Thaddeus Stevens history

The papers of Lancaster's abolitionist Congressman Thaddeus Stevens are among the collections to be digitized by LancasterHistory using a recently secured grant.

The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission has awarded a Historical & Archival Records Care grant to LancasterHistory to digitize its collections pertaining to the history of Black Lancastrians, Indigenous people and 19th-century Congressman Thaddeus Stevens.

The $4,669 grant will enable LancasterHistory to digitize the collections and make them accessible by the public.

LancasterHistory has a small, but rich, collection of resources related to the history of Black Lancastrians and Indigenous people since the 18th century — historical items that have not yet been digitized and made available online, according to a news release.

With the grant, LancasterHistory will be able to make 425 documents and manuscripts from 24 different historic collections, which are specifically related to people of color in Lancaster County, available for use by historians and others.

They include records of enslaved persons; records of free and freed men and women of color before 1850; bills of sale; correspondence, including letters from abolitionists and Civil War soldiers; and material related to the Crispus Attucks Community Center.

In addition, there are 138 items from the Thaddeus Stevens collection to be digitized using the grant, including correspondence in personal, political and business contexts; Stevens’ will and estate documents; newspaper articles related to Stevens and his legacy; and prints and engravings.

The digitization project, which starts in August and is expected to be completed by May 2022, will be completed by Backstage Library Works of Bethlehem. LancasterHistory worked with Backstage on the James Buchanan Online Presidential Library.

Digitized items will be uploaded to LancasterHistory’s collections database at, which is free for the public to view and search.

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