History of the Project

The Visualizing Abolition project started in 2014 thanks to the support of an Arts & Humanities Grant, awarded by the University of Missouri Office of Research. The project intended to map the suppression of the African slave trade in the nineteenth century by tracing the correspondence exchanged between the British Foreign Office and British commissioners, ministers, naval officers, as well as representatives of foreign powers located around the world. The Arts & Humanities Grant allowed us to build the structure of the correspondence database and to collect data from 25,953 letters from the Foreign Office Slave Trade Series available in the British Parliamentary Papers, but we still had a lot more ground to cover.

In 2015, a Discovery Fellow from the University of Missouri Honors College joined the project and extended the number of letters listed in the database to 30,963. Although we will never know exactly how many letters were exchanged, that number comprises the totality in the series explored and no doubt the majority of all missives actually swapped. In the following year, we presented some of our preliminary results in papers delivered at the 58th Missouri Conference on History, the 2016 Mid-America Alliance for African Studies, and in a poster exhibited at the Spring 2016 University of Missouri Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievements Forum. We also applied to and received an Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities (ASH) Scholarship from the Honors College and the Office of Undergraduate Research, both at the University of Missouri.

The ASH Scholarship provided us with an expanded team of researchers who not only added data to our database, but also gathered images to provide visual context to the information collected and examined the database as well as other sources in research papers and posters presented at the 59th Missouri Conference on History, the 2017 National Conference on Undergraduate Research, the Spring 2017 University of Missouri Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievements Forum, and the Smithsonian National Museum Day Celebration at the University of Missouri Museum of Art & Archaeology. Further, they created the present website through which we have now the pleasure of sharing the project’s data with other researchers, students, and members of the public. We hope you enjoy our project and, should you like to keep yourself up to date with our research, please follow us on Facebook.

Team Members

Principal Investigators
Daniel B. Domingues da Silva is assistant professor of African History at Rice University and author of The Atlantic Slave Trade from West Central Africa, 1780-1867 (Cambridge University Press, 2017).
Linda Reeder is associate professor of Modern European History at the University of Missouri and author of Widows in White: Migration and the Transformation of Rural Italian Women, Sicily, 1880-1920 (University of Toronto Press, 2002).
Graduate Researchers
Luke Schleif, Database Developer. History, Class of 2018.
ASH Scholars
Academic Year 2016-2017
Ellie Cherryhomes, Periodical Researcher. Journalism, Honors College, Class of 2019.
Humera Lodhi, Programmer. Journalism and Statistics, Honors College, Class of 2019.
Sam Mosher, Database and Periodical Researcher. Journalism, Honors College, Class of 2020.
Kelsey Rogers, Web Designer and Programmer. Anthropology, Honors College, Class of 2017.
Katelyn Ziegler, Discovery Fellow and Database Manager. History, Honors College, Class of 2018.
Fall 2016
Kennedy Horton, Content Developer. English, Class of 2019.
Des McCray, Content Developer. English, Class of 2018.
Matthew Orf, Database Researcher. History, Honors College, Class of 2019.
Spring 2017
Andrew Hutchinson, Content Developer. History and Sociology, Class of 2017.
Sarah Jolley, Content Manager and Developer. History and English, Honors College, Class of 2019.
Keena Thomas, Database Researcher. Sociology, Honors College, Class of 2018.

Conditions and Permissions

Type of ContentUse RestrictionsCitation Example
DataHistorical Data falls under the Public Domain, use restrictions do not apply.Format: [name of database]. [latest year of publication data]. Visualizing Abolition: A Digital History of the Suppression of the African Slave Trade 1808-1900. [website URL] (Accessed Month, Day, Year)
ImagesDigitized Images: Contact the institution that provided the digital copy and/or holds the original.Format: [title provided for digital image]. JPG. Visualizing Abolition: A Digital History of the Suppression of the African Slave Trade 1808-1900. [URL] (Accessed Month, Day, Year)
TextAll text on the site, including essays, acknowledgements, and descriptions are covered by a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International LicenseFormat: [author of essay]. [title of essay]. [title of website] [publication date of essay]. See How to Cite below for examples. 
VideoCreative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

How to Cite

Citations vary according to the style users adopt (MLA, APA, Chicago Manual of Style, etc.). To cite the website according to the Chicago Manual of Style, for example, we recommend the following:

“Visualizing Abolition: A Digital History of the Suppression of the African Slave Trade,” 2017. Accessed April 25, 2017.

To cite a specific essay within the website using the same citation style, users may do so in the following manner:

Cherryhomes, Ellie  and Sam Mosher, “The Campaign in The Illustrated London News.” Visualizing Abolition: A Digital History of the Suppression of the African Slave Trade, 2017, Accessed April 25, 2017.


Honors College

Founded in 1958, with a current enrollment of over 2550 students, an alumni base of nearly 11,000, almost 200 unique courses offered every year, an active faculty of over 160 of MU’s most accomplished scholars, and over $1.6 million in endowed scholarships, the Honors College at the University of Missouri seeks to serve a diverse group of high-achieving students, with majors in nearly every discipline from Engineering to Art, so that they can excel in all facets of their education.

Language Resource Lab

The ASC Language Resource Laboratory is a digital media resource facility for language learning. Located on the lower level of the Arts & Science Building, the Lab is a support service for language faculty members who wish to include a digital classroom component in their courses or to augment instruction with CD-ROM or video components. The Lab is open seventy hours a week for students engaged in language learning activities.

Office of Research

Our Research Division focuses on University’s research, instruction, and public service activities. It oversees compliance and export controls, facilities security, and resources related to human subjects and animal research. Our goal is to create a research-centered academic ecosystem — a network that fosters connections between MU research and all of the institution’s other activities while creating a broader foundation for research support among internal and external stakeholders. The Research Division also actively promotes the value and outcomes of MU research and scholarship by direct public outreach via sophisticated, user-friendly print and digital communications.

Office of Undergraduate Research

The Office of Undergraduate Research was established to facilitate collaboration among existing undergraduate research programs, promote undergraduate research to internal and external audiences, and encourage new initiatives to create and enhance undergraduate research opportunities. Unlike most classroom experiences, undergraduate research programs at Mizzou allow students to explore the unknown through hands-on work with faculty mentors.

University of Missouri Libraries

The Libraries serve a student body of 35,441 plus a faculty of 2,121, and, as of July 2013, had a collection of more than 3.9 million print volumes, over 1 million ebooks, 53,400 journal titles (in print or online), and over 7.5 million microforms. With an annual budget of $18 million, the Libraries support the instruction, research, service, and economic development missions of the University of Missouri. By acquiring scholarly resources, developing innovative services, and applying new information technologies, the Libraries fulfill their primary purpose: to serve our users.

Special Thanks

This website would not have been possible without the help and support of several people. With apologies for any regrettable omissions, we would like to thank especially the following individuals.

David Amponsah

Anne Barker

Linda Blockus

J.D. Bowers

Rachel Brekhus

Lawrence Celani

Daive Dunkley

Felicity Dykas

Keona Ervin

Mark Jarvis

Theodore Koditschek

Tammy McNiel

Kyle James Miers

Jenifer Pilz-Coulibaly

Jay Sexton

Mike Watson

Richard Winkel