“In February 2023, the Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries announced the transition of the Center of Digital Humanities to its portfolio. This transition includes the stewardship of ongoing research projects that contribute to the university’s research profile and scholarly footprint, including the Slave Societies Digital Archive, which, after a long history of support and collaboration, finds a permanent home in the Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries.
The Slave Societies Digital Archive (SSDA), formerly known as the Ecclesiastical and Secular Sources for Slave Societies, is directed by Gertrude Conway Vanderbilt Professor of History Jane Landers and hosted at Vanderbilt University. Launched in 2003, its mission is to identify, catalog and digitally preserve endangered archival materials documenting the history of Africans and their descendants in the Atlantic World. The SSDA’s largest and oldest collections were generated by the Catholic Church, which mandated the baptism of African slaves beginning in the fifteenth century and later extended this requirement to the Iberian New World. The baptismal records preserved in this archive are the oldest and most uniform serial data available for the history of Africans in the Atlantic World and offer the most extensive information regarding their ethnic origins….”