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Freedmen's Aid Society records

Identifier: 0000-0000-0000-0038

Scope and contents

This microfilm collection of the Freedmen's Aid Society dates from 1866 to 1932 and provides a glimpse of the interworking of the organization. It largely contains different correspondence. The records also include financial records, annual reports, and record of meetings.


  • Creation: 1866-1932

Access restrictions

This collection is currently available for research on microfilm. Contact for more information.

Rights Statement

All materials in this collection are either protected by copyright and/or are the property of the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center, Inc., and/or the copyright holder as appropriate. For more information, please contact

Historical Note

The Freedmen’s Aid Society was an agency of the Methodist Episcopal Church created after the Civil War for the purpose of establishing schools and colleges for African Americans in the South. In 1866 the Methodist Episcopal Church held a convention in Cincinnati which organized the Freedmen's Aid Society. The regional annual conferences of the church approved the organization, and the General Conference, the decision-making body of the denomination, of 1868 passed resolutions sanctioning the society. All annual conferences were requested to take collections on its behalf, and the bishops were authorized to appoint a traveling preacher as the corresponding secretary. Richard Sutton Rust, a minister from New England and former president of Wilberforce University in Ohio, was selected as the first corresponding secretary and, subsequently, was reelected to this position by the General Conferences of 1872 and 1876.

A great part of the work of the society was in supporting teachers in various institutions begun by or connected with Freedmen’s Aid, and in preparing young men for the ministry. There were plans for the creation of a seminary as well. The society was directed by a Board of Managers, which was elected by the General Conference. The denomination also called upon its annual conferences to support the work of the society. The denomination continued to outline the duties and responsibilities of the Freedmen's Aid Society as an agency of the church until its reorganization in 1920. In 1920 the society was reorganized as the Board of Education for Negroes. At the creation of the Methodist Church in 1939, the Board of Education for Negroes and its work were absorbed into the work of the Board of Education.


40 Linear feet

Language of Materials



The records are organized into the following series: Series 1. Letterpress Books, Series 2. Receipt Books, Series 3. Stewart Missionary Foundation, Series 4. Educational Institutions, Series 5. General Correspondence, Series 6. Correspondence between Staff Members, Series 7. Personal Correspondence, Series 8. Remaining Documents, Series 9. Annual Reports, 1866-1924, and Series 10. Records of Board and Committee Meetings, 1866-1924.

Freedmen's Aid Society records, 1866-1932
Under Revision
Finding aid prepared by Amber Anderson, 2020 April
April 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center, Inc. Repository


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