The collection includes three volumes, correspondence, and documents, 1768-1803, related to English abolitionist and reformer Granville Sharp. The first volume contains copies of letters and related documents, 1768-1773, sent to Granville Sharp, transcribed in his own handwriting and concerning such matters as slavery, the slave trade, its evils, legal and social aspects, etc. It includes letters from Joseph Banks, Anthony Benezet, William Blackstone, Jacob Bryant, John Fothergill, Francis Hargrave, Arthur Lee, Michael Lort, and Benjamin Rush. The second volume contains Granville Sharp's copy of proceedings in the Court of King's Bench, London, February and June, 1771, in the case of Thomas Lewis, a black man, against his alleged owner, Robert Stapylton, along with John Maloney and Aaron Armstrong, for assault and imprisonment. Proceedings include trancripts of testimony given by Lewis and others. Also included are tipped in copies of Granville Sharp's remarks on the case and transcripts of the 1st and 2nd motions for judgement against Stapylton. The third volume consists of Granville Sharp's copy of part of the court proceedings in the 1772 case of James Sommersett, a slave from Virginia belonging to Charles Stewart. The case was heard in the Court of King's Bench, London, before Lord Chief Justice Mansfield and three other Justices. Granville Sharp involved himself in the case, and it was the subsequent decision of the court that a slave became free upon entering England. The volume contains the arguments for Sommersett of William Davy and John Glynn, and ends with Mansfield adjourning the proceedings to the following term. In addition, the collection includes miscellaneous documents and letters, 1772-1774 and 1784-1803, including extracts from letters of Anthony Benezet, and letters written by Granville Sharp to correspondents such as Benjamin Franklin, Campbell Haliburton, Rufus King, Joseph Reed, William White, and John Witherspoon.
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 are in four volumes. The first includes regulations, by-laws, and reports, from 1817 to 1832. The regulations are for the format 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 substantial 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 complements 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.
New-York Society for Promoting the Manumission of Slaves (1785-1849), commonly known as the New-York Manumission Society, was established to publicly promote the abolition of slavery and manumission of slaves in New York State. The society provided legal and financial assistance to manumitted slaves in need of protection, slaves seeking manumission and supported legislation and efforts to enforce laws banning the sale of slaves in New York State. The records include meeting minutes, commission reports, financial records, indentures, and registers from the year of its organization to its dissolution in 1849. Subjects covered include appointments, elections, political activities, finances, reports on individual cases, the sponsorship and operation of the African Free School and African American houses of refuge. Among its active members were: Robert C. Cornell, W. W. Woolsey, Nehemiah Allen, Melancton Smith, William T. Slocum, Samuel Bowne, Adrian Hegeman, Willet Seaman, Thomas Burling, John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, James Duane, John Murray, Jr., William Dunlap, Alexander McDougall, Noah Webster, and Egbert Benson.