Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Battle, Narcissa Caroline (b. 1825) [Slave sale letter]

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC09039 Author/Creator: Battle, Narcissa Caroline (b. 1825) Place Written: s.l. Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 10 June 1860 Pagination: 4 p.

A woman writes to her child about a slave sale she attended. "I went to town & bought all the negroes except Charity mamma & Charity's four youngest Children... Mamma is down at Watson's very much pestered she never would say before the sale who she wanted to buy her but now she is brought to her senses. Daughter I am not much grieved about either Chany or Charity they both have acted the lady ever since they came in my possession & I have been the slave now let them see the difference between me & other people... if they live the plantation will be filled with babies...The Negroes were so proud when they saw me ran & cried & begged me to buy them..."

Order a CopyCitation Guidelines for Online Resources