The National Digital Library Program and the Manuscript Division of the
Library of Congress announce the first release of The Frederick Douglass
Papers at the Library of Congress on the American Memory Collections Web
site at <http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/doughtml/>.
Frederick Douglass, nineteenth-century African-American abolitionist and
orator, risked his freedom after his own escape from slavery by becoming
an outspoken antislavery lecturer, writer, and publisher. After he
moved to New York his house became a stop on the Underground Railroad,
as he and his wife helped escaped slaves fleeing to the North. During
the Civil War he advised President Lincoln and recruited and helped
organize regiments of African-American soldiers for the Union. After
Emancipation, he continued fighting for civil rights for African
Americans, but also took up the cause of rights for women and other
oppressed members of society. In his later years, he served as a bank
president and in several government posts, including minister to Haiti
and U.S. marshal of the District of Columbia.
The Frederick Douglass Papers at the Library of Congress consists
primarily of the papers that were in Douglass's library when he died in
1895. The first online release of approximately 2,000 items (16,000
images) shows the wide range of his activities and interests. The
printed Speech, Article and Book Series shows the writings of Douglass
and his contemporaries in the abolitionist and early women's rights
movements. In addition to Douglass's own publications, this
presentation highlights speeches and articles by Henry Ward Beecher, Ida
B. Wells, Gerrit Smith, Horace Greeley, and others. Included are
handwritten drafts of Douglass's third autobiography, The Life and Times
of Frederick Douglass, and a biography of Anna Murray Douglass, his wife
of forty-four years, written by their daughter, Rosetta Douglass
Sprague. The Subject File Series reveals Douglass's interest in diverse
subjects such as politics, emancipation, racial prejudice, women's
suffrage, and prison reform. Douglass's scrapbooks of newspaper
articles document his role as minister to Haiti and the controversy
surrounding his second marriage to Helen Pitts.
The site will also feature three special presentations. An illustrated
timeline will give a brief narrative of Douglass's life. A family tree
will show Douglass and his relatives, and links will be provided to
online texts of all three of Douglass's autobiographies.
The extensive Correspondence Series is expected to be released online in
2003. Production of the online collection of the Frederick Douglass
Papers was made possible by a major gift from the Citigroup Foundation.
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