Illuminating Hidden Lives: Black Stories of the Mid-Atlantic Region

This project is a collaboration between Cliveden,  the African American Geneaology Group, and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and seeks to make accessible documents relating to the enslaved and free African American people represented in the Chew Family Papers.

With more than 288 linear feet of material, the Chew Family Papers comprises one of the largest collections housed at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. The collection centers on Benjamin Chew (1722 - 1810) and his family, and includes numerous documents relating to servants and enslaved people. 

The scope of this project covers the period of Benjamin Chew's life (1722 - 1810) with a focus not only on documents written by Benjamin, but by others who overlap within this time frame and may have written about or produced documents regarding enslaved and free African Americans. The project will first digitize documents relating to properties in Philadelphia, then extend coverage to properties in Delaware, Maryland, and other states. 

This project not only hopes to uncover the lives and memory of those living in slavery, but to connect their descendents with their past.

This project was made possible with funding from the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Interpretation and Education Fund and the National Endowment of the Humanities.


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