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Overview

Slavery in Ante-Bellum Southern Industries presents a wealth of primary material on the issues surrounding industrial uses of slave labor. The materials selected include company records; business and personal correspondence of industrialists, their managers, financiers, and customers; documents pertaining to the purchase, hire, medical care, and provisioning of slave laborers; descriptions of actual production processes; journals recounting costs and income; and more. In Series A, researchers can trace the role of prominent figures in the political and economic life of antebellum America. These include George Washington, an original stockholder in The Dismal Swamp Land Company (a timber and shingle-making firm in southeastern Virginia); and prominent Boston and New York business leaders Aspinwall, Delano, Dow, and Peabody. The business correspondence between the head of Tredegar Iron Works and its principal suppliers_among them Etna Furnace, Glenwood Furnace, and Cloverdale Furnace_is of special significance. Tredegar, located in Richmond, was probably the single largest industrial firm in the antebellum South. Of particular interest to researchers are descriptions of the financial backers of antebellum southern industries, including local investors, northern capitalists, and European speculators. Local, national, and overseas markets are examined, as are strategies developed to expand those markets. Managers_ correspondence and advertisements by inventors and machine tool firms reveal the impact of technological change on antebellum industries. The collection includes the following: Dismal Swamp Land Company Records; Joseph Belknap Smith Papers; William Weaver Papers; Richard and James Grist Paper; Jerimiah T. Jones Papers; Francis Thomas Anderson Papers; Mary G. Franklin Account Books; Tillinghast Family Task Book.

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