Audio & Video Excerpts


In February 2019, Villanova University’s Department of Theatre and Department of History collaborated on a dramatic reading of ads from the Last Seen database. The performance, Last Seen: Voices from Slavery’s Lost Families, brought together over eighty volunteers from the Philadelphia region who selected ads and participated in the choreographed production.

Here we offer individual video clips of actors reading these ads that teachers can use in their classrooms to accompany lessons. In this way, students can experience the ads as they were intended—read aloud in churches and schools.

Becky Henry searching for her sister Liza Tracy
Catherine Strong searching for her unnamed mother's family
Mary Ellen Chapman searching for her family
Adam Sisson, aka Adam Webb, searching for mother Fannie Webb (2nd of 3 ads)
Mrs. Clara Bashop searching for her daughter Patience Green and son John William Harris
Clarissa Reed searching for her mother, stepfather, and siblings


Listen to professional readings of ads placed by John Jones, Henry and Sandy Anderson, Polly McCray, James Beatty, and an unnamed father searching for his daughter.

John Jones finds his mother Parthenia Jones after more than 30-year separation

Henry and Sandy Anderson looking for their mother Peggy and several siblings

Polly McCray searching for her children Balim and Winnie

James Beatty searching for Johnson and Jane Beatty and their children Amelia and Ann

Unnamed father searching for his daughter Rachael

Blair Norman Introduction

More Recordings from Last Seen

Watch the full performance of Last Seen: Voices from Slavery’s Lost Families or view short clips of select readings to use in your classrooms.

Watch on YouTube