Slave Trader’s Letter Book Open for Research at the Georgia Historical Society

Savannah, Ga., March 8, 2018-- The Georgia Historical Society is pleased to announce that the James Jordan Collection of Lamar Family Papers (MS2549), including the papers of Gazaway Bugg “G.B.” Lamar and the letter book of his oldest son Charles Augustus Lafayette Lamar, are now available for research at the Georgia Historical Society. The papers were discovered and edited by Jim Jordan, author of the newly released The Slave-Trader’s Letter-Book: Charles Lamar, The Wanderer, and Other Tales of the African Slave Trade, now available from the University of Georgia Press.

Considered lost to history, the letter book was discovered by Jordan in the hands of a private collector in New Jersey. Jordan acquired the book and donated it to the Georgia Historical Society and then transcribed and edited the collection for publication by the University of Georgia Press.

In 1858, four hundred Africans arrived on Jekyll Island, Georgia. The first transport of enslaved people in nearly four decades, they had been brought to America, in violation of federal law, to be sold into slavery by Charles Lamar aboard the schooner Wanderer. The amazing story of their journey and arrival, and that of Charles and the Lamar family, can now be read in Jordan’s new book.

“This remarkable collection of letters gives us a unique insight into one of the most tragic episodes in American history,” said Dr. W. Todd Groce, President and CEO of the Georgia Historical Society. “We are grateful to Mr. Jordan for rescuing the letter book and donating it to GHS where it will be preserved and made accessible for generations to come."

"The UGA Press is particularly proud to have published the story of Jim Jordan's incredible discovery of Charles Lamar's letters,” added Lisa Bayer, Director, University of Georgia Press. “The Slave-Trader's Letter-Book is a fascinating read that places the man behind the infamous Wanderer in the context of the Atlantic slave trade and the lead-up to the Civil War. That the primary documents are now part of the Georgia Historical Society's rich collection in Lamar's Savannah is even more fitting."

The materials in the collection consist predominantly of correspondence, legal documents, and financial and business materials, including ledgers, deeds, accounts, promissory notes, and bank statements. The legal documents primarily relate to Gazaway Bugg Lamar's pursuit of reimbursement for the seizure of his cotton and that of his company, The Importing and Exporting Company of Georgia, by the U.S. government during the Civil War. Many materials also relate to the administration of G.B. Lamar's estate and to his various business endeavors. Also of note are the correspondence and financial papers of G.B. Lamar's oldest son, Charles Augustus Lafayette Lamar, owner of the slave ship Wanderer. The collection also includes papers of the Jones family, related to the Lamars by the marriage of Frank Cazenove Jones to Harriet Lamar.

To conduct research in the James Jordan Collection of Lamar Family Papers (MS2549) please contact the GHS Research Center at (912) 651-2125, ext. 153. Finding aids are available online at The Slave Traders Letter Book is available from the University of Georgia Press and wherever books are sold.


Georgia Historical Society (GHS) is the premier independent statewide institution responsible for collecting, examining, and teaching Georgia history. GHS houses the oldest and most distinguished collection of materials related exclusively to Georgia history in the nation.
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