Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass

Scarce First Edition of "My Bondage And My Freedom", Part I -- Life As A Slave, Part II -- Life As A Freeman, by Frederick Douglass, with an introduction by Dr. James M'Cune Smith. New York and Auburn: Miller, Orton & Mulligan, 1855. Illustrated with steel engraved prints, and Frontispiece Engraving of Frederick Douglass by J. C. Buttre from a Daguerreotype, with autograph signature of Douglas (facsimile). Autograph manuscript inscription on prefatory page of W.S. ? Davis, Westford, Otsego (?) County, N.Y. This book came from an estate in Rochester, NY, Upstate New York, where Douglas lived for many years. See #37 (below) for more information about Frederick's visit to Scotland. -- order postcard of Frederick Douglass

-- St. Johnsbury Calcdonian newspaper, St. Johnsbury, VT, Mar.23, 1877. The column headlines -- "A 'Nigger' In a High Place" to bring the news that Frederick Douglass has been confirmed as U.S. Marshall". An historic event for an African American man over 125 years ago -- but shame on the editor's for using such a derogatory headline. Here is the article:
-- "Probably the most conservative politician will now admit that the world moves. Frederick Douglass, the eloquent and learned colored man, has been confirmed by the Senate to the best office in the District of Columbia -- four Democratic Senators voting for his confirmation, as well as all the Republicans, and two prominent Democrats of Washington -- Alexander and Christie -- becoming Douglass's bondmen. When such men as Ben. Hill vote for confirmation of a Black" Republican to office in the old slave District of Columbia, it is time for reformers to thank God and take courage. The world does move."

-- Deed of Trust for James L. Barbour and Frank D. Johns, signed by Frederick Douglass, July 7, 1881. Douglass served as the Recorder of Deeds for the Washington, DC Government (1881-1886). This Deed was signed during his first months on the job. (gift from Mark E. Mitchell).

-- New York Times, Apr.29, 1842 -- A 1 1/2" front page column headed THE ANTI-SLAVERY CONVENTION, Cincinnati, Ohio.  Frederick Douglass chosen to be one of the Vice-Presidents.

-- A First Edition copy of William Lloyd Garrison: The Story of His Life Told by His Children (1894). Below is a handwritten letter from Robert Adams making the argument that certain materials needed for preservation and also it is sure that these newspapers would be utilized as research for the accuracy of this book.
William Lloyd Garrison (December 13, 1805 – May 24, 1879) was a prominent American abolitionist, journalist, and social reformer. He is best known as the editor of the radical abolitionist newspaper, The Liberator, and as one of the founders of the American Anti-Slavery Society, he promoted "immediate emancipation" of slaves in the United States. Garrison was also a prominent voice for the women's suffrage movement.

-- An excellent hand written letter (dated April 5, 1887) from Robert Adams, a dear friend of Frederick Douglass and also a well-known conductor on the Underground Railroad. He was also a bookseller, stationer and dealer in artist's materials from Fall River, Massachusetts, regarding the collection of books that this woman has and that he, Adams is buying these books for Francis Jackson Garrison (as a 16-year old he corresponded with Sergeant-Major James Trotter of the Mass. 55th during the Civil War), the son of William Lloyd Garrison and his autobiographer. A good strong letter with the argument that these books were important during the era and he is particularly looking for copies of "The Liberator" as well as other anti-slavery materials. The letter has some folds and a corner has been cut, affecting last word on bottom of the page. Folds present and one 1/2inch tear at the fold into one top of letter reverse, otherwise a good strong letter. Rare item regarding the collection of materials on anti-slavery which William Lloyd Garrison was in the center of during a great part of his life.

Robert Adams
Bookseller, Stationer
Dealer in Artist's Materials

Fall River, Mass.   April 5, 1887
Dear Madam: I learn through Mr. Durleigh (?) that you may have a number of volumes of
The Liberator. I am collecting for Mr. Francis Jackson Garrison, the youngest son of William Lloyd Garrison, who is gathering together all he can, to arrange in files to be placed in Public Libraries for preservation and for future reference. They are worthy of a conspicuous place, as they give an important history of those eventful years, which can be obtained from no other source. Should you be willing to dispose of them for that purpose, please inform me as soon as convenient, as he is about finishing his work on them. If you know of any person in your vicinity who has any copies of The Liberator, please inform me if you please.
Yours respectfully, Robert Adams
Mrs. Adams sends her regards to you. Have you any of the "
National Antislavery Standard" or of the "New York Tribune" to dispose of? RA

BACKGROUND: By 1851, after the Fugitive Slave law had come into effect, a very large percentage of the negro colony in New Bedford left by the underground route for Canada. This exodus was through Fall River where forwarding stations had been actively in operation since 1830. Fall River became an important "way station" although it was only one in a great number of "railroad systems" through which escape was possible. Fall River was ideally adapted for this purpose because it was not on any direct line and slaves who were able to escape by sea from southern ports to New Bedford and towns on the cape were "doubled back" to Fall River as a means of concealment. From Fall River they were shipped to Canada by way of Valley Falls and Worcester . Those who assisted in their escape were called "conductors." As early as 1840, Arnold Buffum was prominent in this railroad system. The Buffums, the Chaces, the Robesons and many others, mostly Quakers, had much to do with the Fall River station. Robert Adams, a Quaker sympathizer, was the best known conductor of the underground trains in Fall River, though neither he nor Mrs. Adams were members of the Quaker meeting.

INTERESTING NOTE: There was a touching letter (below) was written by Frederick Douglass to Robert Adams, a well-known “conductor” on the Underground Railroad in Fall River, Massachusetts, on the occasion of Douglass’s 80th birthday (March 23, 1888). Adams was a trusted friend of Frederick Douglass. Here is what he wrote to Adams, reflecting upon their first meeting in 1841 in Fall River:

Do you know that yours was the first eyes that beamed kindly upon me in Fall River seven and forty years ago? My dear old friend, I shall never forget that look of sympathy you gave me. I was then only three years from slavery. I had not fully realized the possibility that a white man could recognize a colored man as a man and a brother but I saw such recognition in your face and have ever since, in sunshine and storm, felt safe in your friendship.”

-- Rare newspaper article written by Horace Greeley about Frederick Douglass addressing the students of Western Reserve College, on the occasion of the annual commencement. New-York Tribune (Monday, July 31, 1854). Read the entire article here. His speech is quite controversial, not only for 1854, but also for now.

-- Three copies of the extremely rare Douglass' Monthly newspaper:  1. October 1861 – Complete. 16 pages. Minor repairs to back page affecting five or six words. Good condition.   2. November 1861 – Complete. 16 pages. Light purple stain to side margin and part of one column (5” by 3”) affecting 4 pages (2 sheets) but still readable. Good condition.   3. December 1861 -- Incomplete. 12 pages. Lacks cover and back sheet (4 pages). Good condition.

On the rear page of Douglass's newspaper is a "Haytian Advertismement", written by Nicholas Fabre Geffrard (President of Haiti 1859-1867):      Hayti (sic) will soon gain her ancient splendor. This marvellous soil that our fathers blessed by God, conquered for us, will soon yield to us the wealth now hidden in its bosom. Let our black and yellow brethren, scattered through the Antilles and North and South America hasten to co-operate with us in restoring the glory of the Republic. Hayti is the common country of the black race. Our ancestors, in taking possession of it, were careful to announce in the Constitution that they published, that all the descendants of Africans and of the inhabitants of the West Indies belong by right to the Haytian family. The idea was grand and generous.

Listen, then all ye negroes and mulattoes who, in the vast Continent of America, suffer from the prejudices of caste. The Republic calls you; she invites you to bring to her your arms and your minds. The regenerating work that she undertakes interests all colored people and their descendants, no matter what their origins or where their place of birth.   Hayti, regaining her former position, retaking her ancient sceptre as Queen of the Antilles, will be a formal denial, most eloquent and peremptory, against those detractors of our race who contest our desire and ability to attain a high degree of civilization."     -- Geffrard (1806–79), president of Haiti (1859–67). He took part (1843) in the revolt against Jean Pierre Boyer and led the insurrection that overthrew Faustin Élie Soulouque in 1859. Although he tried to reform the government, he was continually harassed by counterrevolutions and could accomplish little. He was exiled in 1867.)

-- Rare First Edition copy of "There Once Was a Slave" (New York: J. Messner, 1947) by Shirley Graham Du Bois, 2nd wife of NAACP mentor, W.E.B. DuBois. Book is about Frederick Douglass.

-- Hard-to-find First Edition copy of Paul Robeson, Citizen Of The World, By Shirley Graham Du Bois Copyright 1946. Hard back with no dust jacket. In good—very good condition. Tight binding. 2nd face page has a color photo of Robeson attached. Back face page has news clipping, and small black/white newspaper photo attached. . Has 264 pages with 16 pages black/white photos.

JOSEPH STURGE (A heroic abolitionist):
-- An extremely hard to find copy of the British Emancipator (January 10th, 1840 -- LAST EDITION!), the Anti-Slavery Newspaper (Dec. 27, 1837-Jan. 10, 1840). "After having formally announced the Emancipator of December 25th as our last, we shall no doubt surprise our readers not a little by the appearance of another number. We beg permission to explain..." The newspaper was founded by Joseph Sturge (1793-1859). He was a member of the Religious Society of Friends, and refused, in his business as a corn factor, to deal in grain used in the manufacture of spirits. He went to Birmingham in 1822, where he became and alderman in 1835. He was an active member of the Anti-Slavery Society, Central Negro Emancipation Committee and British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society. Sturge made a tour in the West Indies, publishing on his return an account of slavery as he there saw it in The West Indies in 1837 (London, 1837). After the abolition of slavery in 1833, Sturge was one of the main instigators of a campaign of agitation against apprenticeship in the West Indies. The Central Negro Emancipation Committee was something he founded in 1837. Lord Brougham, the most prominent champion of anti-apprenticeship, acknowledged Sturge's central role in rousing British anti-slavery opinion in a speech to the House of Lords. In 1839, Sturge and others from the anti-apprenticeship campaign came together to found the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, which survives until today as Anti-Slavery International. The new organization turned its attention to emancipating slaves outside Great Britain's borders. In 1841 Sturge traveled in the United States with the poet John Greenleaf Whittier to examine the slavery question there.

-- Folded letter (June 10th, 1841) addressed at front from Sturge and signed by Joseph Sturge to Governor Pennington, State of New Jersey -- Inside reads--- To The Governor of New Jersey Respected Friends I herewith forward thee a copy of a publication issued recently in England relative to American Slavery. The kind and candid tone of thy letter to Thomas Clarkson , so honorably contrasting with those of some of the Chief Magistrates of the other States , induces me to hope that thou will on all suitable occasions exert thy personal influence and the prerogatives of thy station to promote the great cause of Universal Liberty. Thy friend Joseph Sturge, Philadelphia June 10th 1841.
BACKGROUND: Note the date and recipient of the letter. In 1841 Sturge traveled throughout the United States with the poet J. G. Whittier, to observe the condition of the slaves there. On his return he published A Visit to the United States in 1841 (published 1842). He traveled everywhere to meetings, lectures, and churches, urging international cooperation toward gaining immediate slave emancipation.

turge went straight to slave-dealers and slaveholders and presented them with anti-slavery arguments based on political and economic expedience, such as Harriet Martineau had used. He assailed newspaper editors and political leaders with the same arguments (Sturge 1842). The wellspring of his own anti-slavery activism was nevertheless moral and religious. His foundational convictions he expressed in a letter addressed to all 'Friends of Immediate Emancipation in the United States.' He urged unity among all who regard 'slave-holding and slave-trading as a heinous sin in the sight of God,' as well as a cessation of 'sectional jealousy and national hostility.' He also urged 'public reprobation' against slaveholders. Finally, he argued that 'there is no reasonable hope of abolishing the slave-trade; but, by the abolition of slavery' to be undertaken by 'moral, religious, and pacific' means. Throughout his American journey he persisted doggedly in his efforts to move public feeling, even in the face of pro-slavery churches and a hostile pro-slavery federal government. He pressed the free states to gain control of the federal government and to end the advantages slaveholders got from their 'investiture with political rights, in proportion to the amount of their slave property' (1842). He excoriated the 'leading United States denominations' for their 'monstrous assertion that slavery is a Christian institution resting on scriptural basis,' an assertion he documented with written church statements. Sturge worked tirelessly to organize popular action, even after seeing mass economic sanctions and boycotts fail. But he continued to trust the impact of altered individual feelings and ideologies.

-- Autograph letter (June 24, 1845) signed ‘Joseph Sturge.’ Letter was written from Birmingham, addressed to an unknown ‘Esteemed Friend’, about parliamentary debates, with references to a speech by Sir Robert Peel (on the sugar question) and to the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society. 3 pp. 6 x 4 inches, in good condition.
Interesting Note: Sophia Sturge, his beloved sister, died in June 1845. This sad fact may have been on his mind as he wrote. Among other things, Sophia Sturge had trudged to around 3,000 households in Britain personally, asking them not to eat slave-grown sugar. She was quite a warrior against the evils of slavery. Whittier wrote a poem about Sophia after her death. Sophia was the president of the British Complete Suffrage Association. She was the colleague, counselor, and ever-ready helpmate of her brother in all his vast designs of beneficence. The Birmingham Pilot says of her: "Never, perhaps, were the active and passive virtues of the human character more harmoniously and beautifully blended than in this excellent woman." Here is Whittier's poem to Joseph about Sophia Sturge:

Thine is a grief, the depth of which another
May never know;
Yet, o'er the waters, O my stricken brother!
To thee I go.

I lean my heart unto thee, sadly folding
Thy hand in mine;
With even the weakness of my soul upholding
The strength of thine.

I never knew, like thee, the dear departed;
I stood not by
When, in calm trust, the pure and tranquil-hearted
Lay down to die.

And on thy ears my words of weak condoling
Must vainly fall
The funeral bell which in thy heart is tolling,
Sounds over all!

I will not mock thee with the poor world's common
And heartless phrase,
Nor wrong the memory of a sainted woman
With idle praise.

With silence only as their benediction,
God's angels come
Where, in the shadow of a great affliction,
The soul sits dumb!

Yet, would I say what thy own heart approveth
Our Father's will,
Calling to Him the dear one whom He loveth,
Is mercy still.

Not upon thee or thine the solemn angel
Hath evil wrought
Her funeral anthem is a glad evangel,--
The good die not!

God calls our loved ones, but we lose not wholly
What He hath given;
They live on earth, in thought and deed, as truly
As in His heaven.

And she is with thee; in thy path of trial
She walketh yet;
Still with the baptism of thy self-denial
Her locks are wet.

Up, then, my brother! Lo, the fields of harvest
Lie white in view
She lives and loves thee, and the God thou servest
To both is true.

Thrust in thy sickle! England's toilworn peasants
Thy call abide;
And she thou mourn'st, a pure and holy presence,
Shall glean beside!              -- By John G. Whittier

BACKGROUND: Joseph Sturge (1793–1859); Quaker philanthropist, son-in-law of James Cropper. Some of the earliest British and American anti-slavery speakers and writers were members of the Religious Society of Friends, or Quakers. The life and actions of Joseph Sturge exemplified in the nineteenth century the Quaker tradition of anti-slavery that George Fox, founder of the Friends, initiated in the seventeenth. Joseph Sturge was born in Gloucestershire in 1793 and died in Birmingham on May 1, 1859, after a life of radical political action supporting pacifism, working class rights, and the universal emancipation of slaves. Sturge succeeded admirably in pursuing radical goals through measured and diplomatic organizational behavior. He effectively directed popular protest toward achieving concrete steps in the long process of ending class oppression, whether it took the form of worldwide chattel slavery or wage slavery in Britain.  He was one of the founders of the agency committee of the Anti-Slavery Society. When the Emancipation Act of 1834 was finally passed in Parliament, Sturge refused to let the 'apprenticeship' provision rest. ('Apprenticeship' was the widely criticized intermediate stage on the route to emancipation chosen by the British government.) Boldly he set out in person, with Thomas Harvey, to investigate apprenticeship on the spot. Between Nov 1836 and April 1837 he and Harvey traveled through the West Indies gathering evidence to demonstrate the flaws of the apprenticeship system. Everywhere they went they observed apprenticeship in action and talked directly to apprentices, overseers, stipendiary magistrates, and proprietors. In Antigua, where the local legislature bypassed apprenticeship, Sturge and Harvey found that freed people had achieved a social and economic condition far superior to that of Jamaica, where apprenticeship prolonged the wretchedness of slavery. Their book, The West Indies in 1837 (1838), exposed for a broad public the cruelty and injustice of apprenticeship. While he was in Jamaica, Sturge helped found the Jamaican free village of Sturgetown. He brought to London a Jamaican apprentice, James Williams, who described in his own words the brutality of his apprentice life. Williams's story touched his audiences and stirred up agitation against apprenticeship. Sturge used what we now call field research in order to demonstrate his hypothesis about apprenticeship. This research strategy, combined with his unflagging protest activity, succeeded in shortening the period of apprenticeship by a full two years. Fifteen months after Sturge¹s West Indian trip, nearly 800,000 men and women held in apprenticeship became fully free. He founded the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society in 1839, and organized international anti-slavery conventions in 1840 and 1843. In 1841 he traveled through the United States with the poet J. G. Whittier, to observe the condition of the slaves there. On his return published A Visit to the United States in 1841 (1842). Sturge served as secretary of the Birmingham Anti-Slavery Society. A statue was erected in Birmingham in his honor after he died. The British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society (BFASS), founded in 1839 by Joseph Sturge, still survives today as Anti-Slavery International. Sturge worked tirelessly to organize popular action, even after seeing mass economic sanctions and boycotts fail. But he continued to trust the impact of altered individual feelings and ideologies. He put faith in the moral force of religion. In 1942 Joseph wrote, "Light and darkness, truth and falsehood, are not more in opposition than Christianity and slavery."

-- Joseph Sturge autograph -- 2 7/8 x 5 Page is hand signed in black ink pen.
-- Rare March 25, 1865 edition of a family journal, "The Leisure Hour." In this journal is a great article about Joseph Sturge, along with an excellent etching of Sturge. In this article the last meeting with Thomas Clarkson before he died. Here is what was written:

LAST PUBLICLY SPOKEN WORDS OF THOMAS CLARKSON: Slavery everywhere was attacked after it had fallen in the British dominions. Joseph Sturge, from the beginning of the new endeavors to the end of his life, was one of the main elements of strength and support. Readers will remember the celebrated conference held at the Freemason's Hall, June 1840, when and where were gathered between 500 and 600 delegates, from all parts of the world, we may say, besides all that was great and good in every philanthropic undertaking. It was a noble assembly. There Thomas Clarkson appeared for the last time in public. We give our readers a condensed account of the scene from the pen of the painter Haydon, who was present as an artist to find materials for one of the greatest pictures.
   "In a few minutes," he says, "an unaffected man got up and informed the meeting that Thomas Clarkson would attend shortly: he begged no tumultuous applause might greet his entrance, as his infirmities were great, and he was too nervous to bear any such expressions for feelings." This was Joseph Sturge. In a few minutes the aged Clarkson came in, gray and bent, leaning on Joseph Sturge for support, and approached with feeble and tottering steps, the middle of the convention. Immediately behind him were his daughter-in-law, the widow of his son, and his little grandson. The old man first appealed to the meeting for a few moments of silent prayer; and says Haydon, "for a minute there was the most intense silence I have ever felt." He spoke a few feeble words: every word was uttered from his heart.
   After urging the members to persevere to the last, til slavery was extinct, lifting his arm and pointing to heaven, his face quivering in emotion, he ended by saying, "May the Supreme Ruler of all human events, at whose disposal are not only the hearts, but the intellects of men -- may He, in His abundant mercy, guide your counsels and give His blessing upon your labours." There was a moment's pause; and then, without an interchange of thoughts or look, the whole of the vast meeting, men and women, said in a tone of subdued and deep feeling, "Amen and amen!"

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