Pennsylvania Abolition Society and Society of Friends Manuscript Census Schedules, 1838, 1847, 1856

Developed by Theodore Hershberg as part of the Philadelphia Social History Project, this dataset on the Pennsylvania Abolition Society and Society of Friends Manuscript Census Schedules, 1838, 1847, 1856 is now available on ICPSR.

Initially taken in 1838 to demonstrate the stability and significance of the African American community and to forestall the abrogation of African American voting rights, the Quaker and Abolitionist census of African Americans was continued in 1847 and 1856 and present an invaluable view of the mid-nineteenth century African American population of Philadelphia. Although these censuses list only household heads, providing aggregate information for other household members, and exclude the substantial number of African Americans living in white households, they provide data not found in the federal population schedules. When combined with the information on African Americans taken from the four federal censuses, they offer researchers a richly detailed view of Philadelphia’s African American community spanning some forty years.

Variables for each household head and his household include (differ slightly by census year): name, sex, status-at-birth, occupation, wages, real and personal property, literacy, education, religion, membership in beneficial societies and temperance societies, taxes, rents, dwelling size, address, slave or free birth.

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