Inside the Vault: Primary Sources about Enslaved People

While conducting research for the film Twelve Years a Slave, director Steve McQueen and his team came to the Gilder Lehrman Collection to view original primary sources. In this session, Antuan Raimone from Hamilton and Corey Winchester, 2020 Illinois History Teacher of the Year, join our curators to discuss these primary source documents and what they can reveal about the lives of enslaved people.

Click here to download the slides from the presentation.

Classroom-ready resources for the documents presented

Use the timestamps below to jump to the documents you want to view

  • Enslaved Children of New Orleans: 20:20–26:20
  • Cartes-de-visite of emancipated children: 26:20–35:27
  • Civil War sketches of David M. Stauffer: 35:27–45:17
  • Slave auction catalog from Louisiana: 45:17–1:00:30
  • Twelve Years a Slave: 1:00:30–1:15:40

Additional Resources