The Slave Societies Digital Archive (formerly Ecclesiastical and Secular Sources for Slave Societies), directed by Jane Landers and hosted at Vanderbilt University, preserves endangered ecclesiastical and secular documents related to Africans and African-descended peoples in slave societies. SSDA holdings include more than 700,000 digital images drawn from close to 2,000 unique volumes dating from the sixteenth through twentieth centuries that document the lives of an estimated four to six million individuals. This collection contains the most extensive serial records for the history of Africans in the Atlantic World, and also includes valuable information about the indigenous, European, and Asian populations who lived alongside them.

On this website, you will find areas dedicated to each geographic entity where SSDA has worked and additional resources to assist in your research. We welcome feedback and encourage researchers to share any work that they develop using the Slave Societies Digital Archive.



The SSDA Brazil collection consists of seventeenth- through nineteenth-century secular and ecclesiastical documents, primarily from the present-day states of Rio de Janeiro and Paraíba. In addition to the documents themselves, this section of the archive contains information on the development of the projects as well as a small selection of transcriptions and volume descriptions.

The SSDA Colombia Collection consists of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century colonial church records, notarial records, photographs, and maps from the First Notary of Quibdó, the Notary of Buenaventura, and the First Notary of Riohacha (on the Caribbean coast of Colombia). 

The SSDA Cuba Collection contains ecclesiastical and secular documents from the provinces of Cienfuegos, Havana, Holguín, and Matanzas. 

The SSDA St. Augustine Collection contains the ecclesiastical documents of the Diocese of St. Augustine. These are the oldest serial records for persons of African descent in what is today the United States (1594-1882). The Diocesan records also document European and Indian Catholics from the sixteenth to the late nineteenth century and capture the multi-racial and multi-ethnic history of Florida. 




21  /  10  /  2021

Dr. Joshua Rothman discusses his book The Ledger and the Chain: How Domestic Slave Traders Shaped America.


15  /  10  /  2021

UNESCO Second Regional Experts Consultation on Racism


01 /  10  /  2021

"Other African Diasporas," conference at Vanderbilt University's Digital Commons.