Collections and Resources, Digital Library, Literary, Special Collections

Historic Slavery Accounts Available for Purchase through DocSouth Books Partnership

Twelve historic accounts of African American slavery are newly available in reprint and online editions, thanks to a collaborative effort of the UNC Library and the University of North Carolina Press.

The venture, DocSouth Books, allows readers to purchase reprinted classic editions from the collections of the UNC Library. The books were originally scanned as part of the Library’s Documenting the American South (DocSouth) digital publishing program.

Beginning this month, UNC Press will offer bound print-on-demand copies of the books at prices ranging from $15 to $40. The Press will soon also make the books available as downloadable e-books.

The titles are slave narratives, or biographies and autobiographies of fugitive and former slaves. Included is Solomon Northup’s Twelve Years a Slave, recently slated for Hollywood adaptation by Brad Pitt.

The Library launched DocSouth in 1996 as a pilot to bring a small number of highlights from the stacks to a broader audience online. Today, DocSouth comprises fifteen collections of 1,454 digitized books, along with maps, images, oral histories, manuscripts, and primary source materials.

By converting some of those digital files to new print editions and even to e-books, access to rare materials has expanded greatly, said Jenn Riley, head of the Carolina Digital Library and Archives, which includes DocSouth.

“Users now have two new ways to engage with these books,” she said. “This collaboration with the UNC Press makes perfect sense as a way to expand the scope of DocSouth.”

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