'Black Schools' in Canada, America and the Bahamas, 1645-1900

The archives of the Associates of Dr Bray to 1900

The archives of the Associates of Dr Bray to 1900

[The books] are come over very seasonably, as the Society are about settling some Negroe schools in these parts, in which they will be of the greatest service
Rev. Alistair GardenCharles Town, Sept 1742

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This religious society founded schools for black children in North America

The Associates of Dr Bray was a philanthropic group established in 1724 by the English clergyman and abolitionist Thomas Bray. The group’s purpose was to educate black slaves and Native Americans in British North America. This collection contains correspondence files, minute books, and financial reports compiled by the Associates during the period 1724-1900. It also includes some relevant documents that pre-date the organisation itself. The collection therefore provides a useful guide to the development and subsequent decline of the Associates specifically and changing attitudes towards slavery more generally.


'Black Schools' in Canada, America and the Bahamas, 1645-1900...

Containing 24,025 pages belonging to 89 documents housed in 7 volumes...

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Administrative records and letters of the Associates

BRAY/f These documents include minute books, letter books and account books for the Associates of Dr Bray. The minute books...

Printed books in the archive

BRAY/Printed Books These items were intended to be used for religious guidance. The majority of these texts were published between...

Rules and reports of the Associates

BRAY/REP. These documents discuss the founding ambitions of the Associates of Dr Bray and the rules of the organisation; through...

Correspondence and records for schools in America

BRAY/N.AMERICA. Four boxes of correspondence between those in various locations within America and the Associates. The correspondence covers donations, including...


  • These items include copies of some 17th and 18th century books that were intended to provide religious guidance. Most of these books were written by the society's founder Thomas Bray.
  • Reviews of libraries reveal which books the associates were using to teach the local populations they lived with. Some of these missionaries' libraries were located in England.
  • The society's accounts enable the reader to see how finances affected the spread of the schools and how the associates tried to address falling donations during the 19th century.
  • The Canadian correspondence focuses on establishing schools in Nova Scotia. The schools were in Digby, Halifax, Hammonds Plains, and Birchtown.
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