Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922: From the Library Company of Philadelphia
An Archive of Americana Collection
A touchstone for scholars and students alike. To have it available a dream come true.
Richard Newman, Former Professor of History, Rochester Institute of Technology

Quick Facts

  • One of the world's preeminent collections for African American studies
  • An unparalleled record of African American history, literature and culture
  • Available as a single complete collection, or in one or more of ten chronological segments


Created from the Library Company’s acclaimed Afro-Americana Collection—an accumulation that began with Benjamin Franklin and steadily increased throughout its entire history—this unique online resource will provide researchers with more than 12,000 printed works. These essential books, pamphlets and broadsides, including many lesser-known imprints, hold an unparalleled record of African American history, literature and culture. This digital edition of one of the world’s preeminent collections for African American studies is available as a single complete collection, or in one or more of ten chronological segments, organized by historic era.

From African society to the struggle for justice
This collection spans nearly 400 years, from the early 16th to the early 20th century. Critically important subjects covered include the West’s discovery and exploitation of Africa; the rise of slavery in the New World along with the growth and success of abolitionist movements; the development of racial thought and racism; descriptions of African American life—slave and free—throughout the Americas; and slavery and race in fiction and drama. Also featured are printed works of African American individuals and organizations.

Fresh scholarship on slavery and African American history
The Afro-Americana Collection began to gain international renown for its size, range and significance in the late 1960s as scholars initiated fresh studies of slavery's part in the American story. As researchers rediscovered the importance of the long-neglected writings of African Americans, the Library Company’s collection became increasingly vital to new scholarship. Today it serves as a critical resource for scholars and students, and a plethora of new research and teaching opportunities will arise from its digitization.

The landmark work behind the digital edition
The magisterial bibliography Afro-Americana 1553-1906 was first published in 1973. A second edition published in 2008, including 2,500 works acquired since 1973, now provides the bibliographic control for the Readex edition. Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922, is fully integrated into America’s Historical Imprints for seamless searching with Early American Imprints, Series I and II, including Supplements from the Library Company of Philadelphia.

About the Library Company of Philadelphia
The Library Company is an independent research library specializing in American history, society and culture from the 17th through the 19th centuries. Founded in 1731 by Benjamin Franklin, the Library Company is America’s first successful lending library and oldest cultural institution. In 2007, its influential new Program in African American History was created.

For more information, contact a Readex representative by calling 800.762.8182 or by using our easy contact form.