The Sutliff Family Papers

Sutliff homestead photograph

Ohio formed the western frontier of the antislavery movement in the mid-nineteenth century.  It was often called the second “burned over district” (with upstate New York being the first) for its commitment to evangelical reform movements. This project presents documents related to the antislavery movement in this region for scholarly use.

The papers of the Sutliff family of Trumbull County, Ohio form the first phase of the project. Most of the documents are linked to three brothers: Levi, Flavel, and Milton Sutliff and shed important light on the abolition movement and politics in Ohio,  the region, and the nation. Levi Sutliff was a founding member of the American Anti-Slavery Society and active in Liberty Party politics in Ohio. Flavel Sutliff was the law partner of abolitionist congressman Joshua Giddings, and  many letters in the collection detail Giddings’s first term in Congress. Milton Sutliff, also an abolitionist, was  a prominent lawyer and Ohio Supreme Court justice.

The Sutliff Family Papers are divided into several collections. Documents relating to the antislavery movement and abolitionist activities in Ohio and the West are gathered into Antislavery Documents from Ohio’s Western Reserve. Other documents are organized by subject or under the name of the individual most featured therein. Many of these documents are presented here for the first time. To date, all documents in the collection have been digitally scanned. The Omeka-powered collections are searchable, and include various options for downloading and viewing. Transcriptions and annotation will follow as the project progresses. All of the original documents from this first phase of the project are housed at the Sutliff Museum in Warren, Ohio.

The Sutliff Collections