Today’s digital feature is the Martha Ryan Cipher Book, SHC collection #1940-z. From the finding aid:
“School mathematics exercise book kept by Martha Ryan, probably of Perquimans County, N.C., circa 1781. The volume is bound in homespun fabric with ornate decorations on each page. Mottos, ship designs, and other patriotic decorations, and inscriptions such as “Liberty” or “George Washington” on many of the pages reflect the Revolutionary influence.”
We have digitized the entire cipher book. Please see the finding aid to view it online (once you reach the finding aid, scroll down and click on the link for “Folder 1” to view the digitized material). Enjoy!
The SHC has several wonderful projects available online that provide samples or portions of our collections, including: online exhibits, digitized historical images, maps, bound volumes, and other interesting online content. Today we wanted to share one such project with you. It’s called the Manigault Plantation Journal. It’s found by visiting the UNC Library homepage, then clicking on Digital Collections. Or you can go directly there by visiting this link:
The Manigault Plantation Journal, compiled by Louis Manigault between 1856 and 1879, includes information on plantation life, slaves and slavery, rice cultivation, market conditions, accounts, and other topics. Notes and memoranda kept by Charles Manigault regarding the plantations during the 1830s and 1840s were pasted into the journal. Pages of particular interest include:
A narrative of plantation life during the Civil War (pages 22-39)
A hand-drawn and colored illustration of Gowrie House (page 41)
A hand-drawn and colored illustration of the kitchen house at Gowrie Plantation (page 45)
A narrative of a post-Civil War visit to the plantations (pages 55-71)
A list of slaves, including their names and ages, who were sold at auction in Charleston, 13 January 1859 (page 140)
A photograph of “Dolly,” a runaway slave, and an accompanying description (page 179)
The image shown in this post is that photograph of “Dolly.” The accompanying description and the offer of a $50.00 reward for her return are real and heartbreaking reminders of the cruelties of slavery.
The Manigault Plantation Journal is part of the Manigault Family Papers (#484). An full inventory of the materials in this collection is available here.