Executions in the United States, 1608-1940: The ESPY File -- Summary Data of Executions Collected by M. Watt Espy Between 1986 and 1996 (ICPSR 23900)

Published: Dec 12, 2008

Principal Investigator(s):
M. Watt Espy; Howard Allen, Southern Illinois University - Carbondale; Jerome M. Clubb, University of Michigan


Version V1

This collection consists of four summary variables based on new data collected by M. Watt Espy between 1986 and 1996 after he corrected and updated the data in 1992. See the related collection, EXECUTIONS IN THE UNITED STATES, 1608-2002: THE ESPY FILE (ICPSR 8451). The summary variables consist of the ethnicity of the executed, the state, territory, district or colony of execution, the decade of execution, and the geographical region of execution. They were complete as of March 1, 1996.

Espy, M. Watt, Allen, Howard, and Clubb, Jerome M. Executions in the United States, 1608-1940: The ESPY File -- Summary Data of Executions Collected by M. Watt Espy Between 1986 and 1996. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2008-12-12. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR23900.v1

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National Science Foundation (SES 84-09725)

United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics

United States

1608 -- 1940

1986 -- 1996

Executions that occurred under civil authority in the United States or within territory that later became the United States.


state Department of Corrections records, newspapers, county histories, proceedings of state and local courts, holdings of historical societies, and other listings of executions

aggregate data

record abstracts



2008-12-12 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:

  • Performed consistency checks.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

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This dataset is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD), the criminal justice archive within ICPSR. NACJD is primarily sponsored by three agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.