David Ruggles (New York)

Address: 1 Courtlandt Street, New York City

Items Advertised: Canton and Porto Rico Sugars, Coffee, Teas, Flour, Goshen Butter, Cheese, Rum, Gin, Brandy, Wine, Cordials, Porter, and Cider



David Ruggles's free produce store began in 1828 with the sale of butter and sugar before expanding its inventory. Though earlier advertisements suggest the sale of alcohol, later advertisements show that Ruggles converted to the temperance movement and no longer offered liquors at his store (a fact commended in an advertisement from the Rights of All). Ruggles eventually closed the grocery store, and opened the first black bookstore in the United states on May 1834 at 67 Lispenard Street.


Graham Russell Gao Hodges, David Ruggles: A Radical Black Abolitionist and the Underground Railroad in New York City (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2010)