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Yale and Slavery: 18th Century Sources

Bibliographic list of source materials on Yale and slavery.

18th Century Sources

Research on the 18th century has focused on uncovering the slaveholders connected to Yale College, as well as early funding connected to slavery.  At the heart of this research is a rigorous attempt to understand how Yalies understood the institution of slavery and what life was like for enslaved or free people of color connected to the College.  To date, the research team has identified slaveholding trustees, students, alumni, donors, and staff; traced funding produced by slave labor; shed light on the enslaved and free black men who built Connecticut Hall; and examined the evolution of pro and anti-slavery doctrine by Yale students, alumni, and staff.  

Primary Sources

Thomas Clap, president of Yale College, records (RU 130)

Accession 1935-A-010

Treasurer, Yale University, records (RU 151)

Series V: Investments

Series VI: Construction records

  • Box 445 Folder 7, Connecticut Hall (South Middle College): accounts of receipts and expenditures 1752-1756

Slavery Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection (MS 717)

George Leon Walker and Williston Walker Papers (RG 51)

Colgate Family Papers (MS 144)

Aaron Columbus Burr Papers (MS 116)

Caleb Baldwin Papers (MS 53)

Dutton Family Papers (RG 63)

William Davis Ely Family Papers (MS 944)

"A dialogue concerning slavery of the Africans [electronic resource]: shewing it to be the duty and interest of the American states to emancipate all their African slaves: with an address to the owners of such slaves: dedicated to the Honourable the Continental Congress: to which is prefixed, the institution of the society in New-York, for promoting the manumission of slaves, and protecting such of them as has been, or may be, liberated" by Samuel Hopkins, Yale class of 1741

"The Injustice and Impolicy of the Slave Trade and of the Slavery of the Africans: Illustrated in Sermon on September 15, 1791", by Jonathan Edwards, Yale Class of 1720

"The African Slave Trade: Sermon on September 9, 1790", by James Dana

"An Oration on Domestic Slavery" by Zephaniah Swift (1791)

"Constitution of the Connecticut Society for the Promotion of Freedom" (1792)

"Effects of Slavery on Morals and Industry" by Noah Webster (1793)

Secondary Sources

"The Beginnings of Yale, 1701-1726" by Edwin Oviatt (full-text on Google Books)

"Connecting Lives: Elihu Yale and the British East India Company" by Rajani Sudan (book chapter)

"From Slavery to Emancipation: The African Americans of Connecticut" by Guocun Yang (dissertation)

"Grating the Nutmeg: Slavery and Racism in Connecticut from the Colonial Era to the Civil War" by Robert Forbes (journal article)

"Slavery in Connecticut and Especially in New Haven" by Mary H. Mitchell (Papers of the New Haven Colony Historical Society vol. 10, 1951)

"Demonizing, Dehumanizing, and Whitewashing: Linguistic Examination of The Connecticut Courant's Coverage of Slavery" by Rhoesmary R. Williams (master's thesis)

"All in the Family? The Master-Slave Relationship in Colonial Connecticut" by Alison Freehling (senior essay - used with permission)

"Benjamin Gale" by George C. Groce, Jr. (journal article)

"Jonathan Edwards's Defense of Slavery" by Kenneth Minkema (journal article)

"The Edwardsean Tradition and the Antislavery Debate, 1740-1865" by Kenneth Minkema and Harry S. Stout (journal article)

"Jonathan Edwards on Slavery and the Slave Trade" by Kenneth Minkema (journal article)

"Elihu Yale was a Slave Trader" by Joseph Yannielli (blog post)

"Connecticut Ministers and Slavery, 1790-1795" by James D. Essig (journal article)

"Abolition Without Deliverance: The Law of Connecticut of Slavery, 1784-1848" by David Menschel (journal article)

"Society and Economy in Colonial Connecticut" by Jackson Turner Main (book chapter)

"Slavery in the State of Connecticut" by Bernette Mosley-Dozier (A.M.E. Zion Quarterly Review vol. 55, 1993)

"The Slave in Connecticut During the American Revolution" by Gwendolyn Evans Logan (Connecticut Historical Society Bulletin vol. 30(3) 1965)

"Slave-Holding New England and Its Awakening" by Lorenzo J. Greene (journal article)

"The New Haven Negro College and the Meanings of Race in New England, 1776-1870" by James Brewer Stewart (journal article)