Beinecke Library

Nelson Hayes Papers

The Nelson Hayes papers contain correspondence, writings, journals, and other materials documenting the personal and professional life of author Nelson Hayes. Materials throughout the collection also document Hayes’s special interest in the Caribbean. For example, photographs relating to the Caribbean. Specific writings set in the Caribbean include “Caribbean Junket”, Dildo Cay, and “Spanceled”. Otherwise, the bulk of the general correspondence in the collection is with Hayes’s wife and mother.

Series I, Personal Correspondence, contains the bulk of the letters received by Hughes during his lifetime. Hughes took much interest in the careers of younger African-American, African, Caribbean, and Central American writers such as: Leroi Jones; Ted Joans, and Alice Walker.

Letterbook containing retained copies of commercial correspondence between an unidentified London shipowner and merchant and his various business associates, many of them Americans in the Carolinas, including Thomas Pearce, Robert Smyth, and James Britt. Subjects include the pricing of and credit for cargoes of wine, cork, indigo, rice, and Negro slaves from Guinea; news of family members and mutual friends; recommendations of business associates and ships’ captains; and schedules of repayment

Ten letterbooks containing business correspondence to Oswald from his agents, factors, nephews and Edinburgh attorney, all written after his “retirement” to Scotland. The letters include extensive information on on Oswald’s trading ventures, particularly his trade with the American colonies and his West African slave trade (based at Bunce Island), and his Scottish land investments.

This collection of 46 documents consists of manuscript bills of sale, receipts, estate appraisals, deeds of gift, manumission statements, promissory notes, and other papers documenting slave ownership and the slave trade in the United States between 1770 and 1863. The bulk of the material documents slavery in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Kentucky and Alabama. There are also legal documents recording slavery transactions in Maine, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and Louisiana.

Spanning more than thirty-five years, from before his arrival in Jamaica in 1750 through his death in 1786, the archive comprises some 92 volumes of diaries and notebooks. A slave owner, Thistlewood used his diaries to document his daily experiences as a planter over three decades. These 37 volumes, arranged by year, leave a detailed portrait of the racial, sexual, economic, and other realities of plantation life in Jamaica in the mid-eighteenth century.


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