“The Frederick Douglass Papers” provides insight into the abolitionist’s life and times

“The Frederick Douglass Papers at the Library of Congress” presents the papers of the 19th-century African-American abolitionist who escaped from slavery and then risked his own freedom by becoming an outspoken antislavery lecturer, writer, and publisher. The first release of the documents, from the Library of Congress’s Manuscript Division, contains about 2,000 items (with some 16,000 images) relating to Douglass’s life as an escaped slave, abolitionist, editor, orator, and public servant. The papers span the years 1841 to 1864, with the bulk of the material from 1862 to 1895, and undoubtedly will provide American history teachers with a bounty of material for their classes. The printed Speech, Article, and Book Series contains the writings of Douglass and such contemporaries in the abolitionist and early women’s rights movements as Henry Ward Beecher, Ida B. Wells, Gerrit Smith, Horace Greeley, and others. The Subject File Series reveals Douglass’s interest in diverse subjects such as politics, emancipation, racial prejudice, women’s suffrage, and prison reform. There is also a partial handwritten draft of Douglass’s third autobiography, The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass. The Miscellany Series includes newspaper clippings and photographs, and scrapbooks document Douglass’s role as minister to Haiti and the controversy surrounding his interracial second marriage. The online release of the Frederick Douglass Papers was made possible through support from the Citigroup Foundation.


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