The Christian Recorder began publication in Philadelphia the mid-1800s as a periodical of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. First published in 1854 and then regularly beginning in 1861, the Christian Recorder contained both secular and religious information and was sent to subscribers across the country.
In December 1863, the Christian Recorder began including a series of “Information Wanted” ads placed by individuals seeking information on family, friends, and other acquaintances. The ads reveal the concerns of many formerly enslaved individuals and members of various African-American communities as they sought news on people from whom they had been separated for months, years, or even decades.
As part of the Summer 2014 digital history class at Villanova University, we explored the Information Wanted ads placed in the Christian Recorder and the histories they tell of life during and after the Civil War.