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New York - Researching: Slavery in New York

Provides an overview of resources for researching New York City and the State of New York.

Slavery in New York State

This page covers options for researching slavery in New York state including:

  If you need help locating specific sources, ask on the the librarians assigned to th New York - Researching guide for assistance.

open access icon  Resources marked with this open lock are open access. This means the items are free for anyone to use regardless of affiliation to Fordham.

Print & Electronic Books

decorative  Fordham has both secondary sources on this topic as well as primary sources in book format. If you have any questions about searching the library catalog, try the tutorial on the Finding Books page or chat live with a librarian through Ask a Librarian.

decorative  Searching the catalog by subject will allow you to browse some books on this topic. Copy and paste the Library of Congress Subject Headings below to search the catalog by subject:

LCSH search example in the catalog

  • Antislavery movements--New York (State)--History
  • New York (N.Y.)--History--Conspiracy of 1741
  • New York (N.Y.)--History--1775-1865
  • New York (State)--History--Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775--Sources
  • Slavery--New York (State)--History--17th century

Researching Laws

  Find as much background information as you can before trying to find the original text of a law. Helpful information includes:

  • The year the law was passed
  • The chapter number if available
  • The jurisdiction (city government or state government)
  • The popular name (i.e. Montgomerie's Act) or official language (i.e. "An Act for the more effectual preventing and punishing the conspiracy and insurrection...")
  • The book below names many primary sources, particularly laws, that can be researched in other places:

  Once background information is gathered, try searching in the resources on the Government & Historical Documents page (includes Dutch & Colonial records) as well as:

Census Resources

Open Access Digital Collections

Black Loyalists & The American Revolutionary War

African Burial Ground in New York City

Historical Primary Source Databases

Narratives & Memoirs by the Enslaved

Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth drawing via the 1878 edition of Narrative of Sojourner Truth 

Public History Projects

Reference & Instruction Department

Reference & Instruction Department
Fordham University Libraries


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