Manuscript Archival Collections
Henry P. Slaughter Collection
1713-1964 (bulk dates 1792-1959)
24.5 linear feet
Henry Procter Slaughter (b. 1871 d. 1958) was a typographer and journalist by occupation but is best known as a bibliophile and collector, an avocation to which he devoted most of his adult life and a considerable amount of his income. He was a contemporary of a cadre of Black bibliophiles including Arthur Schomburg, John Bruce, Charles Douglass Martin, Daniel Alexander Murray, and John Cromwell. Leaders in the American Negro Academy, during a 1915 meeting they established the Negro Book Collectors Exchange, of which Slaughter became president. Slaughter's collection was highly regarded as one of the best and largest libraries of materials by and about Black people. Upon recommendations from the staff of the Library of Congress and Howard University, Slaughter would permit researchers to visit his home to use his collection. The collection numbered over 10,000 volumes and filled three floors and the basement of his townhouse in Washington, D.C. Concerned for the safety and preservation of his collection, Slaughter sold the collection to Atlanta University in 1946. The books from the Slaughter collection are cataloged among the holdings in Archives and Special Collections.
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The Henry P. Slaughter Collection described here consist of historical documents such as sermons, speeches, reports, correspondence, autographs, poetry, legal papers, pamphlets, certificates, scrapbooks, photographs, political cartoons, broadsides, and sheet music. Most of the pamphlets and legal papers pertain to slavery, the abolition of slavery, the Civil War, and racial issues in the United States, African countries, and British colonies. A significant number of the photographs, though unidentified, provide wonderful images of portraiture, fashion and style from the late nineteenth century through the mid-twentieth century. Among the many persons documented in the collection are Harry T. Burleigh, Paul Cuffe, Henri Christophe, Oscar De Priest, Frederick Douglass, Alexandre Dumas, Angelina Grimke, J. Rosamond Johnson, Toussaint L'Ouverture, Arthur Schomburg, Charles Sumner, William Still and Booker T. Washington. Of interest are files on Masonic organizations that include membership applications for the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows dating 1904-1907. In addition there are a few folders of Slaughter's personal papers such as letters, news clippings, memorabilia and some dealers catalogs that provide insight into his book collecting.
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