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National History Day 2022-2023: Frontiers in History

Abolitionists and Prison Reformers

From slavery to mass incarceration, abolition has remained a constant concern for activists throughout American history. Below you'll find organizations and individuals whose work relates to abolition and prison reform available at the Schlesinger Library, including archival material, books, and journals and newsletters covering the topic. Materials that have been digitized and are available for remote access are listed first for each category, and materials that must be accessed in-person are listed second.

Additionally, researchers working on projects related to this topic will find the Schlesinger Library's Women and the Criminal Justice System Guide and Harvard University's open access collection on "Slavery, Abolition, Emancipation and Freedom" of interest.

Further material on the topic can be found by searching HOLLIS, Harvard's online library catalog, for "abolition," "abolitionist," "prison reform," "women's prisons," and "criminal justice system."

Archival Collections - Online

Archival Collections - In-Person

Published Materials

The library's published material collections are a rich source of information. Below, you'll find a sampling of books, journals, and newsletters available to researchers online and researchers able to visit the library in-person, but a much larger selection is available through HOLLIS, Harvard University's catalog. To find material available at the Schlesinger Library, use the "Advanced Search" feature and limit your search to "Library Catalog." Choose "Schlesinger" from the "Scope" drop-down menu. Finally, select "Books" or "Journals" from the "Resource Type" drop-down menu. This search results list for the keyword "abolition" serves as an example of the breadth of books available in the Schlesinger Library's collection.

Please note that some materials labeled as available "Online" in the library catalog may require HarvardKey access for remote access. During an in-person visit, you can access those materials on the Library's public computers.

Books and Essays - Online

Journals and Newsletters - Online

Journals and Newsletters - In-Person