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“The Most Influential African American Of The 19th Century”

62. DOUGLASS, Frederick.

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass,

An American Slave.

Boston, 1845. 12mo, original brown cloth, custom

clamshell box.


First edition of Douglass’ powerful autobiography, published only seven

years after his escape from slavery, with engraved portrait of Douglass,

in original cloth.

Often banned for its language and its unforgiving

depiction of life in slavery, Douglass’ Narrative is currently banned at

Guantanamo Bay, presumably for its pro-abolition sentiments.

William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillips, who respectively

wrote the preface and an introduction to this edition, “had advised

Douglass to burn the manuscript unless he would be recaptured and

enslaved again”; today, the volume is “probably the best known narra-

tive of the ante-bellum period” (Blockson, 27). Bookplate of Richards

Merry Bradley and Amy Aldis Bradley, descendants of the first U.S.

Senator for Vermont and influential Civil War judge Asa Owen Aldis.


“My long-crushed spirit rose,

cowardice departed, bold

defiance took its place; and I

now resolved that, however long

I might remain a slave in form,

the day had passed forever when

I could be a slave in fact.”