Bill of sale for a girl named Clary purchased by Robert Jardine for 50 pounds

Written by
Subject of
Jardine, Robert
Ferguson, John, American, 1784 - 1854
Burk, Richard, American
Burk, Susanah, American
Burk, Edmund, American
January 15, 1806
ink on paper
H x W (complete): 12 5/16 × 7 3/4 in. (31.2 × 19.7 cm)
H x W (top half): 6 1/8 × 7 3/4 in. (15.6 × 19.7 cm)
H x W (bottom half): 6 1/8 × 7 3/4 in. (15.6 × 19.7 cm)
Clary and the Fancy Girl Trade, 1806
Black women were the sexual prey of white men since the 1600s. During the domestic slave trade, a new category of enslaved women emerged, known as “fancy girls.” Young and usually light-skinned, these black women were purchased explicitly for sexual exploitation, at rates four to five times the price of women field laborers.
Source: Nancy Bercaw, Curator, Slavery and Freedom
Bill of sale of an enslaved girl named Clary[?] to Robert S. Jardine for the price of fifty pounds. The document is written on yellowed paper in brown colored ink. The document is severely creased and contains numerous holes at center along the creases. It is separated into two pieces. The two original pieces of paper are adhered to a newer piece of paper. The bill of sale begins with “Know all men by these Presents that we / the Subscribers have Bargained, sold, / Transferred and Delivered, and by these Presents / doath Bargain Sel, Transfer and deliver unto / Robert S. Jardine a negro girl named / Clary[?] for the Consideration of Fifty Pounds / Current Money of Virginia…” the document has the names of sellers and witnesses written at the bottom. Additional unrelated writing is written vertically in red ink on the upper left corner.
Place made
Virginia, United States, North and Central America
Documents and Published Materials
Slavery and Freedom Objects
bills of sale
Domestic slave trade
Fancy Girl trade
Credit Line
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
Object number
Restrictions & Rights
No Known Copyright Restrictions
2 image(s)