Primary Contributors

Sadie Van Vranken, a Princeton University undergraduate, created an expanded list, essays, data visualizations, and the prototype website presented here during her internship at the American Antiquarian Society in 2018. Elizabeth Watts Pope, curator of books and digitized collections at AAS, continues to oversee the project through planning, supervising, writing, and editing.

However, Black Self-Publishing is the work of many more hands both at AAS and elsewhere. Christy Pottroff had the original idea for “the list” and created the first draft in 2018. Another Princeton University intern, Luke Henter, did additional work on the site. Early versions of the list and the prototype site benefited from feedback following presentations at C19: The Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico, March 22-25, 2018; "Black Bibliographia: Print/Culture/Art," Center for Material Culture Studies at the University of Delaware, April 26-27, 2019; "From Lists to Links: New Directions in Black Bibliography," Beinecke Library, Yale University, November 14-15, 2019; "Contextual Conversations: Representation and Digital Practice," Digital Commonwealth Conference (online), April 7, 2020.

The following American Antiquarian Society staff members were essential to the production of this site: photographer Nate Fiske photographed AAS collection material and produced the video; online services librarian Caroline Stoffel provided essential technical assistance at a moment's notice; the Omeka group at AAS gave valuable training, guidance, and advice. The project has been shepherded through the production process by the director of book history and digital initiatives (formerly Molly Hardy and currently Kevin Wisniewski), VP for programs and outreach Jim Moran, and finally interim VP for collections Lauren Hewes who gave the final push to get it out into the world.


Readex, a division of Newsbank, produced many of the images presented here. The full text of many titles listed on this site are digitized in Early American Imprints, American Slavery Collection, and Afro-Americana Imprints. More information about the publication histories of the self-published works listed on this site could be findable in Readex's African American Newspapers.

This site was made possible with generous support from Jay T. and Deborah Last, as well as Sidney Lapidus and the Princeton Internships in Civic Service (PICS) program.

Related Projects

  • Black Bibliography Project - Still in the planning stages, but aims to create a resource for reliable, centralized information about black-authored and black-published texts
  • Black Book Interactive Project AKA Project on the History of Black Writing - One of the first digital projects focused on black authors, focused on novels from 1853 to 1990
  • Black Past - Web-based reference center offers electronic versions (including transcripts) of primary documents, such as speeches, court decisions, government reports; timelines and bibliographies; “gateway pages” to digital archives, museum collections, research centers, black newspapers, and genealogical websites
  • Black Press Research Collective - Hub for information and scholarship on the role of newspapers in the black diaspora
  • Colored Conventions Project - Documents nineteenth-century Black collective organizing
  • Documenting the American South (DocSouth) - Started in 1996 with a pilot project on narratives of enslaved people, provides digital editions and additional content for Southern material
  • Early Caribbean Digital Archive - Collects digital versions of rare and scattered texts from across the Caribbean, with a focus on the recovery of black voices embedded in colonial writing

For a list of sources consulted, see methodology.

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