Magazine of Early American Databases (MEAD)

The Magazine of Early American Datasets (MEAD) is an online repository of datasets compiled by historians of early North America. MEAD preserves and makes available these datasets in their original format and as comma-separated-value files (.csv). Each body of data is also accompanied by a codebook.  MEAD provides sweet, intoxicating data for your investigations of early North America and the Atlantic World. 

MEAD is sponsored by the McNeil Center of Early American Studies and the University of Pennsylvania Libraries. 

Please click on the titles of the datasets below for full bibliographic information, files in original and .csv format, codebook, and more. 

If you would like to submit data, please contact Billy G. Smith (bgs at montana dot edu) or Andrew M. Schocket (aschock at bgsu dot edu).

Please submit your data! Although clean data is nice, better to submit messy data than no data at all. Messy files can be replaced with cleaner ones in the future. Messy data mounted on MEAD is preserved; messy data waiting forever to be cleaned will be lost. OpenRefine is a free, easy tool to use to clean data. A tutorial on using OpenRefine is available from Programming Historian:

We welcome coordinated submissions to MEAD and to the Journal of Slavery and Data Preservation (JSDP), in which data articles are published in the JSDP and the dataset is ingested into’s linked open data hub, while the dataset is preserved with MEAD. Simply indicate in your submission if you would like to pursue this option if your dataset is relevant to both platforms.  

For more about this project, read the feature on it on 

Questions? please contact Billy G. Smith (bgs at montana dot edu) or Andrew M. Schocket (aschock at bgsu dot edu). 

The MEAD-iators who brought you this resource: 
Mitch Fraas, Digital Research Services, University of Pennsylvania Libraries 
Nicholas Okrent, Research and Instructional Services, University of Pennsylvania Libraries 
Andrew M. Schocket, Department of History and American Culture Studies Program, Bowling Green State University 
Billy W. Smith, Department of History, Philosophy, and Literary Studies, Montana State University 
Sarah Wipperman, Repository Services, University of Pennsylvania Libraries




Search results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 23
  • Dataset
    Runaway Advertisements from Jamaica, 1791
    (2022-06-06) Newman, Simon P; Newman, Simon P
    Newspaper advertisements written and published by enslavers seeking the capture and return of enslaved people who had escaped. Published in the Kingston Daily Advertiser, Jamaica, January-December 1791.
  • Dataset
    Runaway Advertisements from Grenada, 1790-91 and 1798-99
    (2022-06-06) Newman, Simon P; Newman, Simon P
    Newspaper advertisements written and published by enslavers seeking the capture and return of enslaved people who had escaped. Published in the St Georges Chronicle and Grenada Gazette between July 1790 and January 1791, and between January 1798 and December 1799.
  • Dataset
    Mapping Historic Philadelhia 1791 Directory & 1790 US Census
    (2020-01-01) Smith, Billy G; Sivitz, Paul; Smith, Billy G; Sivitz, Paul
    This dataset includes information about Philadelphia from the City Directory of 1791, the US Census for 1790, and a 60% sample of the 1789 city tax list. We used the data to create numerous maps of Philadelphia; see a sample of maps and further explanation at
  • Dataset
    Record of indentures of individuals bound out as apprentices, servants, etc., and of German and other redemptioners, 1771 October 3 - 1773 October 5
    (2018-12-31) American Philosophical Society

    This dataset was created from a volume of over 800 pages that records information pertaining to individuals entering contracts of indentured servitude in Philadelphia from 1771-1773. Each entry contains details about the person to be indentured, including their name, country of origin, length of contract, and amount of debt owed. The records not only list the name of the person, but contain details on their profession and on the terms of the indenture. Although the volume is described as the records of German immigrants, there are other indentures included, such as that of John Slour, "a free negro," records of those arriving from Ireland, and of young Philadelphians choosing to enter indentured contracts. The volume had been on loan to the City Archives until 1987. During that time, approximately twenty pages went missing. Otherwise, the volume appears to be complete and contains over 5,000 records.

  • Dataset
    Philadelphia Inventories of Estate 1746-1775
    (2018-12-31) Smith, Billy G; Smith, Billy G
    PHILADELPHIA INVENTORIES of Estate, 1746-1775 (Project 45). Value of Estates. Source: Inventories of Estate for Philadelphia, Philadelphia City Archives.
  • Dataset
    Philadelphia 1772 Tax List (Complete) Matched with 1775 Constables Returns
    (2018-12-31) Smith, Billy G; Nash, Gary B; Smith, Billy G; Nash, Gary B
    This dataset contains Everyone on THE 1772 TAX LIST FOR PHILADELPHIA (10 WARDS) & Suburbs (NORTHERN LIBERTIES AND SOUTHWARK). Also included is information from “matching” taxpayers with a sample of 50% of the 1775 Constables Return from Philadelphia. Added to the 1772 tax list is information for taxpayers who also received assistance from various agencies for whom records are still extant. (Project 50)
  • Dataset
    (2019-01-01) Smith, Billy G; Smith, Billy G
    1789 TAX LIST OF PHILADELPHIA'S 11 WARDS, (an 80% random sample). Note: the suburbs of N. Liberties and Southwark are not included. Poorer people tended to live disproportionately in those suburbs. NOTE: After data was entered, I entered separately all the rental unit values, added these values to that of the owners and subtracted them from that of the renter.. See the further explanation in Codebook Source: Philadelphia City Archives
  • Dataset
    George Washington's Shipping Invoices from London Factors 1754-1772
    (2016-08-01) Lucas, Wendy E; Campbell, Noel D; Lucas, Wendy E; Campbell, Noel D
    From 1754-1772, Washington marketed his crop on the consignment system. He shipped his tobacco to British 'factors' who would sell it for him on the British market, often for re-export to continental Europe. With his tobacco (and at other times during the year), Washington would send correspondence including a list of items he wished his factors to purchase for him with the tobacco revenues and ship to Virginia. The factors would attempt to fulfill Washington's purchase requests, based on product availability and their knowledge of his tastes and willingness to spend. After deducting shipping costs, insurance charges, duties and tariffs, etc., as well as the factors' own fees, Washington's revenues typically were less than the expense of his requested purchases. Usually, the factors would fulfill all (or nearly all) of Washington's purchase request, lending him large sums of money in the process. Although terms varied, five percent annual interest commencing six months after purchase were not uncommon. Along with Washington's purchased goods, the factors would send correspondence detailing what they purchased and how much they spent, as well as other information relevant to fulfilling his purchase order. We refer to this return correspondence as the 'shipping receipts.' Some of the information contained therein form the basis of this data set. The available shipping receipts spanned 1754 through 1772, but none were available for 1755, 1756, or 1769. Overall, there were 27 receipts, in total, in 16 years.
  • Dataset
    Philadelphia Tax List 1756
    (2015-01-05) Nash, Gary B; Smith, Billy G; Nash, Gary B; Smith, Billy G
    The Philadelphia Tax List from 1756 (including suburbs of Southwark and Northern Liberties). Based on the Tax list published by Hannah Benner Roach, comp., “Taxables in the City of Philadelphia, 1756,” Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, 22 (1961), 3-41.
  • Dataset
    BUSINESSES ON THE 1790 CENSUS of Philadelphia
    (2018-12-31) Smith, Billy G; Smith, Billy G
    ALL BUSINESSES ON THE 1790 CENSUS of Philadelphia (both city wards and suburbs of Northern Liberties and Southwark) Source: Bureau of the Census, Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States (Washington, D.C., 1908)