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Guide to the New-York African Free-School Records
  MS 747

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-3400

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Ted O'Reilly

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on September 06, 2019
Description is in English. using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Scope and Contents

These records cover the latter portion of the African Free-Schools' existence, ending two years before oversight for the schools was transferred to the Public School Society. They relate to classroom observation, student performance, behavior and promotions, as well as examples of lessons and student work.

The records comprise four volumes. The first includes regulations, by-laws, and reports, from 1817 to 1832. The regulations are for the formate of the school's examination procedures, while the reports give numbers of students promoted for each quarter. These are limited to school No. 1. A substantive portion of the volume is also made up of observations of the visting committee, giving their impressions of the progress being made, along with the behavior and organization of the classroom and students.

The second volume is also filled with reports and observations of the visiting committee, but these are limited to school No. 2, and cover 1820 to 1831. Added to the closing pages of the volume are several pages of lessons on adding, subtracting and division of money, with examples.

The third volume includes extracts, compositions, addresses and pieces spoken at public examinations for 1818 to 1826, but early pages do include some material on promotions.

The fourth volume compliments the third with penmanship and drawing studies by the students (1816-1826). Of particular interest are copies of the speech given by James McCune Smith on the occasion of the Marquis de La Fayette's visit to New York in 1824.

While there is little, if any, information on individuals in the first two volumes, attributions are often given for the material appearing in volumes three and four.


The physical records are bound and arranged by type of documentation. The microfilm is arranged by volume number.