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Documenting and Preparing National Register Nominations

The National Park Service has prepared the following technical guidance to assist researchers in documenting and preparing National Register nominations for properties associated with the Underground Railroad.

  • Underground Railroad Resources In The United States: Theme Study, National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property Documentation Form, National Register History and Education, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1998.
    This theme study was prepared by the National Historic Landmarks (NHL) Survey program. It includes a history of the Underground Railroad, identifies historic property types, establishes registration requirements for National Register listing and NHL designation and includes an annotated bibliography.

  • Exploring a Common Past: Researching and Interpreting the Underground Railroad, U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, History Office, National Register, History, and Education, 1998.
    Produced by the History Office of the National Park Service, this publication provides a historic context for the Underground Railroad, information on using primary sources, a case study that tracks an escape from Virginia to Canada, and an extensive bibliography.

  • Model National Historic Landmark Nominations

    Rokeby, Addison County, Vermont
    This nomination documents the home of the Robinson family whose many letters, account books, and diaries document their involvement in the antislavery cause.
    Download the nomination in Word
    Download the nomination in WordPerfect

    F. Julius LeMoyne House, Washington County, Pennsylvania
    This nomination documents the LeMoyne House, a center of antislavery activity in southwestern Pennsylvania from the 1830s through the end of slavery.
    Download the nomination in Word
    Download the nomination in WordPerfect

    John P. Parker House, Brown County, Ohio
    This nomination documents the house where John Parker (1827-1900), a former slave, lived from about 1853 until his death. From this location Parker planned many rescue attempts of slaves held captive in the "borderlands" of Kentucky.
    Download the nomination in Word
    Download the nomination in WordPerfect

General Reading

Early Histories of the Underground Railroad

  • Wilbur Siebert, The Underground Railroad from Slavery to Freedom New York: The Macmillan Company, 1898.

  • William Still, The Underground Railroad reprint ed. Arno Press: New York, 1968/orig. ed. Phila., 1872.

Collections of Slave Narratives, Letters, Speeches, Editorials, and Newspaper Accounts

  • John Blassingame, Slave Testimony: Two Centuries of Letters, Speeches, Interviews, and Autobiographies Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1977.

  • Charles Blockson, The Underground Railroad New York: Prentice Hall, 1987.

  • George Rawick, The American Slave: A Composite Autobiography Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Publishing Company, 1972.

  • Peter C. Ripley, et al., eds. The Black Abolitionist Papers 5 vol. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1985-93.

Separating Myth from Reality

  • Larry Gara, The Liberty Line: The Legend of the Underground Railroad reprint ed. 1996 Lexington:University of Kentucky Press, 1996/orig. ed. Lex., 1961.

History of the Antislavery Movement

  • Merton Dillon, Slavery Attacked: Southern Slaves and their Allies, 1619-1865 Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University,1990.

  • Benjamin Quarles, Black Abolitionists New York: Oxford University Press, 1969.

African Americans Participation in the Civil War

  • Ira Berlin, Joseph R. Reidy, and Leslie Rowland, eds., Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation 1861-1867, Series II, The Black Military Experience Cambridge University Press, 1982.

Historic Places Associated with African Americans

  • Beth L. Savage, ed., African American Historic Places Washington, D.C.: The Preservation Press, 1994.


  • Paula Byers, African American Genealogy Sourcebook, 1995.

  • Charles Blockson, Black Genealogy Baltimore, MD: Black Classic Press, 1991, Orig. pub. 1977.

Children's Literature

  • Curtis, Anna L. Stories of the Underground Railroad, 1941. (This link takes you to a pdf version of this collection of stories, written for children)

  • Train Without Tracks "Secrets of the Underground Railroad" Learning Activity Book. Available from the Home Based Arts website http://www.homebasedarts.org

Website Links for Further Information:

  • National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom
    National Park Service has implemented a this program to coordinate preservation and education efforts nationwide and integrate local historical places, museums, and interpretive programs associated with the Underground Railroad into a mosaic of community, regional, and national stories.

  • National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
    Newly opened in 2004--after 10 years of planning by Underground Railroad communities, universities, cultural groups, and the public--this museum offers a place to learn about present and past freedom movements from around the world.

  • The Cattaraugus County Department of Economic Development, Planning & Tourism has a website that includes information about the Underground Railroad in Cattaraugus County, New York

  • The Delaware Tourism Office
    Find out about accommodations, special events, and travel resources in Delaware from the state's official tourism web site.

  • The Illinois Bureau of Tourism
    Explore the state's official travel page, "Enjoy Illinois," a web site devoted to helping you plan your next trip to Illinois.

  • Indiana Tourism Division
    Visit Indiana's state tourism site, which includes Bed and Breakfast listings, an events schedule, and useful links to Indiana's individual county web sites.

  • Iowa Division of Tourism
    Learn more about travel regions, resources, and historic destinations in Iowa at the state's official tourism web site.

  • Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism
    Visit the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism web site, including the site's extensive list of historic attractions.

  • New York Travel and Tourism
    Home page of the "I love New York" tourism program, this site includes various resources for travel in New York, and history themed tours and trips in the "I love historic New York" pages.

  • Ohio Division of Travel and Tourism
    Learn more about different historic attractions, lodging, and travel ideas in Ohio with the state's official tourism website.

  • The Pennsylvania Visitors Guide
    Explore Pennsylvania's official tourism page, with travel resources available for a broad range of interests, including a large listing of historic destinations.

  • Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing
    Visit the "Vermont Traveler's Guide," the state tourism site, and find out about historic destinations and present cultural events.

  • National Trust for Historic Preservation
    Learn about the programs of the oldest national non-profit preservation organization.

  • Historic Hotels of America
    A feature of the National Trust for Historic Preservation Heritage Traveler program that provides information on historic hotels and package tours in the vicinity of this itinerary.

  • National Park Service Office of Tourism
    National parks have been interwoven with tourism from their earliest days. This website highlights the ways in which the NPS promotes and supports sustainable, responsible, informed, and managed visitor use through cooperation and coordination with the tourism industry.

  • National Scenic Byways Program
    This website, maintained by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, includes information on state and nationally designated byway routes throughout America based on their archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and scenic qualities. Visit the America’s Byways Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway website for more ideas.
  • Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itineraries 
    Other travel itineraries in the National Park Service's ongoing series include many historic destinations that you can visit online or in person.  Each itinerary spotlights a different geographic region, community, or theme.
  • Teaching with Historic Places
    This website, maintained by the National Park Service, offers online classroom-ready place-based lesson plans created by historians and educators to help teachers use historic places in the classroom.  Each lesson is linked to national standards for history and the social studies.

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