Now Available FREE for Everyone: Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture & Law

HeinOnline Updates, Press Release, Slavery in America and the World, What's New
Shannon Furtak

William S. Hein & Co., Inc. has just released a monumental, unique, culturally significant, and free collection. Below is a note from company President Kevin M. Marmion:

Today, William S. Hein & Co., Inc. released the newest HeinOnline collection, Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture & Law. This collection, developed under the direction of Paul Finkelman, Ariel F. Sallows Visiting Professor of Human Rights Law at the University of Saskatchewan College of Law, has been in development for more than three years, with an investment by the Hein Company of tens of thousands of dollars. During the development of the collection, the Company’s market research indicated that Slavery in America and the World would be a very successful and profitable collection once offered on a subscription basis. However, while the Hein Company is a for-profit corporation with fiscal responsibilities to its shareholders, its mission statement contains a number of core values, one of which is Corporate Citizenship. This means that, as a company, Hein resolves to make a positive difference in the community.

The crisis revolving around race relations in America and the recent events surrounding this crisis have made the Hein Company rethink the idea of financially profiting from the sale of a collection on slavery. As good corporate citizens, Hein realized that a unique opportunity existed to make a positive impact in our community, in our profession and very possibly in a wider arena. Therefore, the decision was made not to charge for this collection, but to provide Slavery in America and the World free to anyone with an interest in the subject: libraries, institutions, students, researchers, or any other entity within our global community. By doing this, the Hein Company will realize a different form of profit by potentially making a difference during this troubling time.

The Hein Company has always recognized the impact librarians have within their communities. Their social consciousness, their communication skills, their ability to interact in a positive fashion with young children, students of all ages, high school, college and graduate level faculty, business people, attorneys, judges and the public in general put them in a unique position to open lines of communication to address the issues Americans are faced with today. By providing complimentary access to Slavery in America and the World, a wide audience has an opportunity to be more informed about the history of slavery and the pain of racism. By using this collection, librarians can be in the forefront of a movement to help educate their communities and create an environment for open and positive dialogue, which could have a positive impact on our society and may go a long way in helping find solutions to the distressing issues confronting all of us.

The Hein Company hopes you will add this collection to your institution. Please join them in making a difference today.

About Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture & Law

Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture & Law brings together, for the first time, all known legal materials on slavery in the United States and the English-speaking world, as well as materials on free African-Americans in the colonies and the U.S. before 1870. Included are every statute passed by every state and colony, all federal statutes, all reported state and federal cases on slavery, and hundreds of books and pamphlets on the subject. In total, the collection contains more than 1,000 titles and nearly 850,000 pages.

The collection homepage features a detailed overview on the subject of slavery and the assemblage of materials written by Paul Finkelman, noted historian and lead editor of this incredible collection. Browse among eight categories, including Periodicals, Slavery Statutes, Judicial Cases, and more. Look for current, full-color titles from UNC Press, such as Southern Slavery and the Law, 1619-1860 by Thomas D. Morris:

Paul Finkelman, along with Hein’s editorial staff, categorized each document within the collection based on four factors. The Slavery Quick Finder, located in the All Titles subcollection, enables users to search for documents based on the document’s position on slavery, type, jurisdiction, and topic. For instance, a search for anti-slavery cases and trials from the northern United States produces these results:

Browse Slavery Statutes by state or select United States to view laws at the federal level:

The Judicial Cases subcollection contains the well-known five volume set from the Carnegie Institution, edited by Helen T. Catterall, titled Judicial Cases concerning American Slavery and the Negro. Cases in the set are broken down by court, including the U.S. Supreme Court and various circuit and district courts. Browse the contents of all volumes, or search within the title. Click a year range under U.S. Supreme Court cases or a court under Federal Cases for a list of slavery-related cases pertaining to each option:

The collection also contains numerous cases not summarized by Catterall. Like most HeinOnline databases, this collection will be regularly updated and enhanced with additional materials.

From the collection homepage, users can also access scholarly articles and other documents chosen by our editors, a bibliography of additional resources, and external links related to this topic.

It is certainly not easy to revisit this tremendously painful part of American history, but it is important to learn as much as possible from it. We hope that in assembling this collection, we can help open doors for researchers and scholars to gain insight and knowledge about this era.

Register for access for this monumental collection here. Contact our marketing team for more information, or contact our support team at (800) 277-6995, email us, or chat with us for assistance with navigating and searching in HeinOnline. We look forward to working with you!

Comments 12

  1. I want to thank Kevin and the people at Hein for this generous act. This is an important collection for anyone who wishes to understand our ongoing attitudes and problems about race. I hope many of you and especially students will use this collection.


    Michael Slinger

    Widener University's Delaware Law School

  2. I applaud your opening this database for social justice reasons.  Why not make it truly open, with no registration requirement?  An unaffiliated  user encountering the collection via the login screen will surely come away with the impression that access is not available to him/her.  And registration is a strong disincentive for use by students. There would still be the opportunity for branding your product and tell your story!

    1. Post

      While we understand your position, this is a new platform for us and the registration process allows us to track usage of the collection, thereby helping us to gauge the interest in and success of this endeavor. We are also encouraging (but certainly not requiring) those who sign up for access to make a financial contribution to nonprofit organizations that support the societal advancement of people of color. 

      1. Hi Shannon,

        Because insitutions are required to provide IP addresses, will you be able to provide COUNTER usage data at the institutional level? Thanks!


        1. Hi Katie,

          HeinOnline is not counter compliant but does use counter metrics in its analytics. We are able to provide usage statistics for any account at the account level, which will include both IP and username/password usage. Please email me at ssabo@wshein.com and I'll be happy to either send your usage stats or set you up to receive these regularly.

  3. This is amazing news for students (and professors) of small institutions like my own. Many thanks to Paul for putting this collection together, and Hein for making it widely available.

    Nathan R. Kozuskanich, Nipissing University

  4. I ju7st wanted to ask a couple of questions about content. Does the material only cover African American slaves, or does it include enslaved Native Americans and Chinese immigrants? Does it have lists of slave names and who owned them and where for genealogical purposes?

  5. I'm a librarian with liaison responsibilities for Black Studies at my institution, and I am also an amateur genealogist, currently trying to trace several branches of my family beyond the other side of "The 1870 Wall."  I'm only two pages in on a document detailing Texas judicial cases, and I HAVE to stop and say THANK YOU.  THANK YOU.  THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS ACCESS.  

  6. Post

    The Slavery Collection does have some material on the enslavement of Native Americans and also the ownership of slaves by Native Americans (such as the Cherokee and Creek).  There are a small number of legal cases, for example, involving Native Americans who were held as slaves, including the famous Virginia case of Hudgins v. Wrights where an enslaved family gained its freedom because of their Native American ancestery.  This Collection does not deal with immigration per se. We do not have genealogical materials or census records.

  7. Good morning,

    My name is Marlyne Campbell, CEO/Founder, Millions of WoMen Sexual Assault Movement a new inititive birthed out of pain several month ago after being sexually assaulted. As, I browse the web and surprisingly came upon, "The Slavery Collection. Now available free for everyone. 

    The book "Ebony and Ivy" by Craig Wilder, stirred my interest as a recent survivor of a sexual assault.

    As we come upon US 2016 Presidential Elections and facing news topics such as allegations of Sexual Assault, it has triggered PTSD after experiencing terrifying events of sexual assault.  

    The Slavery Collection is especially important to ancestors of African Americans sexually enslaved.

    MUST WATCH YOUTUBE VIDEO:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeD9A8gOx4M    


    Dr. M. M. Cambell

    1. Thank you for these thoughtful comments, Dr. Campbell, and for sharing your experience with us. We are sorry for what happened to you, and pleased that we can make this material available for researchers like you. 

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