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Columbian Harmony and Payne's Cemetery Ledgers Collection

Identifier: 066

Scope and Contents

The ten ledgers were organized in chronological order based on the first entry in each book. Information found in the ledgers includes: name of deceased, plot location, and date of burial.


  • Creation: 1901-1959


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Use

No known restrictions.

Biographical / Historical

The Columbian Harmony Cemetery was established as a resting ground for free blacks in Washington, D.C. Established by the Columbian Harmony Society in 1829, the cemetery was situated between Boundary Street (present-day Florida Avenue), S Street, and 6th Street NW. In 1848, the City Council passed an ordinance prohibiting new burial grounds in the city limits. Since the cemetery continued to expand, it was relocated to land on Rhode Island Avenue and 9th Street, NE in 1858, which was outside the city limits. In 1960, due to a lack of space and neglected care, the Harmony Cemetery (including the remains) was moved to Hyattsville, Maryland and renamed the “National Harmony Memorial Park.”

Payne’s Cemetery was established prior to 1880 in Washington, D.C. The land was located at 4724 Benning Road SE and was used primarily as a burial place for African Americans in the District. In 1961, Louis H. Bell purchased the property and attempted to disinter the remains from the cemetery. However, due to continuous neglect, many of the grave markers had been moved or destroyed. In 1969, Mr. Bell had the remains moved to the National Harmony Memorial Park in Maryland. The land that was once Payne’s Cemetery is now the Fletcher-Johnson Elementary School.


16 Linear feet

8 Boxes


Processed wihtout series.

Custodial History

Paul E. Sluby, Sr. donated this collection to the Library in May 2006.

Processing Information

Basic archival processing procedures were applied to the collection when it was processed.

Columbian Harmony and Payne Cemetery
An inventory of Columbian Harmony and Payne Cemetery Ledgers at DC Public Library
Finding aid prepared by Ryan P. Semmes.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the The People's Archive, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library Repository

901 G Street NW
4th Floor East
Washington DC 20001