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Maryland State Colonization Society records

Identifier: MS 0571


The official records of the Maryland Colonization Society, providing a full history of the administration of the society and information on the colony of Liberia.

Please Note: The container list/inventory for this collection is available as a PDF below. Click "Expand All" and scroll down to the "External Documents" section to view. This collection has also been digitized and a link is available below in the "Digital Material" section.


  • 1827-1902
  • Majority of material found in 1827-1871


Conditions Governing Access

Public use restricted to microfilm: Microfilm MS 571; 32 reels.

The wide diversity of the manuscript types in this collection and the serious deterioration of their condition has presented a challenging technical problem. Despite the use of the highest quality materials and equipment, the reader will encounter a number of illegible images. This unfortuante result was anticipated prior to the commencement of the micrographic operations but it was established as a policy that the scholar was entitled to the best facsimile possible of all pertinent documents, regardless of the degree of readability of the original.

Conditions Governing Use

The reproduction of materials in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine and satisfy copyright clearances or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information visit the MCHC’s Rights and Permissions page.

Historical Note

The Maryland State Colonization Society was founded in 1831 in Baltimore. With a $200,000 appropriation of State funds from the 1831-1832 legislature, free Negroes were to voluntarily emigrate to Liberia or leave the State. A colony, Maryland in Liberia, was founded in 1834 and incorporated into the Republic of Liberia in 1857.


30 Linear Feet (23 boxes; 100 volumes)

Language of Materials



The papers are arranged by subject into the following series: Series I. Minutes; Series II. Correspondence Received; Series III. Correspondence Sent; Series IV. Miscellaneous Letters and Minutes; Series V. Invoice Books, Oct. 1883 - Apr. 1860; Series VI. Financial Records; Sereis VII. Special Funds; Series VIII. Commissions and Reports; Series IX. Census Records and Vital Statistics of Maryland in Liberia; Series X. Manumissions and Emigrants; Series XI. Liberian Colonization; Series XII. Newspapers; Series XIII. Colonization Pamphlets; Series XIV. Books; Series XV. Pamphlets; and Series XVI. Maps.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Dr. James Hall, the General Agent of the Colonization Society, in 1876-1877.

Existence and Location of Copies

Duplicates of the complete set of the Maryland Colonization Journal from 1835-1861 are in a separate box.

Separated Materials

Liberia photograph album transferred to PP 0161 in September 1984.

Scope and Contents

The Maryland State Colonization Society records include meeting minutes; correspondence; records of all letters sent by agents, corresponding secretaries, and managers of the State Fund; invoices and financial records, including information on all transactions, receipts, and expenditure of funds; manumission books and copies/extracts of documents and wills freeing slaves; loose pamphlets and maps; and a complete set of the Maryland Colonization Journal, 1835-1861.

Extensive material in the correspondence reflects work of John H. B. Latrobe (1803-1891; Dr. James Hall (1802-1889); and John Brown Russwurm (1799-1851), long time governor of Maryland in Liberia.

Guide to the Maryland State Colonization Society records
Under Revision
William D. Hoyt, Jr. of Johns Hopkins University
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2019-09-06: Manually entered into ArchivesSpace by Emily Somach.

Repository Details

Part of the H. Furlong Baldwin Library Repository

H. Furlong Baldwin Library
Maryland Center for History and Culture
610 Park Avenue
Baltimore MD 21201 United States