Photographs and Prints Collection

Looking for photo and print collections pertaining to the slave trade, slavery, and abolition? The Photographs and Prints Division of the Schomburg Center offers over 300,000 images which document the history and culture of people of African descent worldwide ranging from mid-eighteenth century graphics to contemporary documentary and art photography.

The following list is an overview of the images in the collection that pertain to slavery, the slave trade, and abolition.

Abolitionists Portraits of abolitionists

Anti-Slavery Movement Artwork, depictions of incidents and views of anti-slavery meetings; Publications and broadsides

Art Reproductions of artwork depicting slavery

Artifacts Views of slave tags, a lock and key, and anti-slavery movements medallions and pins

Auctions and sales Views of slave auctions, slave pens and slaves being taken to auction; Advertisements, broadsides, bills of sale and sales receipts; Advertisements and broadsides

Cartoons 19th century political cartoons supporting and opposing slavery

Emancipation Views of celebrations and freed slaves, and documents, paintings and political cartoons relating to Emancipation

Freeman Cover from the minutes and proceedings of the First Annual Convention of the People of Color, Philadelphia, 1831

Fugitive slaves Views of fugitive slaves and portraits of former fugitive slaves; Broadsides and notices regarding fugitive slaves

Housing Exterior views of slave dwellings

Indentures, insurance policies and inventories of slaves

Labor – Cotton industry Views of slaves gathering and cleaning cotton; Views of cotton mills and cotton being transported

Labor – Domestic Views of domestic workers

Labor – Miscellaneous Views of field workers, miners, drivers, factory laborers, blacksmiths, and dock workers, among others

Labor – Sugar industry Views of field workers and sugar mill workers

Labor – Tobacco industry Views of tobacco workers

Law and legislation Broadsides and publications

Life and customs Views of families, social gatherings and general slave life

Literature Front covers and title pages of books and pamphlets

pertaining to the subject of slavery

Middle Passage Views of African slaves on ships, and diagrams and individual ships

Plantations Exterior views of plantation houses, and views of slaves, mainly at work in the slave quarters

Poetry and music Broadsides, covers of publications and one piece of sheet music

Punishment, torture and branding Views of slaves being branded or punished by flogging; individual victims of flogging; and restraining devices

Rebellions Views of rebellions and an article referring to a rebellion

Ships Views of 19th century sailing vessels, mostly slave ships

Slave census Maps showing distribution of slaves in the Southern States of the United States, 1860

Slave trade – Africa Views of captured Africans being taken to slave markets; abandoned captives left to die; slave traders; and slave markets and trading posts

Slave trade – Caribbean and South America Views of black slaves being brought to and sold in the Caribbean and South America

Slave trade – Non-African Views of enslavement of non-African people

Slaves – Portraits Individual and groups portraits of slaves and former slaves, and a depiction of Margaret Gardner

Underground Railroad Portraits of escaped slaves; views of escaping slaves using the Underground Railroad; exterior views of structures used as safe houses; views a broadside and some correspondence; Original book plates depicting portraits of supporters of the Underground Railroad; views of safe houses; and view of ports and river passages


To view some of these images please see the Digital Collections or visit The Photographs and Prints Division.

Tuesdays and Wednesday 12PM – 6PM and Thursdays – Saturdays 10AM – 6PM