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Huntington Library gets rare slavery documents

The Huntington Library.
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
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Southern California’s Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens has acquired rare documents shedding light on anti-slavery efforts taking place before and during the Civil War.

The institution announced that it had acquired the ledgers of Quaker abolitionist Zachariah Taylor Shugart, who turned his Michigan farm into an underground railroad stop for people fleeing slavery.

Shugart, who kept meticulous records, documented the names of 137 people, including families, he helped escape.

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Officials say such records are rare because people who helped the enslaved knew they were breaking the law and rarely kept records.

The Huntington also acquired documents from West Virginia’s Dickinson & Shrewsbury saltworks, including bills of sale and other papers detailing the lives of slaves.

The papers were purchased at separate auctions.

Prices were not disclosed.


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