Pennsylvania Abolition Society Papers
Founded in 1775 at the Rising Sun Tavern in Philadelphia, Society for the “Relief for Free Negroes unlawfully held in Bondage,” the Pennsylvania Abolition Society (PAS) reorganized itself in the 1780s to include a third mission: “improving the Condition of the African Race.” For the founders, this primarily meant offering jobs and education to black youth, whether escaped slaves from the South or native Philadelphians. In order to further this part of its mission, in 1790 the PAS appointed 24 members to a Committee for Improving the Condition of the Free Blacks, which was subdivided into a Committee of Inspection, a Committee of Guardians, a Committee of Education, and a Committee of Employ. The PAS Papers contain the records of the Society general meeting and various committees, financial papers, minutes, and legal papers related to cases taken on by the PAS, papers related to the documentation and education of the free black community, and the records of numerous anti-slavery societies.
The bulk of the PAS Papers digitized to date represent materials related to the assistance of fugitive slaves and the free black community from the 1780s to the 1850s.
Manumissions, Indentures, and other Legal Papers (AMS 051, Box 1/ microfilm series IV reel 20)
Documents concerning court cases in which slaves were awarded freedom (AMS 051, box 4A/ microfilm reel 24)
Actions involving the illegal enslavement of free blacks, 1787-1830 (AMS 051, box 4A/ microfilm reel 24)
Actions involving fugitive slaves, 1786-1810 (AMS 051, box 4A/ microfilm reel 24)
Habeas Corpus Actions, 1785-1810 (AMS 051, box 4A/ microfilm reel 24)
Miscellaneous Cases Considered by the Acting Committee (AMS 051, Box 4B/ microfilmreel 24)
PAS Board of Education (Box 6A Misc./Reel 26; Box 7/microfilm reel 27)
Journal C of Station No. 2 of the Underground Railroad, Agent William Still, 1852-1857 (AMS 232 Box 12/microfilm reel 32)
Vigilance Committee of Philadelphia, Accounts 1854-1857 (AMS 232 Box 12/microfilm reel 32)