The Clements Library website includes events, exhibits, subject guides, newsletter issues, library staff, and more.

Home » About » Blog » Underground Railroad Documentation and Other Valuable Resources: More Digitized Manuscripts Collections from the William L. Clements Library

The Clements Library is pleased to announce that an additional five manuscript collections are digitized and freely accessible online. The digital versions are complete and presented in a manner that reflects the collections’ physical/intellectual arrangements. This selection includes one example from the Library’s Civil War collections and an unpublished English-Odawa dictionary (in the Fort Wayne Indian Agency Collection). We would like to express our appreciation for the University of Michigan’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) initiative, which partly funded the digitization of the African American History Collection, Rochester Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society Papers, and Lydia Maria Child Papers.

The Clements Library would like to recognize the many people involved in the manuscripts digitization process and metadata creation. They include, but are not limited to Kelly Powers, Chris Powell and U-M’s Digital Content and Collections (DCC), and DEI-funded interns Allie Scholten and Amelia Fuller.

Title page of the digitized version of the Rochester Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society Papers.

Digitized Manuscripts Collections:

African American History Collection, 1729-1966 (bulk 1781-1865), comprised of 252 individual letters, documents, and other manuscript items relating to slavery, abolition movements, and various aspects of African American life, largely dating between 1781 and 1865. Digital collection located at: NOTE: This collection contains only individual items that are not a part of larger bodies of papers. Please also search the Clements Library’s finding aids and catalog records for an abundance of additional papers, books, maps, and visual materials pertinent to African American history.

Lydia Maria Child Papers, 1831-1894, consisting of ninety mostly personal and at times provocative letters. The bulk is letters from Lydia Maria Child to her wealthy Boston abolitionist and philanthropic friends, the Lorings, between 1839 and 1859. They concentrate on the period of Child’s distress with the institutional politics of antislavery, her editorship of the National Anti-Slavery Standard, her growing attachment to New York Bohemia, and the publication of “Letters from New York.” The correspondence documents her day to day finances, friends, and family. Digital collection located at:

Fort Wayne Indian Agency Collection, 1801-1815, consisting of a letterbook kept by Indian agents John Johnston and Benjamin Franklin Stickney; an English-Odawa dictionary, likely written by Stickney; and a memorandum book kept by Johnston during his time at Fort Wayne, Indiana Territory. Digital collection located at:

Henry James Family Correspondence, 1855-1865 (bulk 1859-1865), made up primarily of incoming correspondence to husband and wife Gilbert and Adeline James of Cherry Creek, New York. Their most prolific correspondent was Gilbert’s brother Henry James, who sent 18 letters, most written while serving in Company C of the 7th Michigan Cavalry during the Civil War. Henry James wrote to his family about life at Maple Grove, near Saginaw, Michigan; camp life during training at Camp Kellogg, Grand Rapids; experiences fighting at Gettysburg and elsewhere in Pennsylvania; and his posting at Camp Stoneman, Washington, D.C. Digital collection located at:

Rochester Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society Papers, 1848-1868, consisting of materials collected by the society, including correspondence to and from various members about slavery, fugitive slaves and Underground Railroad activity, the conditions of freemen, and other progressive issues; printed annual reports; and other items. Among the significant correspondents in this collection are Frederick Douglass, Julia A. Wilbur, and Julia Griffiths Crofts. Digital collection located at:

Cheney J. Schopieray
Curator of Manuscripts