New Civil War and Slavery Database ‘A Treasure Trove’

The John D. Williams Library has access to two new databases on the history of slavery and the Civil War, collections described as a “treasure trove of rare, unique historical materials.”

The new databases are part of the American Antiquarian Society’s collection and are accessible to all UM students, faculty and staff through the library’s web site. Readex Research created the databases, which became available for purchase in March. With help from the Department of History, College of Liberal Arts, The UM Center for Civil War Research, UM’s African-American Studies Program, the Provost Office and the library, commitments for most of the funding were in place by July. The library was able to purchase access in August.

John Neff, UM associate professor of history and director of the UM Center for Civil War Research, said the database is part of one the country’s most respected archives.

“The AAS is one of the most respected archives in the country, and to be able to do research in their collections is an exceptional opportunity,” Neff said. “With the creation of these two databases, now our undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty, will have the chance to explore the American Antiquarian Society’s collections without traveling to Massachusetts.”

The two databases are still developing, which means they’ll only add more resources over the next two years, Neff said.

“In acquiring access to these databases, the University has demonstrated its commitment to academic excellence generally, as well as underscored the importance of both slavery and the Civil War to understanding our national history,” Neff said.

UM Dean of Libraries Julia Rholes said, “these two Readex collections provide a true treasure trove of rare, unique historic materials from this critical period in our history; we are thrilled to provide access to these resources.”

Access can be gained by going to the J.D. William’s Library’s website, and searching for “Readex: The American Civil War Collection, 1860-1922,” or “Readex: The American Slavery Collection, 1820-1922″ in the database search bar.

For more information on the database, contact Neff at