Life and Legacy of Robert Smalls, 1839 – 1915

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Prepared by the Beaufort District Collection of the Beaufort County Library a division of Beaufort County Government, Beaufort, South Carolina. Legend to location abbreviations is at the end of this article. Latest update 26 July 2011


Web based resources

?Robert Smalls: War Hero and Legislator, (1839-1915) by Dennis Adams and Grace Morris Cordial, found at

?Short Biography?

?Black Americans in Congress, 1870 ? 2007,? has information on both Robert Smalls and Thomas Ezekial Miller.

 ?Robert Smalls Official Website and Information Center,? 

A curriculum unit on Robert Smalls designed for Gifted and Talented students is available through the Civil War Preservation Trust website.  Go to for the 37 page lesson packet.

                                                                Research Resources
Available through BCL?s website for use inside our buildings as well as from your home or office. Users of our online research  resources must have a valid BCL library card to use access these databases at home.  Ask at any Branch Library for a library card application and for a demonstration of how to use to these (and other) subscription databases. 

1. Come to the Beaufort District Collection to see these items:

“Forever” Vertical Files

  • Planter (ship)
  • Robert Smalls Legacy Foundation
  • Smalls, Robert (1839-1915)?Biographical and Genealogical Data
  • Smalls, Robert (1839-1915)?Media
  • Smalls, Robert (1839-1915)?Military and Militia Service
  • Smalls, Robert (1839-1915)?Political Career, 1865-1915
  • Smalls, Robert (1839-1915)?Real Estate Holdings
  • Smalls, Robert (1839-1915)?Resources
  • Smalls, Robert (1839-1915)?Tributes and Recognitions
  • USS Major General Robert Smalls (ship)
Books and Pamphlets

SC B SMALLS Robert Smalls and His Environs, 1839-1914: Slave, Hero, Statesman by the Humanities School of Beaufort

SC B SMALLS From Slavery to Public Service: Robert Smalls, 1839-1915 by Okon Edet Uya.

SC 975.799 ROB.  Robert Smalls vs. William Elliot?United States House of Representatives. Washington, D.C.:  House of Representatives, 1888.

SC B Smalls.  ?The Life of Robert Smalls? from Golden Legacy Illustrated History Magazine; Vol. 9, 1970.

SC B Smalls.  ?Robert Smalls:  From Runaway Slave to Congressman? by John Hall from The State, 1987.

SC B Smalls.  Arrest and Imprisonment of Hon. Robert Smalls: January 25, 1878 [pamphlet] by Knott. Washington, D.C.: House of Representatives, 1878.

2. Check out these materials from the Beaufort County Library:

VIDEO B SMALLS Robert Smalls: Gullah Statesman by SCETV [VHS] (BEA, HH)

VIDEO B SMALLS Robert Smalls: Sail Away to Freedom by SCETV [VHS] (BEA, HH)

VIDEO B SMALLS Congressman Robert Smalls [DVD] : a patriot’s journey from slavery to Capitol Hillby Adrena Ifill (ALL Libraries, Local History)

B SMALLS Gullah Statesman: Robert Smalls from Slavery to Congress, 1839-1915 by Edward A. Miller, Jr. (BEA, BLU, HH, Local History)

B SMALLS Captain of the Planter: The Story of Robert Smalls by Dorothy Sterling (BEA, HH, STH, Local History)

B SMALLS Yearning to Breathe Free: Robert Smalls of South Carolina and his Families by Andrew Billingsley (ALL  Libraries, Local History)

For Young Readers:

B Smalls  From Slave to Civil War Hero:  The Life and Times of Robert Smalls [Children?s Book] by Michael L. Cooper. (BDC, BEA, BLU, HHI, STH)

B Smalls  Seven Miles to Freedom:  The Robert Smalls Story [Children?s Book] by Janet Halfmann. (BDC, BLU, LOB, STH)

B Smalls The Freedom Ship of Robert Smalls [Children?s Book] by Louise Meriwether. (BEA)

Freedom Ship [Children?s Book] by Doreen Rappaport. (BEA, BLU, HHI, LOB)

Materials may be found at the following Beaufort County Library locations: 

Beaufort District Collection (BDC)

Beaufort Branch Library (BEA)

Bluffton Branch Library (BLU)

Hilton Head Island Branch Library (HHI)

Lobeco Branch Library (LOB)

St. Helena Branch Library (STH)

Contact the Beaufort District Collection at (843) 255-6446 or via e-mail to for help using these Beaufort County Library resources.

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