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HIST 043: Antislavery in America (SC): Tripod & Primary Sources

History 043: Antislavery in America - Bruce Dorsey - Spring 2015

Intro to TriCo Special Collections & Research Libraries

You are welcome to visit the Special Collections departments and research libraries (like the Friends Historical Library and Peace Collection) in the TriCo. The curators, archivists, and librarians are happy to work with TriCo students, so don't hesitate to contact them.

Special Collections usually have different hours from the main buildings. Visit the individual collection/library website linked below to confirm hours before planning your visit.

How to use Tripod to browse for primary sources

Before visiting the Friends Historical Library or a Special Collections department at another library, it's a good idea to have identified at least an item or two that you'd like to look at.  The curator, archivist, or reference librarian may also have additional suggestions.

Here is a link to a very broad Tripod search for materials (e.g. books, pamphlets, journals) related to antislavery. Note that not all of these search results are primary sources!

Tips for narrowing your Tripod results:

Tripod includes tools that can help you identify primary sources of interest. Here are a few of the most useful options available for narrowing down your search results to something manageable:

Author/Creator   Particuarly helpful if you're interested in the writings of a prominent abolitionist, and also for seeing which individuals are heavily represented in the TriCo collections.

Year of Publication   For example, setting the "To" field to 1861 reduces the number of results from 14,000+ to around 3,500. However, this limit can artifically exclude materials that were written before 1861, but not published until after 1861.

Subject   This limit can be useful if there is a particular aspect of the topic for which you'd like to find interesting sources. Note that these subject headings are not comprehensive, so don't rely solely on them.

Genre   The genre limit pertains to the type of source, for example juvenile literature or correspondence (letters). Read this for descriptions of more genres that can serve as primary sources.


Here are a few Tripod searches for antislavery materials with multiple filters applied, to offer examples of how this can work:

Antislavery materials (books, pamphlets, etc.) that you can view either online or in Swarthmore's Friends Historical Library, Peace Collection, and Rare Book Room

Letters, public speeches, and other works on antislavery authored by William Lloyd Garrison, in Swarthmore's Friends Historical Library and Peace Collection

Archives and manuscripts on antislavery that you can view in Swarthmore's Friends Historical Library or online.

Physical (print/paper) materials on antislavery that you can view in Swarthmore's Friends Historical Library

Antislavery materials created or published before 1861 (see caveat above under "Year of Publication")