Students in professor Douglas Pfeiffer’s EGL 494 course, “English Honors Practicum: Research” recently transcribed a rare manuscript, documenting slavery on Long Island in 1798. The contract, for the sale of a “Negro lad by the name of Jack” in Southampton, Long Island, New York, is dated March 21, 1798. “Jack,” aged 17 years and five months, was conveyed from Josiah Hand to William H. Helme for a period of six years and seven months, and was then to be freed. The single sheet of paper was signed at the bottom by Hand and Helme, and was witnessed by Jesse Hedges and Ithuel Hill. The finding aid, or guide for the item, can be accessed here.
Thank you to the following students for enhancing the discoverability and accessibility of this rare document: Quinn Adikes, Tanner Bruckmann, Georgia Cartmill, Janaea Eads, Melissa Harney, Elizabeth Hermitt, Maddison Martinez, Brian Mazeski, Christine Publik (typed transcription), Ryan Stears, and Nicketa Ramdeholl.
During their visit to Special Collections, the class also viewed a selection of the department’s rare books, illuminated manuscripts, and archives of Stony Brook University. Please visit the department’s website and research guide for more information. -Kristen J. Nyitray, Head, Special Collections and University Archives, University Archivist