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Rhode Island Historical Society

The Society's Library holds a wealth of primary source materials on the slave trade, slave ownership and manumissions, abolition and the Underground Railroad in Rhode Island. The stories of Rhode Island slaves survive mainly through the distorting lens of the records left by the ruling classes.

The Quaker community was particularly active in both movements, and the archives of the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends(NEYM) are housed at the Society's Library.

Elizabeth Buffum Chace (1806-1899) was a Quaker and a tireless life-long worker for women's rights and the abolition of slavery. She is probably best known for opening her home as the main Rhode Island stop on the Underground Railroad. The Library holds The Elizabeth Buffum Chace (MSS 1002) Family Papers, which include materials concerning her involvement in the abolition movement and the Underground Railroad.

The printed collections include monograms, many of them unique, others rare and out of print, on the Underground Railroad in Rhode Island.

 Altogether the Society's holdings on slaves, abolition and the Underground Railroad comprise a significant body of resources documenting the history of the state's relationship to slavery.

Visitor Information: Currently open to public.

Location: 110 Benevolent St, Providence, 02906

Contact Information: 401-273-7507 (main phone)

National Park Unit: No

Ownership: Bernard Fishman

Location Type: Facility

UGRR Operatives: Elizabeth Buffum Chace