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Irish Indentured Servants in the Colonies

Until the late 18th century, indentured servitude was very common in British North America. It was often a way for poor Europeans to emigrate to the American colonies: they signed an indenture in return for a passage. After their indenture expired, the immigrants were free to work for themselves or another employer.

In some cases, the indenture was made with a ship’s master, who on-sold the indenture to an employer in the colonies. Most indentured servants worked as farm laborers or domestic servants, although some were apprenticed to craftsmen.

The terms of an indenture were not always enforced by American courts, although runaways were usually sought out and returned to their employer.

Most labor contracts made were in increments of five years with the opportunity to extend another five years. Many contracts also provided a free passage home after the dictated labor was completed. However, there were generally no policies and contracts regulating control over employers once the labor hours were completed, which led to frequent abuse and ill-treatment.

Our 18th Century newspaper collections include the Pennsylvania Gazette and the South Carolina Gazette. Both newspapers carried many advertisements for the sale of indenture contracts and the recovery of runaway servants.

Indentures for Sale

August 19, 1762: To be SOLD, AN Irish Woman Servant, who has three Years and three Months to serve. Enquire at the New Printing Office. (The Pennsylvania Gazette)

October 29, 1766: TO be disposed of, two Irish Servant Boys times, the one having Six, the other Seven Years to serve, and are suitable either for Town or Country Business. The above Servants Times are disposed of for no Fault, but only for want of Employment. For further Particulars, enquire of William Parr, Esq; or of the Subscriber, living at the Corner of Walnut and Third streets. (The Pennsylvania Gazette)

August 10, 1738: Just arrived from DUBLIN, In the Snow JOLLY BACCHUS, Peter Cullen, Commander: A PARCEL of likely ENGLISH and IRISH SERVANTS, Tradesmen, viz. Shoemakers, Taylors, Weavers, Black and White Smiths, Carpenters, Husband- men and sundry other Tradesmen: Also a Parcel of likely Servant Women, fit for either Town or Country Work; whose Times are to be disposed of, by THOMAS WALKER, Butcher, or SAMUEL WALKER, or JOHN BEAUMONT, or the said Master on Board the aid Snow, now lying off against Market-Street Wharffe, where all due Attendance will be given. Philadelphia, August 3, 1738. (The Pennsylvania Gazette)

May 25, 1734: To be Sold by Ribton Hutchinson on the Bay extraordinary good Butter in Firkins, Herrings, Cheese, Irish Potatoes, Mens and Womens Servants, Irish Linnens of several sorts, and good Barbados Rum in Hogsheads, Terces and Barrils. (The South Carolina Gazette)

May 13, 1766: To be sold, for no Fault, an Irish indented Servant Maid, who is an excellent Sempstress, and has upwards of four Years to serve., Enquire of CHARLES CROUCH. at his Printing-Office, in Elliott-street. (The South Carolina Gazette)

The Pennsylvania Gazette was one of the United States’ most prominent newspapers from 1728—before the time period of the American Revolution—until 1800. Published in Philadelphia from 1728 through 1800, The Pennsylvania Gazette is considered The New York Times of the 18th century.


President Hayes: A Lost Opportunity

President Hayes has lost another opportunity of reminding the country of its injustice toward woman. Again a message has gone before Congress, and no mention made of the women citizens of the country.

The Chinese have a saying, that “even the gods cannot help those who lose an opportunity.”

Two years ago, a committee from the National Woman Suffrage convention was appointed to call upon President Hayes, and remind him that no women had been appointed as commissioners from this country to the Paris Exposition, while many of the departments the commissioners were to investigate could much more satisfactorily be reported upon by women—as laces, embroideries, &c. The president received this committee, of which the editor of the NATIONAL CITIZEN was one with due courtesy, even reading from among his private papers those duties of commissioners which he recognized as more likely to be satisfactorily performed by women. “But, ladies, you are too late,” said he. “You should have petitioned Congress a year ago; these appointments have been settled a long time.”

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.



Poisoning by the Use of Hair Restorers, Head-Washes, etc…

National Anti-Slavery Standard was the official weekly newspaper of the American Anti-Slavery Society, an abolitionist society founded in 1833 by William Lloyd Garrison and Arthur Tappan to spread their movement across the nation with printed materials. Frederick Douglass was a key leader of this society and often addressed meetings at its New York City headquarters.

In addition to news about the abolitionist movement — especially after the Civil War — the National Anti-Slavery Standard carried reform news on temperance, universal suffrage, labor reform, and items like this consumer warning about cosmetics from the Journal of Applied Chemistry that appeared in the November 27, 1869 issue.

Poisoning by the Use of Hair Restorers, Head-Washes, etc…

A constant use of the various advertised hair-washes, invigorators, restorers, etc., produce effects which inevitably, sooner or later, produces ill health, and often great bodily suffering.

Lead in some form is one of the ingredients of all these mixtures. By the continued application of these washes to the skin or scalp an absorption of lead takes place, and its poisonous effects manifest themselves under the various forms of lead poisoning.

The effects are so slow and insidious that, until the sufferer is entirely beyond cure, they are unnoticed, and in many cases even then the original cause is unknown. There is no doubt that many have gone to their graves without even their physicians being aware of the real cause of the disease.

It produces neuralgia, paralysis of some of the muscles of the face and the limbs. Many persons complain of sudden pain in the head, ear or eye, or sometimes in the shoulders, often in the fingers, not unfrequently of a numbness in the limbs, hands, or feet. Careful inquiry traces these effects to the use of some of these deleterious compounds. It is time the warning voice of the press should be heard and heeded by the thousands who are in the daily habit of using these poisonous articles, more especially as their use is making such rapid advances in this country. So many of these washes are now thrown upon the market, all professing to be perfectly innocuous, that people use them without the slightest investigation, not even giving a thought to the inevitable consequences.

National Anti-Slavery Standard was the official weekly newspaper of the American Anti-Slavery Society, an abolitionist society founded in 1833 by William Lloyd Garrison and Arthur Tappan to spread their movement across the nation with printed materials. Frederick Douglass was a key leader of this society and often addressed meetings at its New York City headquarters.

How to Cook Potatoes

How to Cook Potatoes in Godey’s Lady’s Book

Godey’s Lady’s Book magazine was intended to entertain, inform and educate the women of America. In addition to extensive fashion descriptions and plates, the early issues included biographical sketches, articles about mineralogy, handcrafts, female costume, the dance, equestrienne procedures, health and hygiene, recipes and remedies and the like.

Our collection provides the complete run of Godey’s Lady’s Book, and is the only one containing the color plates as they originally appeared.

These potato recipes appeared in the February 1867 issue of Godey’s Lady’s Book.

BOILED POTATOES — There are really so many ways of even boiling potatoes that it is difficult to satisfy one’s mind which is the best, each being good, providing it is well done. The French, however, hold that by using too much water the flavor of the potatoes becomes seriously impaired; but it depends entirely upon the quality of the potatoes whether they are better done in their jackets or peeled: though towards the end of spring, when they get old, it is greatly preferable to pare them, as the skins then contain a narcotic property which gives the potatoes a strongly disagreeable flavor. In any case, potatoes should be boiled quickly, care being taken to choose them of an equal size, and cutting them in half when they are large. Rather small-sized potatoes are to be chosen in preference to those of overgrown proportions, and it is at all times in better taste to have potatoes rather underdone than boiled to pieces.

The following is the most generally received method of boiling potatoes. Thoroughly wash and pare them, place them in a small saucepan with sufficient cold water to cover them, place them upon a clear fire, and bring them to a boil as speedily as possible. Good potatoes of a proper size will be done in about fifteen or twenty minutes after beginning to boil. Strain off the water and serve as soon as possible, without sprinkling salt over them, or adding any to the water in which they were cooked. One thing against the addition of salt is that careless cooks generally use it with such a heavy hand. Some housekeepers advocate placing the saucepan of potatoes over the fire again after the water has been poured away, but if the potatoes are done as they should be, this process, instead of being an improvement, only tends to give the potatoes a bad flavor. When intended to be mashed or converted into a made-dish, potatoes should invariably be boiled without salt being employed, as it deadens them both in flavor and quality; but for made-dishes generally potatoes are preferable steamed instead of boiled.

Godey’s Lady’s Book— Louis Antoine Godey began publishing Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1830. He designed his monthly magazine specifically to attract the growing audience of literate American women. The magazine was intended to entertain, inform, and educate the women of America.


Port of Havana-Cover

Visiting the Port of Havana in 1856

The American going to Cuba for the first time anxiously watches for the first glimpse of the famed “gem of the Antilles.” The announcement of “land in sight,” calls him to the deck; presently there looms up upon the clear atmosphere, a number of snowy white spots, which rapidly gain solidity, and take shape.

Entrance to the Port of Havana, from Fuerte Del Principe

Entrance to the Port of Havana, from Fuerte Del Principe

First are made out the frowning walls of Moro Castle and Light House. To the right is the Punta, in front of which was executed the unfortunate Lopez. Beyond is the fortress of Cabana, one of the strongest in the world. Such are the individual peculiarities of our faithful picture of the entrance of the port of Havana.

Every vessel entering is telegraphed, and such houses as do not command a view of the Moro, reflect the signals by means of looking-glasses affixed to some lofty part of the premises.

Fort of Aratas, where Crittenden and his fifty americans were executed

Fort of Aratas, where Crittenden and his fifty americans were executed

In the central distance of the view is the fort of Aratas, where the fifty Americans under command of Crittenden, and attached to the Lopez expedition, were barbarously shot by the Havana authorities. To the left is the Prince’s fort, and below is the suburb of Jesse Maria.

Part of the harbor of Havana is shown, and on the right the view of a part of the city. The friends of Crittenden contemplate erecting a magnificent monument to his memory in front of the fort of Aratas, the moment the island is in possession of the United States.

Frank Leslie’s Weekly, published from 1855 to 1922, was an American illustrated news publication started by publisher and illustrator Frank Leslie. While only 30 copies of the first edition were printed, by 1897 its circulation had grown to an estimated 65,000 copies.
Source: Frank Leslies Weekly, February 9, 1856