Runaways from Slavery in New York’s Hudson River Valley


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Susan Stessin-Cohn and Ashley Hurlburt-Biagini’s book In Defiance: Runaways from Slavery in New York’s Hudson River Valley 1735-1831 (Black Dome, 2016) documents 607 fugitives from slavery in the 18th and 19th-century Hudson River Valley region of New York State through the reproduction and transcription of 512 archival newspaper notices for runaway slaves placed by their enslavers or agents.

Also included are notices advertising slaves captured, notices advertising slaves for sale, notices offering to purchase slaves, and selected runaway notices from outside the Hudson River Valley region. Nine tables analyze the data in the 512 notices for runaways from Hudson Valley enslavers, and the book includes a glossary, indexes of names, locations, and subjects, 36 illustrations, 5 maps from the 18th and 19th centuries, and a foreword by A.J. Williams-Myers, Black Studies Department, SUNY at New Paltz.

Susan Stessin-Cohn, former professor of social studies education at SUNY New Paltz and Director of Education at Historic Huguenot Street, is currently the Historian for the Town of New Paltz, New York. She is a recipient of the Bruce Dearstyne Award for excellence in the educational use of local government records; the New York State Archives Award for the best use of primary local documents in a curriculum in NYS; and the Pride of Ulster County Award for research on the Ulster County Poorhouse.

Ashley Hurlburt-Biagini is the former Manager of Collections and Archives at Historic Huguenot Street where, among her varied duties, she led student field schools in archaeology. Ashley and Susan have curated various exhibits including: Slavery in New York; Native American History in the Hudson Valley; Nineteenth-Century Women and Their Needle Arts; and Nineteenth-Century Mourning Customs.

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