Wednesday, February 1, 2012

St. Louis, Missouri in 1851...For Sale: A Human Being

I recently added an original issue of the St. Louis newspaper, Daily Missouri Republican (August 12, 1851) to my collection.

The first thing you notice upon opening the newspaper is that this is One. Big. Paper. It measure about 24 inches wide and 30 inches'd need to have a big breakfast table to read this one in the morning.

The newspaper includes several items of interest to me, mostly advertisements.

There are of course the patent medicine and local drug business advertisements which always appeal to me, including this small section (of a full 30 inch column) for Mortimore's Rheumatic Compound and Blood Purifier (I believe it was a locally produced remedy, but I am doing more research).

But, on this first day of African-American History Month 2012, what really struck me were the advertisements for slaves for sale or hire and an ad for a reward for a runaway slave:

The most interesting by far, though, is this a
dvertisement for insurance for slaves. I've been building a vertical file of material for a future article on insurance companies and the Civil War (some well known companies have great Civil War stories and have maintained their corporate records and history quite well). And, beginning in 2000, several states enacted laws requiring insurance companies doing business in their state to provide any information regarding their role in issuing slave insurance policies.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Intriguing stuff. Bodies are a bit grizzly, but the adds for runaways are so telling about attitudes of the time.