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Object Name: Slave shackles
Date: ca. 1866
Medium: Steel
Dimensions: Overall: 4 1/4 x 23 x 1/4 in. ( 10.8 x 58.4 x 0.6 cm )
Place made: North America, United States
Description: Pair of steel ankle shackles; round cuffs with a soldered peg closure; four oval chain links attach the two cuffs.; original Mount stored at Mana, S_5_b (2/1/17)
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Carroll Beckwith
Object Number: 1921.20
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According to a letter that accompanied these shackles upon their donation to the Historical Society in 1921, they were cut off teenage slave Mary Horn of Americus, Georgia, by Colonel William W. Badger of the 176th Regiment New York Volunteers, more than a year after Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Mary is said to have belonged to a Judge Horn, who riveted the irons to her legs with his own hands to prevent her from walking to the next plantation to see her beloved, George. George begged Colonel Badger to free Mary from her shackles and supposedly held her over an anvil while Badger cut them off.


Holzer, Harold and The New-York Historical Society. "The Civil War in 50 Objects." New York: Viking, 2013.


"Legacies: Contemporary Artists Reflect on Slavery," New-York Historical Society, June 16, 2006-January 7, 2007.

"Nation at the Crossroads: The Great New York Debate over the Constitution," New-York Historical Society, November 14, 2008-January 25, 2009.

"Nueva York 1613-1945," El Museo del Barrio, September 17, 2010-January 9, 2011.

"Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow," New-York Historical Society, September 7–March 3, 2019.