From Slavery to Freedom: The African-American Pamphlet Collection, 1822-1909 offers complete page images of the 396 titles in the African American Pamphlet Collection, as well as searchable electronic texts and bibliographic records. The digitization of the collection was made possible by a major gift from the Citigroup Foundation.
The African American Pamphlet Collection was accessioned in 1990-91 from a miscellaneous pamphlet collection in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division. The pamphlets were published from 1824 through 1909. Most were written by African-American authors, though some were written by others on topics of particular importance in African-American history. The pamphlets were published in many formats using a wide variety of papers, typefaces, and printing methods. Many contain more than one gathering (grouping of leaves or sheets) and have color covers with ornamental borders or frames. A small number include illustrations or other graphics, such as bar graphs. The physical size of the pamphlets ranges from 15 to 26 centimeters. The entire collection comprises approximately eleven thousand pages and is housed in thirty-two boxes labeled A-W. Within the boxes, the pamphlets are stored in mylar sleeves labeled with the collection name and the item identification number.
Seventeen of the collection's titles, and many of its authors, can also be found in African American Perspectives: Pamphlets from the Daniel A. P. Murray Collection, 1818-1907. Like the Murray Pamphlet Collection, the African American Pamphlet Collection presents a panoramic and eclectic overview of many aspects of African-American history and culture. The collection includes first-person accounts of slavery, tracts from anti-slavery organizations, legislative and presidential campaign materials, investigative reports, sermons, commencement addresses, organizational proceedings, and previously published materials from newspapers and magazines. Among the noted authors represented are Frederick Douglass, Lydia Maria Child, Alexander Crummell, Kelly Miller, Charles Sumner, Mary Church Terrell, and Booker T. Washington.
The African American Pamphlet Collection was selected for digitization because of the historical significance and rarity of its contents, as well as its complementary value to other American Memory collections, most notably African American Perspectives.
In exploring the contents of From Slavery to Freedom, readers may encounter attitudes and language that are jarring to contemporary sensibilities. It should be noted that these materials express the language, experience, and viewpoints of the era in which they were written.