Miscellaneous Occupations & Economic Activities

  • Gathering Firewood, Virginia, 1868

    Captioned Colored People Gathering Fire-wood -- A Winter Scene in Virginia, shows a group of men and women in winter dress, with child looking on. Although published in the post-emancipation period, this scene, sketched by W. L. Sheppard, could also serve for the later slave period.
  • Interior of the Seabrook Tobacco Warehouse at Richmond, Virginia

    This engraving shows a number of men loading tobacco into barrels in a large warehouse in Richmond, Virginia. The Seabrook warehouse had about twenty-one laborers, all black, at a time when Virginia was the leading producer of tobacco in the United States. Harper's Weekly: A Journal of Civilization was an American political magazine based in New York City and published by Harper & Brothers from 1857 until 1916. It featured foreign and domestic news, fiction, essays on many subjects and humor, alongside illustrations. It covered the American Civil War extensively, including many illustrations of events from the war.
  • Fishing Canoe, Brazil, 1816

    Canoes are long and of just width sufficient to allow of two men sitting abreast. I have seen in one of them as many as sixteen men in two rows . . . these fellows are mostly dark-colored mulattoes and blacks (Koster, p. 175).
  • Transporting Tobacco to Market, near Richmond, Virginia, 1873-74

    Captioned, The old method of getting tobacco to market, a man with a whip is driving a mule and oxen team that is hauling a huge hogshead. The tobacco leaf is the most troublesome as well as the most remunerative staple which the Virginian planter can raise (p. 634). Original sketch made by J. Wells Chamney who accompanied the author during 1873 and the spring and summer of 1874. Although relating to the post-emancipation period, the scene evokes the later ante-bellum years.
  • Announcing a Tobacco Sale, Lynchburg, Virginia, 1873-74

    A man is blowing a horn by which buyers are summoned to a tobacco sale (p. 560). Original sketch made by J. Wells Chamney who accompanied the author during 1873 and the spring and summer of 1874. Although relating to the post-emancipation period, the scene evokes the later ante-bellum years.
  • Street Paving, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1850s

    Captioned, The Three-Man Beetle, the author describes how streets are paved in Rio: The paving-ram is the 'three-man beetle' of Shakespeare. A trio of slaves are called to their work by a rapid solo executed with a hammer upon an iron bar. The three seize the ram: oneóthe maestro, distinguished by a hatówails forth a ditty, which the others join in chorus, at the same time lifting the beetle from the ground and bringing it down with a heavy blow . . . (p. 87); the process is repeated again and again, accompanied by the characteristic call and response pattern. The same illustration appears in later editions of Kidder's work, e.g., 1866 (6th ed.), 1879 (9th ed.).
  • Carters Transporting Goods, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1850s

    Captioned, The Rio team (now abolished), this illustration shows a group of five stalwart Africans pulling and pushing a dray or low cart heavily loaded with goods that were recently unloaded from a ship. Formerly, the author writes, all this labor was performed by human hands, and scarcely a cart or a dray was used in the city, unless . . . it was drawn by Negroes. Carts and wagons propelled by horse-power are now quite common . . . (p. 29). The same illustration appears in later editions of this work, e.g., 1866 (6th ed.), 1879 (9th ed.).
  • Porters with Sugar Hogshead, Brazil, 1840s

    A group of eight men, carrying a large hogshead of sugar suspended from poles by ropes. Burdens are . . . more frequently carried upon the shoulders, since the principal exports . . . being sugar in cases, and cotton in bales, it is impossible that they should be borne on the head like bags of coffee. Immense numbers of tall, athletic negroes, are seen moving in pairs or gangs of four, six, or eight, with their loads suspended between them on heavy poles (Kidder, p. 20). A slightly modified version of this engraving, captioned porters of Bahia, is published and described in Kidder's, Brazil and the Brazilians (New York and Philadelphia, 1857), pp. 475-476; also later editions. The image in Kidder's volume is a slightly modified and reversed version of one that originally appeared in Debret's Voyage Pittoresque et Historique au Bresil (see image JCB_07385-3).
  • Washerwoman with Her Child, Brazil, 1840s

    Passing up [the river] banks you see scores of lavandeiras, or washerwomen, standing in the stream and beating their clothes upon the boulders of rock . . . . Many of these washerwomen go from the city early in the morning, carrying their huge bundles of soiled linen on their heads, and at evening return with them . . . groups of infant children are seen playing around [their] mothers while they work . . . most of them have been carried there on the backs of the heavily burdened slaves. Female slaves, of every occupation, may be seen carrying about their children in the manner represented by the [wood]cut (Kidder, p. 126).
  • Barber Shop, Richmond, Virginia, 1853

    Caption, A Barber's Shop at Richmond, Virginia. The accompanying article (p. 216) says nothing about this scene. The original eyewitness drawing was done by the English artist Eyre Crowe who visited Richmond for a few days in early March 1853. Crowe also published this engraving, titled, An American Barber, Richmond, Va, in his book With Thackeray in America (New York, 1893), p. 139; however, the scene is not described and it is unknown if the black barber was enslaved or free.
  • Negros como los criollos

    "Negroes like creoles" (caption translation). Title of drawing, translated: Creolized blacks steal money from their masters and give it to Indian prostitutes; shows an African man, fully clothed with cap and shoes, giving money to a barefoot Indian woman. Felipe Huaman Poma de Ayala (1535–c. 1616), also known as Guamán Poma or Wamán Poma, was a Quechua nobleman from southern Peru known for chronicling the ill treatment of indigenous groups in the Andes after the Spanish conquest. He wrote this over 1,200-page manuscript between 1600 and 1615. It included 398 full-page drawings - seven of which depict enslaved Africans. The original manuscript is in the Danish Royal Library, Copenhagen and a complete digital facsimile, which includes the drawings, is available The Guaman Poma website. The title translations we use are taken from the website. The drawing is in Chapter 25, image 277, of the original manuscript. See also Frederick P. Bowser, The African Slave in Colonial Peru, 1524-1650 (Stanford University Press, 1974), passim, for the historical context of this drawing.
  • Tanbos requa que paza en este reino

    "A Tanbos Pack that Passes through this Kingdom" (caption translation). Poma de Ayala described in the image "a Spanish traveler and his African muleteer on their journey to the royal inn." A Tambo from the Quechua "tampu," means "inn." This Inca structure was found along trade routes for administrative and military purposes. Tambos typically contained supplies and housed itinerant state personnel, including Spanish colonizers after the collapse of the Inca empire. Felipe Huaman Poma de Ayala (1535–c. 1616), also known as Guamán Poma or Wamán Poma, was a Quechua nobleman from southern Peru known for chronicling the ill treatment of indigenous groups in the Andes after the Spanish conquest. He wrote this over 1,200-page manuscript between 1600 and 1615. It included 398 full-page drawings - seven of which depict enslaved Africans. The original manuscript is in the Danish Royal Library, Copenhagen and a complete digital facsimile, which includes the drawings, is available The Guaman Poma website. The title translations we use are taken from the website. The drawing is in Chapter 35, image 384, of the original manuscript See also Frederick P. Bowser, The African Slave in Colonial Peru, 1524-1650 (Stanford University Press, 1974), passim, for the historical context of this drawing.
  • Convicts Carrying Water at Rio de Janeiro

    This image depicts three men in chains with water buckets on their heads smoking pipes, while a guard carries a sword. Maria Graham (née Dundas; 1785–1842), also known as Maria Lady Callcott, was a British writer of travel and children's books, as well as an illustrator. She went to Brazil on her return to England from Chile in 1823, which is the year Brazil declared their independence from Portugal. She stayed at the royal palace.
  • Praefecturae Paranambucae pars Meridionalis

    "Office of Pernambuco Southern Region" (caption translation). This engraving of a map of Brazil includes an inset image showing a group of slaves fishing with nets or seines. The activity of the man in the wooden tower is unclear, but he may be an overseer of enslaved people. Frans Post and Georg Marcgraf made this engraving. Frans Janszoon Post (1612–1680) was a Dutch painter. In 1636, he traveled to Dutch Brazil where he produced a large number of sketches and etchings, but only completed six paintings. In his lifetime, he made 140 paintings. The paintings he produced in Brazil differ from those he painted after he left Brazil. Georg Marcgraf (1610–c.1644) was a German cartographer and astronomer who also traveled to Dutch Brazil.
  • Poids de la Ville

    "Loads of the City" (caption translation). This engraving shows a Bush Negro (bosch-negre), or Maroon, and a port drayman, both with their carts. Pierre Jacques Benoit (1782-1854) was a Belgian artist, who visited the Dutch colony of Suriname on his own initiative for several months in 1831. He stayed in Paramaribo, but visited plantations, maroon communities and indigenous villages inland.
  • Pont, ou embarcation

    "Deck, or Skiff" (caption translation). This engraving shows a flat barge covered in a thatched dome crossing a river. On the right, a white overseer observes enslaved people preparing goods to load onto the boat. Benoit explained that "each plantation along a river has a canoe which is used by the slaves, as well as skiffs which are large flat boats covered with leaves used for work, for the transport of merchandise." Pierre Jacques Benoit (1782-1854) was a Belgian artist, who visited the Dutch colony of Suriname on his own initiative for several months in 1831. He stayed in Paramaribo, but visited plantations, maroon communities and indigenous villages inland.
  • Trois artisans nègres affranchis faisant la conversation

    "Three Artisan Freed-Negroes Having a Conversation" (caption translation). This engraving shows three men in various clothing styles, and a small boy running. Benoit described "three free black craftsman/artisans are in conversation. On the right a young hairdresser, a creole slave himself, is followed by another slave, a boy, who is carrying various items of his trade: the comb, pomade, and curling tongs." Pierre Jacques Benoit (1782-1854) was a Belgian artist, who visited the Dutch colony of Suriname on his own initiative for several months in 1831. He stayed in Paramaribo, but visited plantations, maroon communities and indigenous villages inland.
  • Laitière et négresses portant du lait

    "Milkmaid and Negro Women Carrying Milk" (caption translation). This engraving shows a group of women standing in front of thatched-roof shack with pots and bowls on their head, while a woman kneels before a cow. Benoit explained that "milk and milk products are provided by elderly missies who own cows. These women then have their milk peddled or hawked by their own slaves, young black or creole women" (p. 37). Pierre Jacques Benoit (1782-1854) was a Belgian artist, who visited the Dutch colony of Suriname on his own initiative for several months in 1831. He stayed in Paramaribo, but visited plantations, maroon communities and indigenous villages inland.
  • Atelier d'un cordonnier

    "Workshop of a Shoemaker" (caption translation). This engraving shows several people in front of a thatched-roof house and a shed. Benoit described how "a shoemaker is measuring a free black man for a pair of shoes; the man on the left, a slave is making shoes. . . only free people of color have the right to wear shoes. . . [and in the center] an elderly woman spins cotton using a spindle" (p. 21). Pierre Jacques Benoit (1782-1854) was a Belgian artist, who visited the Dutch colony of Suriname on his own initiative for several months in 1831. He stayed in Paramaribo, but visited plantations, maroon communities and indigenous villages inland.
  • A gauche, la boutique d'un vette-warier ou détaillant; à droite, la boutique d'un snerie ou tailleur; au milieu, un nègre nu se faisant prendre mesure d'un vêtement

    "On the Left, the Boutique of a vettewarier or Retailer; on the Right, the Boutique of a snerie or Tailor; in the Middle, a Naked Negro having his Measurement Taken for some Clothes" (caption translation). This engraving shows three separate scenes occurring out of the windows and front door of a single house. "The vette-warier," Benoit wrote, "are usually owned by Jewish merchants, but the tailor shops are sometimes held by slaves who have slaves working for them." Pierre Jacques Benoit (1782-1854) was a Belgian artist, who visited the Dutch colony of Suriname on his own initiative for several months in 1831. He stayed in Paramaribo, but visited plantations, maroon communities and indigenous villages inland.
  • Un esclave du gouvernement chargé de propreté des rues

    "A Government Slave Responsible for Cleaning Streets" (caption translation). This engraving shows a street cleaner with his donkey and cart. Benoit described how this man "is a government-owned slave who is responsible for keeping the streets clean; a woman and child are in the background." Pierre Jacques Benoit (1782-1854) was a Belgian artist, who visited the Dutch colony of Suriname on his own initiative for several months in 1831. He stayed in Paramaribo, but visited plantations, maroon communities and indigenous villages inland.
  • Lovey

    This lithograph shows a barefoot man carrying two wooden puppets and a basket of flowers. Belisario described how this individual, called Lovey, "was born in the Congo, where he was called Kangga, but in 1803 he was baptized by a Catholic priest in Jamaica and called Louis; however, for reasons only known to himself, he has. . . for several years assumed the appellation of Lovey." Belisario characterized Lovey as "a shrewd, intelligent, kind-hearted, and industrious fellow. . . [he was a] well-known seller of flowers in the Kingston area for the past 30 years. The flowers are grown in his master's garden and as a way of increasing his own income, Lovey nightly dances two wooden puppets, as he calls Captain and Mrs. Jones, and accepts tips from his audiences; the performances are accompanied with songs of his own composition," a few of which Belisario describes in the written descriptions accompanying his lithographs. Isaac Mendes Belisario (1795–1849) was a Jamaican artist of Jewish descent and active in Kingston Jamaica around British emancipation in 1833. The image shown here, as well as others of “John-Canoes,” was drawn from life by Belisario in 1836. This lithograph is one of twelve originally published in three parts, four plates at a time.
  • Chimneysweeper

    This lithograph shows a man covered in soot, wearing tattered clothes, carrying several brooms and smoking a pipe. Belisario explained how the sweeper cleaned "the typical kitchen-chimney with its covered top, as a protection to the fire during the heavy falls of rain." Noting that "the preferred wood used in kitchens is the cashew, the inhabitants of Kingston are by law obliged to have their chimneys frequently swept, a precaution highly requisite in a city where the houses are shingled." Isaac Mendes Belisario (1795–1849) was a Jamaican artist of Jewish descent and active in Kingston Jamaica around British emancipation in 1833. The image shown here, as well as others of “John-Canoes,” was drawn from life by Belisario in 1836. This lithograph is one of twelve originally published in three parts, four plates at a time.
  • Gold Works of Itacolumi, Brazil - Gold Washing

    This engraving depicts a group of enslaved men and woman mining in Brazil near Ouro Preto. According to the accompanying text, "to the left a party of slaves is catching the gold dust by immersing fleeces in the running water; on the right, two other slaves are beating out the dust from a fleece into a large wooden dish placed on the ground to receive it; behind them a European is weighing the gold dust in scales, and men and women are seen bringing down pieces of quartz containing gold to be broken up by others" (p. 208).
  • North Carolina

    This engraving illustrates the fabrication of turpentine as men drain sap from trees into barrels. According to the accompanying text, "The yeoman with the axe has been engaged in tapping [one of] these pines to obtain the crude turpentine . . . . The Negro hands are busy in directing its flow into the bung-holes of the barrels rolled against the trees for this purpose. A Negro in the middle distance is making an incision in the bole of a pine tree with an axe. . . the turpentine in the form of tar and pitch is exported in great quantities" (p. 289). Frederick Gleason (1817-1896) was a writer and publisher. He co-founded an illustrated periodical called Gleason's Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion in Boston, Massachusetts in 1851. The publication name was changed to Ballou's Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion, after the other co-founder, managing editor, writer and publisher, Maturin Murray Ballou (1820–1895), bought out the interest of Gleason in 1855.
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