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Wade Hall Collection on Slavery in the United States

Identifier: MSS-4250

Scope and Contents

The Wade Hall Collection on Slavery in the United States contains receipts, last wills and testaments, correspondence, court depositions, and other materials gathered by author and professor Wade Hall (1934-2015) that document the presence of enslaved African Americans in the US South. The collection includes a pass allowing a man to visit his wife; a published narrative written by an enslaved person who escaped captivity, Thomas Jones; a letter of emancipation; newspaper clippings about locations related to slavery in Richmond, Virginia; and a copy of Negro Slave Revolts in the United States, 1526-1860 (1939), by Herbert Aptheker; as well as four pages of color illustrations for a German version of anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. The materials often mention the first names, ages, or other details about enslaved individuals.

More description can be found in the file-level notes for each folder.


  • 1796-2005

Language of Materials

Materials are in English. One item is in German.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Due to the nature of certain archival formats, including digital and audio-visual materials, access to certain materials may require additional advance notice.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers are responsible for using the materials in conformance with United States copyright law as well as any donor restrictions accompanying the materials. The user assumes all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any copyright claimants in collection materials. Copyright for official University records is held by The University of Alabama. The library claims only physical ownership of many manuscript collections. Anyone wishing to broadcast or publish this material must assume all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants of literary property rights or copyrights. Please contact Special Collections ( with questions regarding specific manuscript collections. For more information about copyright policy, please visit: Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals without the consent of those individuals may have legal implications, for which the University of Alabama assumes no responsibility.

Biographical Note

A Union Springs, Alabama, native, Wade Henry Hall was the first in his family to graduate from high school. He continued his education by earning a BS from Troy University, a MA from The University of Alabama, and a PhD from the University of Illinois. He went on to become a distinguished college professor and one of Alabama’s most widely published and versatile authors. He wrote numerous works relating to Kentucky, Alabama, and Southern history, including The Kentucky Anthology: 200 Years of Writing in the Bluegrass State, One Man’s Lincoln, and Conecuh People: Words of Life from the Alabama Black Belt.

Hall taught English and served as chair of the English and Humanities programs at Kentucky Southern College (1962-1969) and Bellarmine University (1969-1996) in Louisville, Kentucky, for almost forty years. He retired in 1996 and returned to Union Springs, Alabama, in 2006.

Hall was an avid collector, focusing primarily on items related to Southern history and culture. His interests were wide-ranging and included books, music, manuscripts, photographs, and quilts. He donated significant portions of his collections to the universities of Alabama, Troy, and Kentucky as well as to art museums in Birmingham and Mobile, Alabama, and Columbus, Georgia. The manuscripts collection here gathers together letters, journals, and other papers from the middle of the nineteenth through the whole of the twentieth century and allows researchers to see the world through the lives of everyday Americans, demonstrating the value of ordinary people’s perspectives to researchers interested in American history, literature, and culture.

Hall died on September 26, 2015, aged 81, after a long illness.


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The Wade Hall Collection on Slavery in the United States contains receipts, correspondence, and other materials that document the presence of enslaved African Americans in the US South.


This collection is made up of thirty-one individual collections previously donated by Wade Hall that have been combined to create the Wade Hall Collection on Slavery in the United States. These smaller collections were originally processed by Special Collections staff between 2005-2015.

The materials in this collection are arranged in chronological order, with undated items at the end of the folder list.

Custodial History

Donor Wade Hall acquired the materials in this collection from a variety of sources, including estate sales and private individuals. Many of the items bear notations in pencil that list locations, prices, and subject categories, and were identified in these notes as materials pertaining to slavery.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Wade Hall, 2004, 2005, and 2008.

Related Materials

For a list of nineteenth-century published works about slavery in The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections, see "Researching the Public Conversation about Slavery," at

The list includes the following works in the Hoole Library Wade Hall Book Collection:

Can abolitionists vote or take office under the United States Constitution?, by Wendell Phillips. New York: American Anti-Slavery Society, 1845.

Bourne, George. A Condensed Anti-Slavery Bible Argument; By a Citizen of Virginia. New York: S. W. Benedict, 1845.

Cox, Samuel Sullivan. Union-Disunion-Reunion: Three Decades of Federal Legislation, 1855 to 1885: Personal and Historical Memories of Events Preceding, During and Since the American Civil War, Involving Slavery and Secession, Emancipation and Reconstruction, with Sketches of Prominent Actors During These Periods. Providence, R.I., J.A. and R. A. Reid, 1885.

Blake, William O. The History of Slavery and the Slave Trade, Ancient and Modern. The Forms of Slavery that Prevailed in Ancient Nations, Particularly in Greece and Rome. The African Slave Trade and the Political History of Slavery in the United States. Columbus, Ohio: J. and H. Miller, 1857.

Priest, Josiah. Slavery, As It Relates to the Negro, or African Race: Examined in the Light of Circumstances, History and the Holy Scriptures, with an Account of the Origin of the Black Man’s Color, Causes of His State of Servitude and Traces of His Character As Well in ancient As in Modern Times, with Strictures on Abolitionism. Albany, N.Y.: C. Van Benthuysen, 1843.

Sawyer, George S. Southern Institutes; or, An Inquiry into the Origin and Early Prevalence of Slavery and the Slave-trade: With an Analysis of the Laws, History, and Government of the Institution in the Principal Nations, Ancient and Modern, from the Earliest Ages Down to the Present Time. Philadelphia, J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1858.

Processing Information

Processed by Erin Ryan, February 2019.


Guide to the Wade Hall Collection on Slavery in the United States
Erin Ryan; updated by Jessica Rayman, 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266