Dickinson, Hill and Co. Slave Trade Records, 1838 -- 1865


Title: Dickinson, Hill and Co. Slave Trade Records
Dates: 1838 -- 1865
Bulk Dates: 1850 -- 1865
Creator: Dickenson, Hill and Co.
Call Number: MS181
Size: 0.55 Linear Feet, 1 box
Permanent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10427/000509
    Digital Collections and Archives, Tufts University


This collection contains correspondence and receipts from Dickinson, Hill and Co., a slave merchant and auctioneer firm based in Richmond, Virginia. The bulk of this collection's materials are dated from 1850 to 1865.


This collection is organized in one series.


Biographical / Historical

The Dickinson, Hill & Co. slave merchant and auctioneer firm was based in Richmond Virginia and originally operated under the name R. H. Dickinson & Brother. It operated from at least 1845 until well into the Civil War. Richmond was the second largest slave market in the South, coming just after New Orleans. Dickinson & Brother and Dickinson, Hill & Company, although formally recognized as auctioneers, used traders as middle-men to buy and sell enslaved persons in other markets and also served as financiers for traders by providing lines of credit that they could use to buy enslaved persons.

Access and Use

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Some material in this collection may be protected by copyright and other rights. Please see "Reproductions and Use" on the Digital Collections and Archives website for more information about reproductions and permission to publish. No documentation is available regarding the intellectual property rights in this collection.

Preferred Citation

Dickinson, Hill and Co. Slave Trade Records, 1850 -- 1865. Digital Collections and Archives. Medford, MA.

Collection History

Processing Notes

Processed by Susanne Belovari, spring 2012.

In April 2021 this finding aid was reviewed for offensive description by Collections Management Archivist Adrienne Pruitt. Terms pertaining to slavery were updated according to P. Gabrielle Foreman, et al. "Writing about Slavery/Teaching About Slavery: This Might Help" community-sourced document, accessed December 15, 2020, https://docs.google.com/document/d/1A4TEdDgYslX-hlKezLodMIM71My3KTN0zxRv0IQTOQs/mobilebasic.

This collection is processed.

Custodial History

These records were found in the Ryder Collection of Confederate Archives in 2011. The Ryder collection was cataloged as part of the WPA in 1939/1940 but in later decades the catalog ( A Calendar of the Ryder Collection of the Confederate Archives at Tufts College 1940) was forgotten and library staff added other materials to the Ryder collection, usually items from the South, from the 18th and 19th century and around the time of the Civil War.

Because the correspondence was not part of the original Ryder collection - given Ryder's congressional testimony he only picked up archival material in and immediately around the Richmond capitol and Dickenson's offices at the time were several blocks away, the correspondence was identified, removed from Ryder and a separate collection was created.

Subjects and Genre Terms
Related Material
  • American Antiquarian Society collection

Series Description

  1. Slavery transaction correspondence, 1838 -- 1865

    This series contains slavery transaction correspondence. Highly significant as the only extent collection of Dickenson, Hill and Co is at the American Antiquarian Society and it was assumed that Dickenson had ceased business in the 1850s.