This study is provided by ICPSR. ICPSR provides leadership and training in data access, curation, and methods of analysis for a diverse and expanding social science research community.

New Orleans Slave Sample, 1804-1862 [Instructional Materials] (ICPSR 3464)

Principal Investigator(s): Oberly, James W., University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Department of History


These instructional materials were prepared for use with NEW ORLEANS SLAVE SALE SAMPLE, 1804-1862 (ICPSR 7423), compiled by Robert W. Fogel and Stanley L. Engerman. The data file (an SPSS portable file) and accompanying documentation are provided to assist educators in instructing students about the economics of slavery and the lives of the people recorded in the slave market. An instructor's handout is also included. This handout contains the following sections, among others: (1) general goals for student analysis of quantitative datasets, (2) specific goals in studying this dataset, (3) suggested appropriate courses for use of the dataset, (4) tips for using the dataset, and (5) related secondary source readings. The dataset includes data on slave sales that occurred on the New Orleans slave market between 1804-1862. For each sale, information was recorded on the date of the sale, the number of slaves on the invoice, the geographical origin of the buyer and seller, the sale price, and characteristics of the slaves sold (age, sex, family relationship, and occupation). The information presented for each transaction was obtained from the notarized bills of sale in the New Orleans Notarial Archival Office. These bills often contained information on several persons who were sold in a group or as a "lot." Whenever feasible, sale and personal characteristics of individuals appearing in such groups were entered on separate records. This was usually done when separate sale prices were recorded for each member of the group. When separate prices were not recorded for children sold in a group, information describing those children was attached to the record of a principal slave with whom they were associated on the original bill of sale.

Access Notes

  • This study is intended for instructional use, and may be subsets of the original data. Variables and/or cases may have been removed to facilitate classroom use.

  • Data in this collection are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions. Please log in so we can determine if you are with a member institution and have access to these data files.


Dataset - Download All Files (1.835 MB)

Study Description


Oberly, James W. New Orleans Slave Sample, 1804-1862 [Instructional Materials]. ICPSR03464-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2002-11-27. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR03464.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR03464.v1

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)


This study was funded by:

  • University of Wisconsin. Office of Professional and Instructional Development

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    African Americans, Antebellum South (USA), instructional materials, nineteenth century, slave labor, slave ownership, slave populations, slave sales, slavery

Geographic Coverage:    Louisiana, New Orleans, United States

Time Period:   

  • 1804--1862

Date of Collection:   

  • 1989--2002

Universe:    Slave sales on the New Orleans slave market between 1804-1862.

Data Type(s):    administrative records data

Data Collection Notes:

This collection was archived by ICPSR to promote the use of social science data in undergraduate and graduate education through the sharing of faculty-submitted ICPSR data-based instructional materials developed for use in the classroom.

These materials were designed for use with the dataset NEW ORLEANS SLAVE SALE SAMPLE, 1804-1862 (ICPSR 7423).

The data are provided as an SPSS portable file, which was created from the ASCII data and SPSS data definition statement files available from ICPSR 7423.


Sample:    Depending on the period of the sale transaction, either 2.5 percent or 5 percent of the bills of sale for each year were drawn to form the final sample.

Data Source:

notarized bills of sale stored in the New Orleans Notarial Archival Office


Original ICPSR Release:   2002-11-27


Metadata Exports

If you're looking for collection-level metadata rather than an individual metadata record, please visit our Metadata Records page.

Download Statistics