May 19, 2022

Readex to Launch Digital Edition of the Library Company of Philadelphia’s Collection of Afro-Americana

From a Readex Announcement:

A digital edition of Afro-Americana, 1535-1922: From the Library Company of Philadelphia will be introduced in late Spring 2012 by Readex, a division of NewsBank. Created from the Library Company’s acclaimed collection—an accumulation that began with Benjamin Franklin and has steadily increased throughout its entire history—this unique new online resource will provide researchers with more than 12,000 wide-ranging printed works about African American history.


“The Library Company’s Afro-Americana Collection is one of the most comprehensive and valuable archives of printed material by and about people of African descent anywhere in the world,” says Professor Richard Newman of the Rochester Institute of Technology. “From early descriptions of African society and culture to the black struggle for justice in the Americas during the 19th century, it remains a touchstone for scholars and students alike. To have it available online and at your fingertips in a searchable format will be a dream come true.”

The works in this collection, many of which are quite rare, span nearly 400 years, from the early 16th to the early 20th century. Examples include David Walker’s 1829 Appeal . . . to the Colored Citizens of the World, but in Particular, and Very Expressly to Those of the United States of America, a militant attack on both southern slavery and efforts to colonize free blacks; Lydia Maria Child’s 1833 essay, An Appeal in Favor of That Class of Americans Called Africans; William Still’s The Underground Rail Road: A Record of Facts, Authentic Narratives, Letters, &c., Narrating the Hardships, Hair-breadth Escapes, and Death Struggles of the Slaves in Their Efforts for Freedom (1872); William J. Simmons’ Men of Mark: Eminent, Progressive and Rising (1887); and Booker T. Washington’s The Story of the Negro: The Rise of the Race from Slavery, published in 1909.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.