Guide to the Collection

browse digital content

Representative digitized documents from this collection:

Restrictions on Access

Use of the originals is restricted. This collection is available as color digital facsimiles (see links below).

Collection Summary


This collection consists of 9 volumes and 3 folders of loose materials relating to the Boston Anti-Man-Hunting League.

Collection Description

This collection consists of the minutes of meetings, constitutions, lists of members, and miscellaneous papers of the Boston Anti-Man-Hunting League, a secret society founded in 1854 by leading Boston reformers to aid freedom seekers and resist the Fugitive Slave Law. Affiliated with the League of Massachusetts Freemen, the Boston group included such reformers as Samuel Gridley Howe, John A. Andrew, Bronson Alcott, Theodore Parker, Samuel May, and Henry Ingersoll Bowditch. Bowditch annotated many of the Society's records in the 1880s. Also included are the minutes of the Vigilance Committee, a predecessor of the League, to which many of the same members belonged. Former president John Quincy Adams presided over a public meeting of the Committee at Fanueil Hall in 1846.

Restrictions on Access

Use of the originals is restricted. This collection is available as color digital facsimiles (see links below).

Other Formats

This collection is available as color digital facsimiles.

Preferred Citation

Boston Anti-Man-Hunting League records, Massachusetts Historical Society.

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in ABIGAIL, the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should search the catalog using these headings.


Adams, John Quincy, 1767-1848.
Alcott, Amos Bronson, 1799-1888.
Andrew, John A. (John Albion), 1818-1867.
Bowditch, Henry I. (Henry Ingersoll), 1808-1892.
Howe, S. G. (Samuel Gridley), 1801-1876.
May, Samuel J. (Samuel Joseph), 1797-1871.
Parker, Theodore, 1810-1860.


League of Massachusetts Freemen.
United States. Fugitive slave law (1850).
Vigilance Committee (Boston, Mass.).


Antislavery movements--United States.
Fugitive slaves--Massachusetts.
Secret societies--Massachusetts.

Materials Removed from the Collection

The following materials have been removed from the collection and cataloged separately:

Bowditch, Henry I. Diagram to show the drill the Anti-Man-Hunting League had for the running off of a slave or man-hunter..., ca. 1854-1859. Digitized item

[Boston Anti-Man Hunting League]. Stop thief : Ran away from Norfolk, Virginia, with $125.00! [Boston : s.n., 1855]. Digitized item