Documentary Sources on the UGRR in NYS

Following are descriptions of the principal sources used in the development of this website. As additional sources are used to locate or identify information, they will be added to the list. The long-range plan for this page is to develop a finding aid in the form of a database that can be continuously improved and updated, much like the People and Places pages on this site. The finding aid would cover the full range of historical documents related to the UGRR in NYS, and include descriptions of the related holdings of libraries, historical societies, and private collections.

The beginning point for creation of this site was the list of individual names provided in the index to Wilbur H. Seibert's The Underground Railroad. Additional material has been derived from the text of Siebert's book, other books, and various websites. Some material prepared by NY History Net for other websites has been linked or incorporated into the pages of this site. Comments on the sources are those of the website editor.


Siebert, Wilbur H., The Underground Railroad
Originally published in 1898; reprinted 1968 by Arno Press and The New York Times. Siebert was a History professor at Ohio State University, and presents a sympathetic view of the subject. While Siebert makes a serious effort at scholarship, the limitations of primary source materials caused him to rely on secondary sources, and on the recollections of the abolitionists still living at the time of his research. He drew on the publications of William Still and others, on newspaper and magazine articles, and on personal correspondence with several prominent abolitionists, including Frederick Douglass who were still alive at the time of his research. He does not appear to have been fastidious in distinguishing sympathetic abolitionsists from those who actually took part in underground activities. His collection of materials (32 ft.) is with the Ohio Historical Society in Columbus.

Merrill, Arch, The Underground (Freedom's Road)
Merrill was a Rochester journalist who wrote books about Upstate New York. This book appears thoughtful and authoritative, but provide no index or footnotes, and makes only passing references to sources. Merrill makes an effort to distinguish between sympathetic abolitionists and people who actually participated in the UGRR. He gives what appears to be a fair assessment of the probabilities, for example ruling in Asa Anthony (Susan B.'s uncle) but ruling out Daniel (her father), both of whom are listed by Siebert.

Hunter, Carol M., To Set the Captives Free - Reverend Jermain Wesley Loguen and the Struggle for Freedom in Central New York 1835-1872
A scholarly work, published by Garland Publishing, Hunter's book provides extensive detail on the relationships surrounding the Stationmaster of the what was one of the most openly operated Stations on the Underground Railroad. She sheds particular light on the central roles played by African Americans.

Blockson, Chas. R , Hippocrene Guide to the Underground Railroad
A broad effort to collect information about sites throughout the country, this book includes individuals and sites in NYS not noted by Siebert. Blockson often connects sites and individuals, such as the home occupied by Susan B. Anthony after the Civil War. There are some errors in the story of the Jerry Rescue.


The Underground Railroad Bibliography by Carole Marks, University of Maryland

The Gerrit Smith Virtual Museum

The Harriet Tubman Home Page

Women's Rights National Historical Park (photos of Rochester activists)

Mount Hope Cemetery (gravesites of Susan B. Anthony and family)

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