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Slavery in Early Vermont: Evidence from the Archives

Special Collections Exhibit April 1-June 30, 2014

Although Article 1 of the Vermont Constitution of 1777 proclaimed that “no male person, born in this country, or brought from over sea, ought to be holden by law, to serve any person, as a servant, slave or apprentice, after he arrives to the age of twenty-one years, nor female, in like manner, after she arrives to the age of eighteen years,” historical evidence indicates that men, women and children were nonetheless held as property for decades after the Constitution was written.

Evidence of slavery in Vermont can be found in bills of sale, account books, newspaper advertisements, census records, government records, and town histories preserved in Vermont libraries and archives. This exhibit includes items from UVM Special Collections that confirm the persistence of slavery in the state during the late eighteenth century.

bill_600

“Sold to Col. John Barrett a Negro Girl Named Rose”

 

 

Free and open to the public. For more information, emailĀ uvmsc@uvm.edu or call 656-2138.

 

 

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