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). Black and white microfilm is also available for use in the library.

Collection Summary


This collection consists of records of the Freedmen's Aid Society, founded in Boston, Mass. in 1862.

Historical Sketch

The New England Freedmen's Aid Society was founded in Boston, Mass. in 1862 in response to an appeal from Edward L. Pierce on behalf of 8,000 formerly enslaved people at Port Royal, S.C. Originally named the Educational Commission, its mission was to provide teachers and other aid for "the industrial, social, intellectual, moral, and religious improvement" of freedmen. The organization, which changed its name to the New England Freedmen's Aid Society in 1864 to reflect its broader scope, also published a monthly journal called The Freedmen's Record. The society disbanded in 1874.

Collection Description

This collection consists of the records of the New England Freedmen's Aid Society, including one volume of meeting minutes, 1862-1874; four volumes of "Daily Records," 1865-1866, 1868-1869, and 1871-1874; three volumes of Teacher's Committee records, 1864-1876; and one volume listing teachers in southern states, their schools, salaries, supporting societies, and numbers of pupils. Daily records include notes on correspondence with teachers, agents, and others, and copies of letters by the secretary of the Teacher's Committee, Ednah Dow Littlehale Cheney. The collection also contains correspondence between the committee and individuals actively teaching in the southern states, describing the educational needs and the day-to-day treatment and conditions faced by the freedman in the south. Correspondents include Caroline Alfred, Philena Carkin, Arthur Sumner, Lucretia Crocker, and A. D. Holmes.

Item lists of Caroline Alfred and Philena Carkin letters are available in the library.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Ellen Sturgis Hooper, May 1907.

Restrictions on Access

Use of the originals is restricted. This collection is available as color digital facsimiles (see links below). Black and white microfilm is also available for use in the library.

Other Formats

The collection is also available as color digital facsimiles and on microfilm, P-812, 2 reels.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Loose papers, 1873-1878digital content

Arranged chronologically.

Box 1Folder 1digitized
digitizedJuly-Sep. 1873
Box 1Folder 2digitized
digitizedOct. 1873
Box 1Folder 3digitized
digitizedNov. 1873
Box 1Folder 4digitized
digitizedDec. 1873
Box 1Folder 5digitized
digitizedJan. 1874
Box 1Folder 6digitized
digitizedFeb. 1874
Box 1Folder 7digitized
digitizedMar.-Apr. 1874
Box 1Folder 8digitized
digitizedMay 1874
Box 1Folder 9digitized
digitizedJune-Oct. 1874
Box 1Folder 10digitized
digitizedNov.-Dec. 1874
Box 1Folder 11digitized
digitized1874, undated
Box 1Folder 12digitized
digitizedJan.-Feb. 1875
Box 1Folder 13digitized
digitizedMar.-May 1875
Box 1Folder 14digitized
digitizedJune-Aug. 1875
Box 1Folder 15digitized
digitizedSep.-Nov. 1875
Box 1Folder 16digitized
digitizedDec. 1875
Box 1Folder 17digitized
digitizedFeb.-Apr. 1876
Box 1Folder 18digitized
digitizedJuly-Dec. 1876
Box 1Folder 19digitized
digitized1876, undated
Box 1Folder 20digitized

II. Volumes, 1862-1876digital content

Box 1Folder 21Vol. 1digitized
digitizedEducational Commission records, 1862-1874
Box 1Folder 22Vol. 2digitized
digitizedDaily record, 1865-1866
Box 2Folder 1Vol. 3digitized
digitizedDaily record, 1868-1869
Box 2Folder 2Vol. 4digitized
digitizedDaily record, 1871-1873
Box 2Folder 3Vol. 5digitized
digitizedDaily record, 1873-1874
Box 3Folder 1Vol. 6digitized
digitizedTeachers' Committee, 1864-1866
Box 3Folder 2Vol. 7digitized
digitizedTeachers' Committee, 1866-1870
Box 3Folder 3Vol. 8digitized
digitizedTeachers' Committee, 1870-1876
Box 3Folder 4Vol. 9digitized
digitizedSchools and teachers, 1867-1874
Box 3Folder 5-9
Photocopy of Vol. 9 (Schools and teachers, 1867-1874)

Preferred Citation

New England Freedmen's Aid Society 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.


Alfred, Caroline.
Carkin, Philena.
Cheney, Ednah Dow, 1824-1904.
Crocker, Lucretia, 1829-1886.
Holmes, A. D.
Sumner, Arthur.


Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877).
Southern States--History.
Women teachers.