Documents About Enslaved People in Schenectady

Cover Image:
Documents About Enslaved People in Schenectady
Bill of sale dated December 6, 1764 for Sarah, an enslaved Black woman, by John Brown, Schenectady, New York - Image Source

Collection Facts

Dates of Original:

Historical Context

Schenectady County is the smallest county in New York and part of the Capital region. The area was first settled by white colonists in 1667 and had previously been occupied by the Mohawk. It was primarily an agricultural area until the mid-1800s when it developed at a rapid pace because of its location to the Erie Canal and Mohawk River, making it a transportation corridor. The city also grew into a manufacturing territory. Records of the practice of slavery in the area date back to the 1680s and continue until 1827.

Scope of Collection

This collection contains 18th and 19th century materials that document slavery in Schenectady County. The collection is composed of documents that mention enslaved and formerly enslaved people including bills of sale, wills, deeds, and letters. The documents are part of the Grems-Doolittle Library Historic Manuscripts Collection and the Mabee Family Papers. Some materials in this collection may contain offensive language or imagery. In the interests of historical integrity, we are not removing these images or words. Some item descriptions contain language from the original historical document when it provides additional value; language from an historical source is indicated through quotation marks.

Additional Information

Scope and Content Source:

Browse similar collections

NYH Topic Areas:
Collection Type: