Manuscripts of Slavery Collection from the XULA Library Archives & Special Collections

Bill of sale for slaveThe Xavier University of Louisiana Library Archives and Special Collections is in the process of digitizing and making accessible the Charles F. Heartman Manuscripts of Slavery Collection, which includes materials dating from 1724 to 1897 relating to the social, economic, civil, and legal status of slaves and free people of color in Louisiana. Currently there are over 2,100 viewable items on the website, consisting of over 8,000 manuscript pages.

According to the collection guide, “approximately half of the Charles F. Heartman collection consists of municipal records from city of New Orleans. Clerical books, especially those of the Third Municipality, provide valuable information on the labor and leisure activities of slaves in the early nineteenth century. The city also had the largest concentration of Free People of Color in the nation, and encompassing tax records and business bonds reflect their economic activity. There are also rosters of Negro soldiers in the U.S. Army during the Civil War, and records of societies of Freemen dating from Reconstruction and beyond.” The collection includes records in French, English, and Spanish.