This study is provided by Resource Center for Minority Data (RCMD).

New Orleans Slave Sale Sample, 1804-1862 (ICPSR 7423)

Principal Investigator(s): Fogel, Robert W.; Engerman, Stanley L.


This study 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.

Series: Economics of American Negro Slavery Series

Access Notes

  • 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.


The New Orleans Slave Sale Sample, 1804-1862, Dataset 0001 - Download All Files (5.616 MB)
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Study Description


Fogel, Robert W., and Stanley L. Engerman. NEW ORLEANS SLAVE SALE SAMPLE, 1804-1862. Compiled by Robert W. Fogel and Stanley L. Engerman, University of Rochester. ICPSR07423-v2. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [producer and distributor], 2008-08-04. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR07423.v2

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR07423.v2

Export Citation:

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


This study was funded by:

  • National Science Foundation

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    African Americans, Antebellum South (USA), history, nineteenth century, slave labor, slave ownership, slave populations, slave sales, slavery, Southern United States

Geographic Coverage:    Louisiana, New Orleans, United States

Time Period:   

  • 1804--1862

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.

Instructional materials for use with these data may be found at NEW ORLEANS SLAVE SAMPLE, 1804-1862 [INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS] (ICPSR 3464).

Additional information on the sources used in this study can be found in the following publications: Phillips, Ulrich Bonnell. AMERICAN NEGRO SLAVERY: A SURVEY OF THE SUPPLY, EMPLOYMENT AND CONTROL OF NEGRO LABOR AS DETERMINED BY THE PLANTATION REGIME. New York, NY: Appleton, 1918, Stephenson, Wendell Holmes. ISAAC FRANKLIN, SLAVE TRADER AND PLANTER OF THE OLD SOUTH: WITH PLANTATION RECORDS. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1938, and Wade, Richard C. SLAVERY IN THE CITIES: THE SOUTH, 1820-1860. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1964.

The data map is provided as an ASCII text file.

ICPSR constructed several new variables (V25-V34) to describe the fourth through the eighth child in a group, extracting this information from separate data records and entering it on the record of the principal slave. ICPSR also constructed Variable 46, "Index of Individual Price Quotation," allowing identification of those records in which the sale price applies only to the principal slave and not to a group of slaves sold as a lot.


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

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.
  • Created online analysis version with question text.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


Original ICPSR Release:   1984-05-11

Version History:

  • 2008-08-04 SAS, SPSS, and Stata setup files, SAS and Stata supplemental syntax files, SAS transport (CPORT) files, SPSS system files, and Stata system files were added to this data collection. SDA has been added to the study. Question text has been added to the codebooks. Value labels have been added to the variables. Missing value definitions were created for the following variables: V5, V8, V9, V11, V16, V20, V22, V24, V26, V28, V30, V32, V34, V39.

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