Words and Deeds in American History: Selected Documents Celebrating the Manuscript Division's First 100 Years

Chapter from Frederick Douglass's draft manuscript of his autobiography, Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, ca. 1880.
(Frederick Douglass Papers)


The Washington, D.C., home and personal papers of abolitionist and statesman Frederick Douglass (1817?-1895) were preserved by the tireless efforts of the Frederick Douglass Memorial Association, a group composed almost entirely of African-American women. When the association had raised enough money to preserve "Cedar Hill," the house in Anacostia where Douglass lived from 1877 until his death in 1895, it turned the site over to the United States National Park Service. The Park Service, in turn, asked the Library of Congress to house the papers found in the Douglass home.

The Frederick Douglass Papers span the years 1841-1967, with the bulk of the material concentrated in the period 1862-95. The collection includes a draft of Douglass's much-reprinted autobiography, Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (1881). Life and Times is the final form of an autobiography first published as the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845) and later expanded in My Bondage and My Freedom (1855). In this chapter from the Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, Douglass recounts how he used the papers of a free African-American sailor to escape from slavery.

Adrienne Cannon, Manuscript Division

For Additional Information
For additional information on the Frederick Douglass Papers, you can leave this site and read a summary catalog record for the collection.

Reproduction Number:
A31 (color slide; page 1); LC-MSS-11879-1 (B&W negative; page 1)

Related Terms:
Abolitionists | African Americans | Autobiography | Cedar Hill (Washington, D.C.) | Douglass, Frederick (1817?-1895) | Historic preservation | Literature | Slave narratives | Slavery

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