The Library Company of Philadelphia is an independent research library concentrating on American society and culture from the 17th through the 19th centuries. One of its strengths is its African Americana Collections including books, pamphlets, newspapers, periodicals, broadsides, and graphics documenting the western discovery and exploitation of Africa, the rise of slavery in the new world along with the rise of movements against slavery, the development of racial thought and racism, descriptions of African American life, slave and free, throughout the Americas, slavery and race in fiction and drama, and the printed works of African American individuals and organizations. The collection ranges in date from the mid 16th century into the early years of the 20th century. It is located at 1314 Locust Street, and is free and open to the public. Hours: 9:00 am - 4:45 pm Monday-Friday.
Philadelphia has many historical libraries, many of them founded in the 18th and early 19th centuries, and they have extensive collections documenting life in the Americas. The two libraries most likely to be useful for this course are:
Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1300 Locust Street (next to the Library Company). Extensive holdings of manuscripts, books, pamphlets and newspapers on the Philadelphia region and US history. Hours: Limited, see website. Website: http://hsp.org/
American Philosophical Society, 105 South 5th Street (across from Independence Hall). Started by Benjamin Franklin, it has strong 18th century collections, including Franklin's papers. Hours: 9:00 am - 4:30 pm Monday-Friday. Website: https://www.amphilsoc.org/
For a listing of other major historical research libraries in the region, see the website for the Philadelphia Area Consortium for Special Collections Libraries: http://pacscl.org/
Bryn Mawr has an extensive collection of works on Africa and the Americas from the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries, including memoirs, travel accounts, and descriptions of colonies and colonial practices. Overviews of our holdings and guides to particular collections can be found on the Special Collections web site.
The book collections are included in Tripod. It is possible to limit your search to just the Special Collections holdings by choosing “Bryn Mawr Special Collections” from the Tripod menu box that normally reads “View Entire Collection.”
Hours: 9:00 am – 4:30 pm Monday – Friday, open until 8:00 pm on Wednesdays. An appointment is a good idea for your initial visit to talk about resources for your project.
Haverford and Swarthmore are the two leading libraries for studying the history of Quakerism, and the close connection between Quakers and the anti-slavery movement in the 18th and 19th centuries. Both libraries have extensive holdings of family papers and correspondence, organizational records, pamphlets, and newspapers documenting both anti-slavery activities and the lives of Africans in the Americas.
Haverford College Quaker and Special Collections is in Magill Library. Hours: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, Monday-Friday.
Swarthmore College Friends Historical Library is in McCabe Library. Hours: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm, Monday-Friday, 10:00 am - 1:00 pm Saturday.