Runaway Slave Advertisements

Source Report:
Runaway Slave Advertisements: a Documentary History from the 1730s to 1790

What is it?
Runaway Slave Advertisements is a four volume collection containing thousands of runaway slave advertisements published in weekly newspapers in the Southern states of Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, South Carolina and Georgia.

When was it made? By Whom? Why?
The four volume collection was compiled by Lathan Windley and printed in 1983 by Greenwood Press. Runaway slaves in the South were symbols of the social discontent with the slave economy. The compilation in Runaway Slave Advertisements builds upon this idea and intends itself to be a resource of unbiased nature into slave thought in the South.

Who Appears in it?
Included in the four volumes of slave advertisements are a wide range of black men, women and children. The advertisements all appeared in weekly newspaper publications in the Southern states of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia. The fugitive slave advertisements are organized by colony, followed by newspaper and the date the advertisement was published.

How is it organized?
Each volume holds advertisements for one or two states.

Vol. 1 Virginia and North Carolina
Vol. 2 Maryland
Vol. 3 South Carolina
Vol. 4 Georgia

Some of the newspaper include: Virginia Gazette, Virginia Independent, North Carolina Gazette, State Gazette of North Carolina, Maryland Gazette, Maryland Journal and Baltimore Advertiser, South-Carolina Gazette, American General Gazette, Country Journal, Georgia Gazette, Royal Georgia Gazette, and Gazette of the State of Georgia

How do you use it? Does it have finding aids or supplemental material?
Each volume has an appendix. If the volume is a dual state edition, there is an appendix following each state.

How do you get access to it? Where is it physically located, and what strictures are placed on access?
All four volumes can be found on the second floor of H&L Library. There are no strictures on any of the four volumes at the moment.

What kinds of questions can it answer?
These documents provide an objective look into fugitive slave patterns: Who were they? (gender, age, etc.) Where were they from? Were fugitive slaves more common in some areas? It offers information which may be useful for a variety of reason, such as someone looking for primary sources material regarding social or economic history of the South. Also, the volumes are completely free of analysis, allowing the reader to interpret them as they will.

Additional Resources:
ICPSR Descriptors and Measurements of the Height of Runaway Slaves and Indentured Servants in the United States, 1700-1850.
URL location is or through Bowdoin Library web site.
Using colonial periodicals, a list data regarding slaves and indentured servants has been compiled, which includes age, sex, place of birth and height. Height data is the most significant element in this resource.