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Guide to the Records of the New-York Manumission Society
 BV Manumission Society

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 April 09, 2020
Description is in English. using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Scope and Content Note

The New-York Manumission Society records document the organization's sixty-four year history, relating to both its internal operations and public efforts on behalf of free and enslaved blacks of New York State. It is composed of meeting minutes, commission reports, financial records, indentures, registers, and communications.

The largest portion of the collection is composed of the minutes of the quarterly meetings. These encompass committee appointments, reports from various committees, election results for officers, reports and decisions concerning the Society's sponsorship and operation of the African Free-School and houses of refuge for the benefit of New York's African American population. They also discuss efforts to enact legal reforms aimed at abolishing the slave trade in New York and preventing the exportation of slaves, reports on individual cases of slaves in need of assistance in negotiating their freedom, and the protection of manumitted slaves.

Material relating to the day-to-day operation of the Society includes minutes of the Ways and Means Committee and the treasurer's account book. These cover issues such as collection of dues, expenses, income and payments, including rent for the African Free-School. Other material includes records and reports of various committees, such as the minutes of the Standing Committee, which discusses cases entered into on behalf of the Society, and one formed for obtaining land for the African Free-School. There are also a small number of circulars and communications to other organizations and miscellaneous minutes and reports. Among these are papers pertaining to the American Convention for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery.

Relating to its more public work, the collection has documentation of slaves manumitted in New York City as well as those whose service was commuted to indenture. Although these predominantly relate to slaves held in New York State, some are for slaves in other states.


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