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Children at Work

The indenture contract of nine-year-old Elizabeth Fortune reveals the opportunities available to young free black women in colonial New York.


The Business of Slavery

These pages from the log book of the Sloop Rhode Island starkly demonstrate the treatment of enslaved people during the Middle Passage.


A Woman of Business

This letter from Mary Alexander illuminates women’s roles in the thriving trade of British New York.


Spinning Wheels, Spinning Bees

Colonial women used spinning wheels like this one to create homespun thread that could be woven into fabric. In the lead-up to the American Revolution, spinning became an overtly political act, because it allowed women to avoid paying tax on imported British textiles and supported the general political protest against English policies.