Slavery Special Collection

slavery bookcaseThe Slavery Collection forms part of the Local Studies Library, and covers the history of slavery and its abolition from 1492 until 1888, when slavery was finally abolished in Brazil, the last country in the Western world to do so.

Topics covered by the collection which numbers over 1100 books include: general history of slavery and the slave trade, anti-slavery movements, abolition of slavery, including works on the anti-slave trade campaigner William Wilberforce, colonial slavery, life on the plantations, autobiography, poetry and travel journals, amongst many others.

There are also many volumes regarding these topics in relation to specific countries and places (e.g. Barbados, Brazil, Mauritius, South Africa, the West Indies, United States, etc.).

What types of materials are held in the slavery collection?
The collection mainly consists of books, many of which can be browsed in the library area and borrowed with a Hull City Libraries ticket. If you don’t already have one please bring some proof of name and address (e.g. a current Council Tax or utility bill or a driving licence) and we can issue you with a library ticket. However, there are some reference materials that can only be viewed in the searchroom. To use the searchroom you will need a CARN ticket.

Included amongst the reference materials are many individual publications, as well as series of volumes such as:

  • The American Slave: A composite Autobiography (Reference L(SLA).326.92)
  • Complete works of Charles Sumner, volumes 1-20 (Reference L(SLA).326.921 SUM)
  • Irish University Press series of British Parliamentary Papers on the slave trade, volumes 1-95 (Reference L(SLA).326.8)

All of the books held in the slavery collection are available to search on the Hull City Libraries online catalogue.

Slavery Microfilm Collection
As part of the slavery collection we also hold 79 microfilms containing copies of records relating to slavery held elsewhere. They are available to search on the History Centre online catalogue at reference L SLA. The series of records within this collection include:

  • The Rhodes House Library Anti-Slavery Collection: consists of correspondence, account books, minutes, attendance registers, and papers from the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, the Aborigines' Protection Society, and the Mico Charity 
  • The papers of Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton: politician, philanthropist and slave trade abolitionist, the collection consists of volumes 33-46
  • The papers of John B. and Mary Estlin: includes a minute book of the Bristol and Clifton Auxiliary Ladies Anti-Slavery Society, 1840-60; letters, 1844-81, mostly written to Mary Estlin and letters that she wrote from America in 1868; pamphlets and reports, including anti-slavery pamphlets, Civil War pamphlets, and memoirs of abolitionists
  • Reports from the Select Committee on the West Coast of Africa: consists of volumes 7 and 8
  • Publications relating to William Wilberforce: also includes William Wilberforce’s journal

To consult these records we recommend that you phone us (01482 317500) prior to your visit to reserve one of our microfilm readers, which are available in the library area. You will also need a CARN ticket in order to retrieve the slavery microfilms from the Searchroom.

Researchers may also wish to visit other local research sites, such as WISE (Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation) or Wilberforce House Museum