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United States Labor History

Selected Primary Sources

Indentured Servitude

The emergence of American Labor
"On August 5, 1774, just a month before the First Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia, the ship Needham landed in New York from Newry, England, Captain William Cunningham, master. The ship's cargo was white indentured servants. On arrival they protested to the authorities that they had been kidnapped in Ireland and had suffered "bad usage" on the voyage across the Atlantic."--Excerpt

Indenture Contract of William Buckland  
August 4, 1755

Indentured Servants in Maryland 
Laws, information and primary source links

“I Was Sure of Getting a Trade”:
John Fitch's Long Journey Towards Becoming an Artisan

Laws of Indentured Servants
August 3, 1619

“Our Plantation Is Very Weak”:
The Experiences of an Indentured Servant in Virginia, 1623

Slavery and Indentured Servants
Law Library of Congress

Search the Registers of Servants Sent to Foreign Plantations, 1654-1686
A database of indenture contracts

Servants and Slaves and their legal disposition 1619, Virginia
Thomas D. Russell, Sturm College of Law, University of Denver

Alba Reynaga
Reference Librarian

First Hand Accounts of Virginia, 1575-1705

First Hand Accounts of Virginia, 1575-1705 
Indenture Contract of Richard Lowther

"THIS WRITEING INDENTED made the Last day of July/Anno Dom 1627 And in the Third yeare of the raigne of our  Sovraigne Lord Charles by the Grace of God king of England Scotland France and Ireland Defender of the faith &c. betweene Richard Lowther of Broome in the Parish of South well [i.e., Southill] in the County of Bedford brewer of thone party and Edward Hurd Citizen and Ironmonger of London of thither party witnesseth that the said Richard Lowther…"
(Read more of this excerpt of indentured servitude.)