General Correspondence, 1787-1862

Box 8A-9A – Government Papers, 1728-1825

Box 12 – Writings (Dessalines’ treason, voyage to Kingston, note on the organization of the colony)

Box 13 – Printed Matter (Feuille du Commerce, Le Phare, Le Propagateur Haïtien, Le Télégraphe)

Source: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library (microfilm)

Zilpha Elaw was born to a free black family near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After experiencing a religious vision, she joined the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1808 and toured the United States and England as an evangelist. Confronting barriers of sexism and racism, she became a popular and controversial speaker. She published her first and only book, Memoirs of The Life, Religious Experience, Ministerial Travels and Labours of Mrs. Zilpha Elaw, an American Female of Colour, in London in 1846. It is now available online for the first time here.

Note that the last several pages are missing from the original. The complete text, with commentary and notes, can be found in William L. Andrews (ed.), Sisters of the Spirit: Three Black Women’s Autobiographies of the Nineteenth Century (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986).

Source: Library of Congress (microfiche)

Another key early American newspaper, the National Reformer was the official organ of the American Moral Reform Society. It was edited by black abolitionist William Whipper. Based in Pennsylvania, Whipper served as an agent on the Underground Railroad and helped to develop the idea of nonviolent resistance. Issues of the National Reformer from September 1838 through December 1839 are available here.

Source: Historical Society of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA)