Frederick Douglass Papers

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Collection Overview
Title: Frederick Douglass papers
Creator: Douglass, Frederick, 1818-1895
Call Number: A.D74
Dates: 1846-2019 ; 1846-1895 [bulk]
Physical Description: 4 containers [0.69 Cubic feet]
Language(s): Materials are in English
Repository: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester

Biographical/Historical Note
Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) was a prominent 19th century activist, orator, journalist, author, and diplomat. Born in slavery on Maryland's Eastern Shore, he escaped to Massachusetts via New York City in 1838. He began his career as a lecturer for the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society. His 1845 autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, described his childhood, family, escape North and early abolition work. He would go on to write two more autobiographies, and countless speeches and essays, despite his lack of a formal education. He was an avid correspondent, catching up with family members, discussing politics with other activists, and replying to requests for his speaking skills. Douglass was married twice; first to Anna Murray in 1838. He and Anna had five children, including two sons who fought in the Civil War. Two years after Anna's death in 1882, Douglass married Helen Pitts, a white woman twenty years his junior. The married caused controversy in both families. In 1847, Douglass and his family moved to Rochester, NY where he started his first newspaper, the North Star. The North Star's motto was "Right is of no Sex – Truth is of no Color – God is the Father of us all, and we are all brethren." A year later he was the only African American to attend the Seneca Falls Convention, the first women's rights convention. After the start of the Civil War, he worked to recruit African-American soldiers into the Union army. In 1872, after twenty-five years in Rochester, Douglass's house burned, and he moved to Washington D.C., where he took on a number of government positions, including consul-general to the Republic of Haiti and Chargé d'affaires for Santo Domingo. He continued to crusade for the rights of African-Americans and women until his death in 1895.

Scope and Content
The Frederick Douglass papers, 1846-2019, consists of correspondence and other material by and about Douglass. The bulk of the collection is correspondence written by Douglass, beginning with an 1846 letter written from his first trip to the United Kingdom. The collections contains letters written to correspondents including Theodore Tilton, Amy Post, Samuel J. May, Lewis Tappan, Lydia Maria Child, Johnson Mundy and Ebenezer Don Carlos Bassett. Some letters are very detailed and others are cursory responses to requests for Douglass's time or money. Most are written from Rochester or Washington, D.C. The collection also includes a variety of images of Douglass, including photographs and printed images, both contemporary and modern. The bulk of the collection consists of material created during Douglass's lifetime, but there is also a growing amount of material from late 20th century celebrations of his life and work.

Arrangement
The records have been arranged in 5 series, all have subsequent subseries. Material within each series have been arranged in in chronological order.

Series I: Correspondence, undated, 1846-1895

Series II: Legal Documents

Subseries I: Document signed by Douglass as U.S. Marshal

Subseries II: Documents signed by Douglass as Recorder of Deeds

Series III: Images

Subseries I: Photographs

Subseries II: Prints

Subseries III: Oversize Prints

Series IV: Ephemera

Subseries I: Print Ephemera

Subseries II: Oversize Print Ephemera

Subseries III: Three-Dimensional Ephemera

Subject(s):
Antislavery movements
African American press
Abolitionists
Correspondence
Porter, Samuel Drummond, 1808-1881
Parker, Jenny Marsh, 1836-1913
Post, Isaac, 1798-1872
Post, Amy Kirby, 1802-1889
Tilton, Theodore, 1835-1907
African American journalists
Journalists
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Acquired through the generosity of multiple endowments over multiple years, including the Friends of the University of Rochester Libraries, Robert Metzdorf, and the Special Collections endowment.Accruals
Accruals to the collection are expected throughout the year.Access
The Frederick Douglass papers is open for research use. Researchers are advised to contact Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation prior to visiting. Upon arrival, researchers will also be asked to fill out a registration form and provide photo identification.Use
Reproductions are made upon request but can be subject to restrictions. Permission to publish materials from the collection must currently be requested. Please note that some materials may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the researcher's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information contact rarebks@library.rochester.eduCitation
[Item title, item date], Frederick Douglass papers, A.D74, Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of RochesterRelated Materials
Manuscript material from and about Frederick Douglass is found in a number of other RBSCP collections.

Susan Brownell Anthony papers

James Elwood papers

Porter Family Papers

Isaac and Amy Post Family Papers

Gilbert H. Reynolds Papers

William Henry Seward Papers

Henry Augustus Ward Papers

Horatio Gates Warner Family Papers

Phebe Post Willis papers

For selected transcriptions, essays and images, please visit the Frederick Douglass Project .

RBSCP holds published material by and about Frederick Douglass, including speeches, books, broadsides, and issues of the North Star and other Douglass newspapers. Researchers can search the library catalog for these titles.


Administrative Information
Author: Autumn Haag
Publisher: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester
Address:
Rush Rhees Library
Second Floor, Room 225
Rochester, NY 14627-0055
rarebks@library.rochester.edu
URL:


Revision Information
2016-12: EAD revision
2019-03: Updated to include substantial accruals to the collection

Content List
Series I: Correspondence
Box 1, Folder 11846-1856
Frederick Douglass to Anna Richardson, August 19, 1846
Frederick Douglass to Samuel J. May, September 27, 1847
Frederick Douglass to Amy Post, October 28, 1847
F. W. Holland to Col. Moses Long, November 22, 1847
Samuel J. May to George Armstrong, March 10, 1848
Frederick Douglass to W. M. Rattery, August 27, 1849
Letter is written on a circular for the North Star.

George Thompson to Hiram Wilson, March 13, 1851
Frederick Douglass to Lewis Tappan, March 28, 1854
Frederick Douglass to James W. Stone, November, 1856
Frederick Douglass to unknown recipient, November 17, 1856
Box 1, Folder 21860-1869
Frederick Douglass to George Thompson, February 18, 1860
Frederick Douglass to Samuel J. May, August 30, 1861
Frederick Douglass to Theodore Tilton, November 22, 1862
Frederick Douglass to Lydia Maria Child, July 30, 1865
Frederick Douglass to C. B. Campbell, October 6, 1865
Frederick Douglass to unknown recipient, 1866
Frederick Douglass to Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Autograph sentiment signed by both, 1867
Frederick Douglass to Sylvester Rosa Koehler, May 1, 1868
Frederick Douglass to Sylvester Rosa Koehler, May 5, 1868
Frederick Douglass to John McIntosh, September 11, 1868
Frederick Douglass to F. N. Bullen, September 23, 1869
Frederick Douglass to McWilliams, September 26, 1869
Frederick Douglass to Theodore Tilton, December 2, 1869
Box 1, Folder 31871-1880
Frederick Douglass to M. A. Briggs, November 3, 1871
Benjamin Harris Brewster to President Ulysses S. Grant, December 3, 1871
Frederick Douglass to unknown recipient. Autograph sentiment, September 1, 1874
Frederick Douglass to unknown recipient, October 17, 1876
Frederick Douglass to unknown recipient. Autograph sentiment, February 4, 1877
Frederick Douglass to Rev. Thomas James, April 6, 1877
Frederick Douglass to W. F. Wakeman, April 18, 1877
Frederick Douglass to William R. Hallowell. Telegraph, May 9, 1877
Frederick Douglass to E. F. Strickland, February 8, 1878
Frederick Douglass to Charles Douglass, May 26, 1879
Frederick Douglass to William Alling, July 7, 1879
Frederick Douglass to Hon. John F. Edmunds, January 6, 1880
Frederick Douglass to Johnson M. Mundy, March 23, 1880
Box 1, Folder 41882-1895
Frederick Douglass to Sara Jane Clarke Lippincott, October 9, 1882
Frederick Douglass to Patience W. West, May 11, 1883
Frederick Douglass to Alphonso Alva Hopkins, November 6, 1883
Frederick Douglass to Alphonso Alva Hopkins, November 26, 1883
Frederick Douglass to Mr. Sherman, December 3, 1883
Helen Douglass to James McCormick Dalzell, September 3, 1884
James Freeman Clarke to Mrs. Mosher, November 30, 1884
Frederick Douglass to Jenny Marsh Parker, January 8, 1885
Frederick Douglass to D. W. Fessenden, April 1, 1885
Frederick Douglass to Jenny Marsh Parker, August 11, 1885
Frederick Douglass to Ebenezer Don Carlos Bassett, August 27, 1890
Ebenezer Don Carlos Bassett to Frederick Douglass, October 10, 1890
Frederick Douglass to Frederick A. Ober, March 30, 1891
Frederick Douglass to Lloyd Bryce, July 23, 1891
Frederick Douglass to Robert Adams, November 12, 1891
Frederick Douglass to H. Haupt, April 8, 1892
Frederick Douglass to [Robert] Adams, January 21, 1895
Box 1, Folder 5Undated
Frederick Douglass to unknown recipient, circa 1862-1867
Frederick Douglass to Geo. R. Lockwood and Sons, circa 1881
Frederick Douglass to Samuel Byram Halliday, November 11, circa 1885-1887
Frederick Douglass to unknown recipient, circa 1892-1895
Series II: Legal Documents
Box 1, Folder 6Document signed by Douglass as U.S. Marshal
Document from the Police Court of the District of Columbia ordering the arrest of John Brien for non-payment of fine for assault, November 11, 1878
Box 1, Folder 6Documents signed by Douglass as Recorder of Deeds
Deed from Moses Kelly, et al. to Frances J. Redway, March 3, 1884
Deed from Henry A. Willard to the Garfield Memorial Hospital, April 17, 1886
Indenture related to deed from Henry A. Willard to the Garfield Memorial Hospital, April 17, 1886
Deed from Abner W. C. Nowlin and wife Louisa N. Nowlin to Lewis D. Means and Jacob H. Kengla, May 1, 1886
Series III: Images
Box 1, Folder 7Photographs
Photograph of a postcard of the Douglass Monument, Rochester, N.Y., undated
Photograph of Frederick Douglass by an unidentified photographer glued to a cartoon on an envelope, undated
Cartoon reads "Old Blowregard will soon expire, While thus he drills his shy MAN-asses, For they can never stand our fire, While they feed on Secession grasses".

Carte-de-visite of Frederick Douglass taken by Samuel Montague Fassett, Chicago, Illinois, February 1864
Carte-de-visite of Frederick Douglass published by S. H. Colesworthy, Portland, Maine, circa 1865
Photographic cabinet cards (2) of Frederick Douglass taken by J. H. Kent, Rochester, New York, January 26, 1874
Includes an undated photographic copy of the image

Carte-de-visite of Frederick Douglass taken by George Kendall Warren, Boston, Massachusetts, Circa 1879
Photographic cabinet card of Frederick Douglass taken by J. H. Kent, Rochester, New York, November 3, 1882
Souvenir photograph of guests, including Frederick Douglass, at President Harrison's visit to Kodak Park, Memorial Day, 1892
Photographic cabinet card of the Frederick Douglass Monument taken by J. H. Kent, Rochester, New York, circa 1900
Box 1, Folder 8Prints
"Red, Black and Blue," rendering of Frederick Douglass on the American flag by P. Conant, undated
Lithograph of Frederick Douglass, engraved by J. C. Buttre, used as the frontispiece in Douglass's autobiography, circa 1845
Lithograph of Frederick Douglass, engraved by A. H. Ritchie, circa 1860
Chromolithograph depicting Frederick Douglass with his second wife Helen Pitts emerging from a pharmacy with a box of "Sulfer Bitters, the Great Blood Purifier", circa 1884-1885
Wood engraving of Frederick Douglass printed in a journal at the time of his death, circa February 20, 1895
Still image 1Oversize Prints
Thomas Cornell etching of Frederick Douglass, 1964
Thomas Cornell broadside, "Frederick Douglass, July 4, 1852", July 4, 1964
Charles Wells etchings of Frederick Douglass, 1986
RBSCP holds two copies of this print, 10/100 and 79/100

Frederick Douglass print by Frank Argento, 2018
Frederick Douglass print by Dellarious, 2018
Frederick Douglass print by Gods N Gladiators, 2018
Series IV: Ephemera
Music
Box 4, Object 4"Frederick Douglass: What the black man wants." Compact disk recording featuring narration by Michael Wright. Musical score by Leroy Hyter; words by Frederick Douglass. Hyter Productions, Inc., 1998
"The Meaning of July 4th for the Negro". Compact disk recording. Words by Frederick Douglass, read by Ossie Davis. Smithsonian Folkways Archival, 1975, 2006
Box 4, Object 2-3"A Sky With More Stars: Suite for Frederick Douglass." Compact disk recording featuring The Tyrone Brown Ensemble and narration by Paul Burgett. Music compositions by Tyrone Brown; words by Frederick Douglass. Dreambox Media, 2009
2 copies

"A Voice Ringing O'er the Gale! The Oratory of Frederick Douglass". Compact disk recording. Words by Frederick Douglass, read by Ossie Davis. Smithsonian Folkways Archival, 2009
Box 1, Folder 9Print Ephemera
Two Amos Kennedy prints of the Frederick Douglass quote "Once you learn to read, you will be forever free", undated
Postcard of Frederick Douglass statue, Rochester NY, undated
An order from the National Lincoln Monument Co. ordering 1000 sheets of letterhead, affixed to a receipt on New Era letterhead, August 2, 1870
Printed keepsake from the unveiling of the Douglass Monument, June 9, 1899
Application for membership in the Frederick Douglass Relief Association, 1900-1909
Advertisement for The Authentic History of the Douglass Monument by J. W. Thompson, 1903
Broadside program for a violin recital by Joseph Douglass at Wilberforce University, November 16, 1934
Music and lyrics for "His Name Shall Live Forever" by R. Alonzo Scott from the rededication ceremonies of the Douglass Monument in Highland Park, September 4, 1941
Envelope addressed to John K. King Books, Detroit, MI. Stamped with an advertisement for the United States Postal Service Frederick Douglass $0.25 stamp, circa 1967
United States Postal Service Frederick Douglass $0.25 stamp; on envelope; first day of issue, February 14, 1967
Includes memo about the stamp from Congressman Frank Horton's office

United States Postal Service Frederick Douglass $0.25 stamp; on envelope; first day of issue. Addressed to Professor Richard N. Rosett at the University of Rochester, February 14, 1967
(8) United States Postal Service Frederick Douglass $0.25 stamps, 1967
United States Postal Service advertisement for the $0.25 Frederick Douglass postage stamp, with 4 stamps, 1967
Color reproduction and greeting card with an image of Frederick Douglass quilt from the Howard Thurman Educational Trust, Circa 1970
Frederick Douglass twenty dollar bill produced by the African-American Face Reserve Obligation, 1991
United States Postal Service Civil War $0.32 stamp sheet; includes stamp of Frederick Douglass, June 29, 1995
United States Postal Service Frederick Douglass $0.32 stamp; on envelope; first day of issue, June 29, 1995
Frederick Douglass trading card from "The World's Champions" series published by Topps, 2008
Frederick Douglass trading card from the "American Heritage" series published by Topps, 2009
Frederick Douglass trading card from the "Historical Heroes" series published by Upper Deck, 2009
Frederick Douglass trading card from the "Legendary Cuts" series published by Upper Deck, 2009
Rochester Museum & Science Center notecard with image of Frederick Douglass, from a carte de visite, 2017
Frederick Douglass cartoon illustration on a notecard, 2018
Frederick Douglass sticker by Dellarious, 2018
200 Years of Douglass sticker produced by the City of Rochester, 2018
Program, ticket, and bookplate from Prophet of Freedom event at Hochstein, December 3, 2018
Mixed material 1Oversize Print Ephemera
Amos Kennedy print with Frederick Douglass quote, undated
Poster produced by the Frederick Douglass Institute for African and African-American Studies, University of Rochester, undated
United States Colored Troops commemoration poster, undated
Newspaper account of Douglass's death and funeral, Union and Advertiser, Rochester, NY, March 2, 1895
Frederick Douglass poster, 1991
Poster advertising the world premiere of the opera Frederick Douglass, 1991
Frederick Douglass Centennial poster, 1995
Exhibit poster produced by the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Rochester, February 14 - May 10, 2003
Poster produced by the Frederick Douglass Institute for African and African-American Studies, University of Rochester, March 27-29, 2003
Frederick Douglass poster from the Syracuse Poster Project, 2008
Frederick Douglass poster produced as part of RoCo's No Soil Better, Art + The Living Legacy of Frederick Douglass exhibition, February 2018
Poster for the No Soil Better, Art + The Living Legacy of Frederick Douglass exhibition at RoCo, February 2018
Poster and postcard for Kenneth Morris Jr.'s talk at the University of Rochester, April 5, 2018
Poster for marathon readings of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, July 2018
Poster for St. John Fisher College's program Lifting Up the ROC(k). Poster includes a Frederick Douglass image and quote, March 2019
Three-Dimensional Ephemera
Bust of Frederick Douglass, created by the National Park Service, undated
Box 4, Object 11Magnet with Douglass image from circa 1863 carte de visite by B. F. Smith & Son, Portland, ME, undated
Box 2, Object 2Souvenir sterling silver spoon, undated
Embossed with image of Frederick Douglass and the words "Born 1817 Maryland". The handle includes the dates 1838, 1841, 1863, 1872, 1877, 1889, and 1895.

Lock of Frederick Douglass's hair, 1869
Box 2, Object 1Souvenir sterling silver spoon, 1895
Embossed with image of Frederick Douglass, a log cabin, and the words "Fred'k Douglass". Believed to have been designed and produced by William H. Purdy and Leonard C. Peters. Labeled on the back, "Pat. April 23, 1895".

Box 3, Object 20Paperweight with picture of Douglass Monument, circa 1899
Box 3, Object 21Keepsake pin from the unveiling of the Douglass Monument, June 9, 1899
Black history playing cards with Frederick Douglass as the King of Spades, 1977
Box 3, Object 19Commemorative Douglass coin issued for the sesquicentennial celebrations of Rochester, NY, 1984
Box 4, Object 6The Cat's Meow Black Heritage Series model of Frederick Douglass's home, Cedar Hill, 1994
Box 4, Object 1Frederick Douglass and The North Star figurine, 1995
Box 3, Object 5Frederick Douglass finger puppet, circa 2000
Box 3, Object 3Frederick Douglass puzzle, circa 2008
Box 3, Object 1Frederick Douglass instant disguise kit, 2015
Box 4, Object 7-8Frederick Douglass quarters (5), 2017
Box 4, Object 14Frederick Douglass small doll on stand, 2017
Box 3, Object 2Frederick Douglass wig and goatee, 2017
200 Years of Douglass pins, created by the City of Rochester, 2018
Frederick Douglass Bicentennial T-shirt, 2018
T-shirt was designed by Rochester City Schools students.

Box 4, Object 15Frederick Douglass coin ring, 2018
Box 3, Object 4Frederick Douglass doll, 2018
Box 4, Object 10Frederick Douglass earrings, 2018
Box 4, Object 12Frederick Douglass peg figure, 2018
Box 4, Object 13Frederick Douglass peg figure, 2018
Frederick Douglass pin, created by the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives, 2018
Douglass pins and magnets created by RBSCP, 2018
Box 4, Object 9Frederick Douglass rubber stamp, 2018
Small bust of Frederick Douglass, 3D printed from a scan of the University of Rochester's Johnson Mundy bust of Douglass, 2018
Smaller bust of Frederick Douglass, 3D printed from a scan of the University of Rochester's Johnson Mundy bust of Douglass, 2018
Frederick Douglass lapel pin, 2019


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