Skip to main content

Get Started


  • Share


Even as the U.S. was in the midst of declaring its independence in 1775, a society was born in Philadelphia dedicated to emancipating America's black slaves. The Pennsylvania Abolition Society originated with the early anti-slavery activities of Philadelphia Quakers, and its continuing efforts toward the cause of equal education and employment for blacks makes it the oldest such organization still in existence.

The microfilm collection of the Society's papers charts the founding and the activities of this organization and contains primary sources central to a study of the American abolition movement both pre- and post-Civil War. Students conducting research in black studies, American history, abolition movements, religious history, and the history of American education will find correspondence, minutes, reports, financial papers, manumissions, indentures, and other legal papers, as well as printed materials in these documents.

Among the many topics to be examined in-depth are:


  • The Society's Early Years: Philadelphia Quakers' anti-slavery activities and their withdrawal from the Society; the Society's reestablishment with such influential members as Tench Coxe, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, and Thomas Paine
  • The Society's Shifting Directions: early activities centering around manumission and anti-slavery petitions during the Civil War; later emphasis on education and employment of emancipated blacks; founding of a school for free blacks in Philadelphia; and support to black educational institutions such as Howard University
  • The Society in the 20th Century: its involvement in the civil rights movement; advancement of a black cultural and historical museum in Philadelphia; its advocacy of black history studies in Philadelphia's public schools

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania filmed this collection from the original documents in its possession. It represents a landmark collection for time-specific research as well as for comparative period studies relating to the abolition movement in America.

Support & Training

ProQuest offers best-in-class customer service, technical support, and training so you can hit the ground running with your ProQuest products and leverage everything they can do.

Access Support Center

Related Products


A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century

Eight-volume English edition reprinted in two volumes; two very scarce volumes of the German edition, which were not translated into English, reprinted in a separately available third volume.

Learn More


A Concordance to the Poems of Dylan Thomas

Romantic. Affirmative. Rhetorical. The poetry of Dylan Thomas urged readers to ponder life as they never had before. Researchers now have access to a concordance and word list keyed to the 1978 printing of Dylan Thomas: The Poems, edited by Daniel Jones.

Learn More


A People at War

Letters, diaries, memoirs, and other personal papers from the Civil War holdings of the Library of Congress. Edited by John R. Sellers.

Learn More


From FOMO to AI: Roger Valade on the Rewards and Risks of Artificial Intelligence

At age 12, the ProQuest CTO set out to read every book in existence. Today, he discusses the benefits and liabilities of technology that can help people achieve such lofty goals.

Learn More

New Study: What Librarians are Saying About Varied Content

According to academic librarians, more researchers rely on a variety of content types to support their work.

Learn More