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Descriptors and Measurements of the Height of Runaway Slaves and Indentured Servants in the United States, 1700-1850 (ICPSR 9721)

Principal Investigator(s):


The purpose of this data collection was to provide data on the height of slaves and indentured servants in the colonial and antebellum periods of United States history. Data were taken from newspaper advertisements describing the runaways. Variables include the state in which the advertisement was published, the year of the advertisement, the first and last names of the runaway slave or indentured servant, and his or her race, sex, age, height, place of birth, legal status (whether he or she was a convict or in jail at time of advertisement), profession, and knowledge of the English language.

Access Notes

  • These data are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions. Because you are not logged in, we cannot verify that you will be able to download these data.


DS0:  Study-Level Files
DS1:  Runaway Slave Height Measurements - Download All Files (0.9 MB)
DS2:  Runaway Slave Height Descriptors - Download All Files (0.2 MB)
DS3:  Runaway Indentured Servant Height Measurements - Download All Files (1 MB)
DS4:  Runaway Indentured Servant Height Descriptors - Download All Files (0.1 MB)
DS6:  White Male Indentured and Convict Servant Height Measurements - Download All Files (1.5 MB)
DS7:  White Male Indentured and Convict Servant Height Descriptors - Download All Files (0.3 MB)

Study Description


Komlos, John. DESCRIPTORS AND MEASUREMENTS OF THE HEIGHT OF RUNAWAY SLAVES AND INDENTURED SERVANTS IN THE UNITED STATES, 1700-1850. 2nd ICPSR version. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh, Dept. of History [producer], 1989. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2001. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR09721.v2

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Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   American Colonies, Antebellum South (USA), body height, eighteenth century, indentured servants, nineteenth century, physical characteristics, runaway slaves, slaves

Geographic Coverage:   United States

Time Period:  

  • 1700--1850

Date of Collection:  

  • 1988--1989

Data Types:   event/transaction data


Data Source:

colonial newspapers in the United States

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Standardized missing values.


Original ICPSR Release:  

Version History:

  • 2006-01-12 All files were removed from dataset 5 and flagged as study-level files, so that they will accompany all downloads.
  • 2005-11-04 On 2005-03-14 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-11-04 to reflect these additions.
  • 2001-06-05 Part 6, White Male Indentured and Convict Servant Height Measurements, and Part 7, White Male Indentured and Convict Servant Height Descriptors, have been added to this data collection. The codebook was updated with documentation for the new data and is now available as a PDF file. Also, SPSS data definition statements are now available for all data files, and SAS data definition statements are available for Parts 6 and 7 only.

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