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Martin Van Buren and Slavery

This appeared in the March 11, 1837 issue of The Colored American newspaper.

The following extracts from President Van Buren’s inaugural address, present his views and designs, in regard to the question of Slavery:

“The last, perhaps the greatest, of the prominent sources of discord and disaster supposed to lurk in our political condition, was the institution of domestic slavery.”

“Perceiving, before my election, the deep interest this subject was beginning to excite, I believed it a solemn duty fully to make known my sentiments in regard to it”

“I then declared that, if the desire of those of my countrymen who were favorable to my election, was gratified, I must go into the Presidential Chair the inflexible and uncompromising opponent of every attempt, on the part of Congress, to abolish Slavery in the District of Columbia, against the wishes of the slaveholding States, and also, with a determination equally decided, to resist the slightest interference with it in the States where it exists.”
“It now only remains to add that no bill conflicting with these views, can ever receive my constitutional sanction.”

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s African American Newspapers Collection. This enormous collection of African American newspapers contains a wealth of information about cultural life and history during the 1800s and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day.


A Look Inside: Old Times in West Tennessee

Old Times in West Tennessee is a new addition to our American County Histories: Tennessee collection.  Its full text is now online and fully searchable.


THIS book is prefaced by its title page, requiring but little to be said as to the design of the writer, or his motives for writing it.

It is hardly necessary for the author to put in a disclaimer that he assumes to be neither a historiographer nor a biographer, much less an annalist; semi-historic, irregular and defective, if you will, is the only title he claims for it.

Whether it be accorded or not, it is none the less true that “every man has his own style, as he has his ‘own nose;’ and it is neither polite nor Christian to rally a man about his nose, however singular it may be — a fact pregnant with homely sense, and commends itself to the exercise of charity on the part of the critical reader.



Conceived when gout most troubled, and born of necessity, it was written when afflicted with physical pain, amply recompensed, however, in the pleasurable interest it gave in reviving the scenes and recollections of his boyhood days. Should the reader derive a tithe of the interest in reading that was afforded in writing, the author will be doubly recompensed.

An apology is due the theme it purports to treat, and is beseechingly asked for the author, for having written it hurriedly and without sufficient data. He had written to many of the immediate successors of the first and early settlers in the Big Hatchie country for something of the early lives and connecting incidents of their brave fathers and people, in subduing the wilds of West Tennessee; but, for some cause or other, except in a few instances, he received no response; possibly they feared to trust such a priceless heritage to the pen of unknown authorship.

It is to be regretted, as their names and heroism in hewing down the forest and opening up the way to thrift and refined civilized enjoyment would have contributed greatly to the interest of the history of Old Times in West Tennessee.

The author, not wishing to “play showman to his own machinery,” submits the following pages to tho reader for what they are worth, with a prayer that he be gentle and deal lightly, and, if merit there be, encourage him to a wider field, yet lying fallow in its virgin fireshness.


The full-text search capability of the American County Histories database permits the student/researcher to explore all the publications of a particular county by using a single query. In addition, those wishing to read or browse the text on a page by page basis may do so in the original format merely by scrolling down the screen and then continuing to the next chapter.

Shall American Girls Become Servants

Shall American Girls Become Servants?

Where to obtain good servants, and how to furnish remunerative employment for the numerous class of women who must be self- supporting, are two great social problems of the day. And there are those who fancy that the solution of one of these problems necessarily involves the solution of the other. But such persons take only the most superficial view of both subjects. There is no lack of servants, such as they are; it is the need of good servants which is so severely felt. And to increase the quantity would not necessarily improve the quality, while it would result in a reduction of the wages of domestics, which, despite the cry of exorbitance, are already quite as low as they should be.

But I will first refer to the actual practicability of this scheme. In the contemplated general exodus of needy women from their garrets into the kitchens of the wealthy, the fact is overlooked that a large proportion of these women are widows with families to support, and are compelled, for the sake of these families, to keep a home about them, however poor that home may be. These will not desert their little ones for the good homes, high wages and wholesome food which our social economists know how to descibe in such glowing colors. And who can blame them, if they feel that it is better that all should starve together, than to have their little flock scattered hither and thither, dependent on the cold charities of a pitiless world?

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s Newspapers Collection. We can provide access to fully searchable newspapers by and for women including The Lily, The Revolution, and the National Citizen and Ballot Box.


Camp Sherman News - Notes from Stage and Film

Camp Sherman News: Notes from Film & Stageland

On April 6, 1917 the United States formally declared war on Germany and entered World War I. Less than two months later, the nation was in a race to prepare the infrastructure and people to fight the war. In June of 1917, Chillicothe, Ohio, in south-central Ohio, underwent a transformation that was becoming a familiar scene around the country. The Army decided to build one of the large training cantonments it required to train and mobilize men for the war effort on the northern edge of Chillicothe. In a matter of only a few months during the summer of 1917, the bucolic serenity of the Chillicothe area was dramatically transformed when over two thousand buildings were erected on land that was coveted for farming and where prehistoric Indians constructed large ceremonial earthen mounds.

This sprawling military complex that quadrupled the population of Chillicothe would become known as Camp Sherman.

Source: Camp Sherman, Ohio’s WWI Soldier Factory

Camp Sherman News in our America and World War I:  American Military Camp Newspapers collection offers a closer look at the camp’s activities and the interests of those training there.

This piece of entertainment news ran in the camp newspaper on March 13, 1919.


Gertrude Hoffman played Cleveland last week and, from the reports, we hope she heads in this direction soon. Read this:

Miss Hoffman works along simpler lines this season than in the past, but her act is, perhaps, more pleasing than it was a few seasons ago when she appeared with a wealth of scenery and a supporting company. A Spanish dance, against a background of orange and black, opens her turn; and her “Dance of the Allies” is a number which introduces the filmy draperies and uncovered limbs of yore. Then comes her imitations of Ann Pennington, Addie Foy, Fanny Brice and Bessie McCoy; and, finally, her “Trip to Coney Island rounds out her divertissement. It is all well done, especially the changes made in an open dressing room, with two feminine valets garbed a la Ziegfeld.

“Todd of the Times,” starring Frank Keenan, who plays the role of the city editor of a large newspaper, breaking up a political combine and obtaining the managing editor’s job. Character development, in the screwing of the courage to the sticking point, is well worked out by Mr. Keenan.

While on the subject of Broadway beauties it may not be amiss to record the fact that Kay, Laurel, who has decorated many an edition of Mister Ziegfeld’s Follies, has joined the filmers. She is making her debut in a leading role in the next Rex Beach picture, to be turned out by Goldwyn in the newly acquired Culver City studio relinquished by Triangle.

Miss Ethel Barrymore’s success in “The Off Chance” has been such that her sponsors have arranged for her the longest tour of her career. She will play all the way across the continent this spring, visiting the Pacific Coast for the first time since 1911, when she was seen there in “Alice-Sit-by-the-Fire.”

America and World War I: American Military Camp Newspapers provides users with unparalleled access to unique sources covering the experiences of American soldiers during the mobilization period in 1916, in the trenches in 1918 and through the occupation of Germany in 1919.


World War I: English for Americans in the Making

Classes Operated by the YMCA

The English for foreigner classes that are being operated throughout the division is one phase of a difficult phase of a difficult and strange process of assimilation and fusion of many races of men in a difficult time. Few men quite realize how very near the liberty of Europe lies to the hearts of a considerable part of our army— men drawn from every subject nation of Europe. It is fortunate that the United States has gone on record as standing for the liberation of the peoples of East and Southeast Europe. A surprising number of men from foreign countries have already become loyal, self-sacrificing soldiers in America’s cause, even though they do not yet understand our language.

America and World War I: American Military Camp Newspapers provides users with unparalleled access to unique sources covering the experiences of American soldiers during the mobilization period in 1916, in the trenches in 1918 and through the occupation of Germany in 1919.