Guide to the Collection

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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
July-Sep. 1873
Box 1Folder 2digitized
Oct. 1873
Box 1Folder 3digitized
Nov. 1873
Box 1Folder 4digitized
Dec. 1873
Box 1Folder 5digitized
Jan. 1874
Box 1Folder 6digitized
Feb. 1874
Box 1Folder 7digitized
Mar.-Apr. 1874
Box 1Folder 8digitized
May 1874
Box 1Folder 9digitized
June-Oct. 1874
Box 1Folder 10digitized
Nov.-Dec. 1874
Box 1Folder 11digitized
1874, undated
Box 1Folder 12digitized
Jan.-Feb. 1875
Box 1Folder 13digitized
Mar.-May 1875
Box 1Folder 14digitized
June-Aug. 1875
Box 1Folder 15digitized
Sep.-Nov. 1875
Box 1Folder 16digitized
Dec. 1875
Box 1Folder 17digitized
Feb.-Apr. 1876
Box 1Folder 18digitized
July-Dec. 1876
Box 1Folder 19digitized
1876, undated
Box 1Folder 20digitized

II. Volumes, 1862-1876digital content

Box 1Folder 21Vol. 1digitized
Educational Commission records, 1862-1874
Box 1Folder 22Vol. 2digitized
Daily record, 1865-1866
Box 2Folder 1Vol. 3digitized
Daily record, 1868-1869
Box 2Folder 2Vol. 4digitized
Daily record, 1871-1873
Box 2Folder 3Vol. 5digitized
Daily record, 1873-1874
Box 3Folder 1Vol. 6digitized
Teachers' Committee, 1864-1866
Box 3Folder 2Vol. 7digitized
Teachers' Committee, 1866-1870
Box 3Folder 3Vol. 8digitized
Teachers' Committee, 1870-1876
Box 3Folder 4Vol. 9digitized
Schools 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.