The Pinney Papers and the West Indies

Pinney Papers 

These manuscripts form one of the most comprehensive family collections in the country and one that has been the focus of much research, having been in the public domain for many decades. The records trace the Pinney family from the seventeenth century and include letters of Hester Pinney, a businesswoman of some acumen, who negotiated the freedom of her Monmouth rebel brother, Azariah, who went on to lay the groundwork of the family’s West India fortune in Nevis. There are major series of account books and letter books, bearing both on plantation management and estate and household matters in England. Deeds, receipts, diaries and scrapbooks flesh out the social and economic record.

West Indies-related manuscripts

Offering a broad representation of islands and estates, this collection is composed chiefly of legal documents, such as mortgages and marriage settlements, which give snapshots of plantation life and property. Other materials include a small cache of correspondence relating to slaving voyages from members of the Duncomb family and papers relating to a claim for compensation for damage sustained by the Westerhall Plantation of Grenada during an uprising.

West India printed holdings 

These holdings include histories of the region and individual islands by the likes of Edwards and Southey. There are accounts written by planters, doctors and visitors, and much that addresses the controversy surrounding the campaigns for the abolition of the slave trade and slavery itself, such as the rare anti-slavery handbill, The Petition of the Sharks of Africa.

Illustration showing houses, huts and plantation, with people at work, against a background of mountains.
West Indian plantation illustration from the Encyclop├ędie (1751-1780).

A medieval manuscript. Online Archive Catalogue

Contains descriptions of many of our archive collections.

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