Broadsides During Slavery

Broadsides are typically one sheet of printed information and can consist of notices to the public, advertisements, proclamations, etc. The broadsides included below are a type of ephemera, a temporary document with a specific purpose not intended to be permanent. A modern day comparison would be fliers and posted bills.

This collection of digitized broadsides offers a unique look at the inhumanity of slavery as well as the social and economic aspects. Human beings are described as property in a very chilling way. The language, typography, printers, and descriptions are all worth noting. The broadsides have been transcribed below their image.

Runaway slave broadside.  October 26, 1841. Broadside. Baltimore City Life Museum Collection, Maryland Historical Society, 1996.75.1.

Runaway slave broadside.
October 26, 1841. Broadside. Baltimore City Life Museum Collection, Maryland Historical Society, 1996.75.1.

$1400 Reward.
Ranaway from the subscribers living near Randall’s town Baltimore Co. Md. on 23 inst.
Seven Negro Boys.
BENJAMIN, 21 years old, 5 feet 8 inches high, his complexion dark copper color, his toes turn out when walking, when spoken to answers in a rough impolite manner. JOHN, brother to Benjamin, 19 years old, nearly the same color as Benjamin, 5 feet 5 or 6 inches high; he had a green roundabout and gray pantaloons; manners like his brother.
ALLEN, 20 years old, 5 feet 6 inches high, is darker than either of the above boys, and very spare made; he had a blue close bodied coat, and green frock coat, both of cloth, and brown pantaloons; is a light made body, and of polite manners.
JESSE, brother to Allen, fifteen years old, five feet 4 or 5 inches high, complexion considerably lighter than either of the a-bove boys; he had a blue Kentucky jeans frock coat and white pantaloons.
LLOYD, 19 years old, five feet five or six inch-es high, a bright mulatto. and very pleasant countenance; his clothing consisted of one blue roundabout and pantaloons of the same, and one drab roundabout and pantaloons of home made cloth of the same, and one pair mixed pantaloons.
JESSE BANKS, a mulatto boy, 18 years of age, measured a few days ago 5 feet 5 1/2 inches high, stout for his age, well made, fine visage, good eyes, handsome mouth, good set of teeth, open countenance, wool cut close behind and fashionably combed in front, walks erect, talks but little, rather different, has a scar on his seat occasioned by f lling backwards on an axe last year; he was scalded on the back and arms when young, and very likely shows the marks. Took with him an old drab roundabout and pants of the same, old light blue linsey vest, used as every day dress; also a black cloth coat, cuffs, patched with snuff colored cloth on each elbow, a patch of black cloth same as coat, vest black cotton velvet with blue stripes, each half worn, a pair dark mixt cassimere pants, buttons in front, last style, a pair of grey cassimere pants marked C G F on the pocket, white cravat marked C C P, black low crown hat, rim not very narrow, nearly new, with fine good boots.
HENRY, a mulatto man, 23 years of age, five feet 7 inches high, very full eyes, long busy hair, pleasant countenance, wal[k]s erect, quick to answer when spoken to; his clothing consisted of a blue cloth frock coat and pants of the same.
The above reward will be given for the apprehension of said negroes if taken out of the state of Maryland and lodged in any jail in Maryland, or $200 for either. If taken in Maryland, lodged in any jail in the states $700 for the whole will be paid, or $100 for either, by
Jacob Wolf, Rezin H. Worthington.
Henry Fite, John Worthington.
October 26, 1841.”

Runaway slave broadside. April 18, 1804. Maryland Historical Society, [Broadside 1804].

Runaway slave broadside. April 18, 1804. Maryland Historical Society, [Broadside 1804].

Reverse of runaway slave broadside. April 18, 1804. Maryland Historical Society, [Broadside 1804].

Reverse of runaway slave broadside. April 18, 1804. Maryland Historical Society, [Broadside 1804].

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fifty Dollars Reward.
RANAWAY from the Subscriber living near Snowden’s old forge in Ann-Arundel county, state of Maryland, on Tuesday night last, one Negro by the name of H A R R Y, a stout, able bodied, well made fellow twenty years of age, five feet five or six inches high, of a lightish complexion and stammers when spoken to; had on a round snuff coloured Jacket, brown Great-Coat, check Trowsers, and good felt Hat; he was taken up with his brother near Frederick-Town on Thursday evening and committed to Jail, and on his way made his escape. I expect he will endeavor to get off toward Pennsylvania as a free man, as I understand he has got a pass, which if examined will be found very incomplete, in which he calls himself ELLICK WILLIAMS. Whoever takes up said runaway and secures him in any Jail, so that I get him again, shall receive the above reward and all reasonable charges paid if brought home.
Richard Disney.
Ann-Arundel county, April 9th 1804.
Frederick-Town: Printed by M. Bartgis.

Runaway slave broadside. March 30, 1810. Maryland Historical Society [Broadside 1810].

Runaway slave broadside. March 30, 1810. Maryland Historical Society [Broadside 1810].

50 Dollars Reward.
ABSCONDED from on board the Sloop Jolly Miller, in Baltimore, on the 28th inst. a Negro Man, named JACK, sometimes calls himself JACK ALEXANDER; about 5 feet 8 or 9 inches high, not very black, with a small scar on his forehead, round face and talks fast when first spoken to; he is a very active and a good countenanced fellow. It is supposed he will obtain a pass as a free man : his object is to go to sea, and will be trying to ship on board some vessel bound out. He had on and took with him a brown jacket with pearl buttons, and waistcoat of the same; his trowsers coarse white country cloth, with a variety of other clothes that he has with him. Whoever takes up and secures said Negro in any jail, shall receive, if taken in the city, 20 dollars; if 30 miles from Baltimore, 30 dollars; if 40 miles, 40 dollars; and if out of the state, the above reward, and all reasonable charges, if brought home to
Ananias Divers,
Near Wm. Patterson, Esq’rs. Mills, Gunpowder Falls.
March 30th, 1810.
N.B. All Masters of vessels and others are forewarned harboring or taking off said Negro, at their peril.
Baltimore–Printed by W. Pechin, Office of the American.”

Runaway slave broadside. October 11, 1828. Maryland Historical Society [Broadside 1828].

Runaway slave broadside. October 11, 1828. Maryland Historical Society [Broadside 1828].

300 Dollars
REWARD,
For the apprehension of the following Negro Men, and lodging them in any jail, so that I get them again–or in proportion of either.
HANSON,
Who calls himself HANSON MARSHALL, very black, about 40 years of age, 5 feet 5 or 6 inches high, a stout well set fellow, the front of his head bald, teeth remarkably white, nose flat, and eyes small; he is ruptured, and did wear a truss; can read, and will occasionally exhort and preach. He left my farm on Elkridge, in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, in May, 1827.
PETER,
Who calls himself PETER SNOWDEN, very black, about 23 years of age, 5 feet 5 or 6 inches high, a stout fellow, with thick projecting lips, and a remarkable Scar on the left cheek bone, and a similar one between the thumb and finger of one of his hands, both occasioned by accidents when young. Peter left the same farm on the 22d July last, and has, no doubt, gone to Hanson, and there is reason for believing that both are now in Pennsylvania.
These servants are accustomed to plantation work, and are good hands with the scythe or axe. Their clothing were of the best Oznaburgs and fulled cloth, with strong shoes; but as they are supplied with other apparel, they will no doubt change their dress. Any intelligence of those servants, leading to their apprehension, will be handsomely rewarded, on addressing me at Baltimore.
RICHARD DORSEY.
Baltimore, October 11, 1828.
Printed by SAMUEL SANDS, corner of Gay and Water Streets–Baltimore.”

Runaway slave broadside, December 24, 1825. Maryland Historical Society [Broadside 1825].

Runaway slave broadside, December 24, 1825. Maryland Historical Society [Broadside 1825].

$50 Reward.
Ranaway on Saturday the 17th inst. a coloured woman by the name of EASTER,
Who was formerly the property of Arthur Hill, near Reisterstown;–the said Easter is rather between a mulatto and black, short chunky, with thick lips and somewhat freckled in her face; she is about 22 years of age; she had on a light calico frock when she went away, and a cloth over coat, olive colour. She has some relations living in Baltimore at Fell’s Point, where she is expected to be lurking at this time. If she is taken in Baltimore County and secured so that I get her again I will give 25 dollars, and if out of the State 50 dollars.
JACOB WOOLERY,
Within four miles of Winchester.
Dec. 24, 1825.”

Public sale broadside, Jacob Wooly estate, September 8, 1829. Maryland Historical Society [Broadside 1829].

Public sale broadside, Jacob Wooly estate, September 8, 1829. Maryland Historical Society [Broadside 1829].

Public Sale.
By virtue of a deed executed by JACOB WOOLY in his life time, the Subscriber under said deed, will sell at public sale on
Monday the 28th of Sept. inst.
At 10 o’clock A.M. at the residence of the late Jacob Wooly decased:–All the estate, right, title, claim and interest at law and in equity of the said Jacob Wooly, in and to the following tracts or parcels of land and improvements, lying and being in Baltimore county, about four miles from Westminster, on the turnpike road, known by the names of Kitchen and Success–Cannaan–Caledonia and Bachelor’s of Chance, containing 236 acres.
Also–at the same time and place, I will sell the following personal estate:–consisting of household and kitchen furniture, two negro women and two girls, a number of valuable horses, cattle, sheep, hogs, two plantation wagons and gears, with sundry other farming utensils. The terms of sale will be cash for all sums under $5, and notes with approved security, bearing interest and payable six months after date for all sums above that amount. The negroes not to be sold to go out of the State.
JEREMIAH DUCKER.
September 8th, 1929.
Printed by B. EDES, corner of Calvert and Market-Streets, Baltimore.”

Runaway slave broadside, May 4, 1861. Maryland Historical Society [Broadside 1861].

Runaway slave broadside, May 4, 1861. Maryland Historical Society [Broadside 1861].

RUNAWAY.
$150 REWARD!
RANAWAY from the subscriber near Oxford, Talbot co., Md, on May 4th, a likely young negro man, named PHILIP ADAMS, about 22 years old. He is six feet high, round featured and good looking, with copper-colored complection, large feet and awkward in his walk. His voice is husky in tone, and he hesitates when spoken to.
I will pay the above reward if he is caught out of the State; $100 if caught out of the county, and $50 if caught in the county. In all cases to be secured in some convenient Jail, so I can get him.
TENCH TILGHMAN, near Oxford. Md.
May 4th, 1861.”

Handwritten ink on broadside: “This was probably the last advertisement [?] [?] in Talbot County of a Runaway Negro. S. A. N. [?]”

 

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