Primary Sources: Records Relating to the Slave Trade at the Liverpool Record Office

This British Online Archives collection includes private merchants’ papers preserved at the Liverpool Record Office relating to the transatlantic slave trade. During the eighteenth century when these documents were compiled, Liverpool was the leading slave trade port in the world. “The material includes correspondence with ship captains and Caribbean agents about the acquisition of Africans and their sales; statistics on the Liverpool slave trade; sales accounts of the lots of Africans disembarked in the Americas, often with the names of purchasers and prices; information on dealings with diverse African groups along the coast of West Africa; and details of payments for slave sales. The account books of ships’ voyages includ material on the outfitting of vessels and the cargoes of goods exported to Africa.”

 The vast majority of these documents are handwritten and have not been transcribed. The metadata describing the documents can be searched, but not the documents themselves. Only individual pages can be downloaded and/or printed.

Primary Sources: Slavery, Abolition, and Social Justice database

Slavery, Abolition, and Social Justice is a searchable database that includes documents and images that have been selected from the collections of various libraries, museums, and archives from the UK, United States, and Canada.

Most materials are in English, but other languages are represented. Similar to the other Adam Matthew Digital resources owned by the Library, this one can be accessed using a basic search, advanced search, or choosing from a list of popular searches. When searching, use the suggested search tips, which will not only help you retrieve more relevant results, but will help you account for variations in spelling and scanning errors that occur when optical character recognition is done on older type styles or documents in poor condition.

The content can also be accessed by browsing through thematic collections, which include:

  • Slavery in the Early Americas 
  • African Coast 
  • Middle Passage 
  • Slavery and Agriculture 
  • Urban and Domestic Slavery 
  • Slave Testimony 
  • Spiritualism and Religion 
  • Resistance and Revolts 
  • Underground Railroad 
  • The Abolition Movement and the Slavery Debate 
  • Legislation and Politics 
  • Freed Slaves, Freedmen and Free Black Settlements 
  • Education 
  • Slavery and the Islamic World 
  • Varieties of Slave Experience 
  • The Legacy of Slavery and Slavery Today 

The court records category includes slavery-related court cases drawn mainly from the states of North Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, and Missouri. Under Advanced Search there is a link to Court Records Advanced Search, allowing more precise searching of that subset of documents.

Supplementary resources include maps, scholarly essays, external resources links, visual resources, and an extensive bibliography.