AD: Sambo as a slave name

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Wed Dec 19 15:36:06 UTC 2007

OED2 has as its earliest citation for "Sambo" sense 2 ("A nickname
for a Negro") "1704 Boston News-Let. 2 Oct. 2/2 There is a Negro man
taken up supposed to be Runaway from his Master,..calls himself Sambo."

According to Newbell Niles Puckett, there is a slave named Sambo in a
Maryland record of 1692.

"Names of Negro Slaves", in _Mother Wit from the Laughing Barrell_
(University Press of Mississippi, 1990), p. 158, col. 2.

Puckett does not give a specific citation, but it is presumably one
of the sources cited in note 4, p. 158, the two most likely being
Caterall's _Judicial Cases Concerning American Slavery and the Negro_
(3 vols.) and Donnan's _Documents Illustrative of the History of the
Slave Trade in America_ (4 vols.).  I don't intend to follow this up
myself, but perhaps 1692 and Maryland will be sufficient for someone
to locate the source in one of these seven volumes.


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