Indentured Servitude was a form of labor in the 1500s-1600s in Both Britain and America. A person was contracted to work without salary for a specific number of years. Indentured Servants included both women and men and typically the time frame for this service was 4–7 years. The work varied from agriculture to simple industrial tasks including, but not limited to textiles, sewing, masonry, carpentry, ironwork, cooking, and childcare. In exchange for transportation to another destination, the indentured individual would be given shelter, food, and clothing for an agreed-upon time. At the end of their contract- they would be free to leave.
The document in the photos, attached in this piece, is original and in my possession. It was found in a random vintage trunk purchased for $700 US currency. The trunk originated from an attic on Saint Thomas Island back in the eighties. I received the trunk- opened it and found a weathered hidden space. This document was in a secret space for many years. I only knew to look as I have been treasure hunting for over thirty years. The drawer was a mess- the artifact inside perfect.
It is originally from this Caribbean island and dated 1593. The contract is written on Vellum which is an animal membrane- often lambskin- which was found not only to be durable but in abundance throughout the Caribbean. Various people have told me different origins of the language on the vellum. It is one of my most treasured finds. It documents the history of a people and their time on earth. The intrinsic and artistic value is immeasurable to me.
In this present day, the referring of diplomas as sheepskin eludes back to this time in history. Vellum and animal skin were often used before the advent of the printing press. Current times mirror the past. Reflections can be seen everywhere if we are only still enough to be aware.
Writing documents are historical artifacts. They encompass culture, perception and create a map from past to present. They vary across the globe but have an indelible effect on society and its relationship to the present time. Our present times 2021/2022 is like no other in the history of the globe.
You are living history. You are now a primary resource. Place your autograph on something meaningful to you. Your family and descendants will have a treasure of who you are at this specific time on the planet. The connection to you will be invaluable. It will transcend time.