My Bondage and My Freedom

Frederick DOUGLASS

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"THE MOST INFLUENTIAL AFRICAN AMERICAN OF THE 19TH CENTURY": FIRST EDITION OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS' MY BONDAGE AND MY FREEDOM, 1855

DOUGLASS, Frederick. My Bondage and My Freedom. Part I.—Life as a Slave. Part II.—Life as a Freeman. New York and Auburn: Miller, Orton & Mulligan, 1855. Small octavo (5-1/2 by 7-3/4 inches), original blindstamped brown cloth.

First edition of Douglass' second autobiography—his "'true' life story"—with three engraved plates, including the stipple-engraved frontispiece from the classic daguerreotype of Douglass, and printed extracts from his famous speeches, in original cloth.

"The most influential African American of the 19th century" (ANB), Douglass was "the most powerful abolitionist speaker in the country" (Negro History). Throughout his life, "Douglass understood that the struggle for emancipation and equality demanded forceful, persistent, and unyielding agitation. And he recognized that African Americans must play a conspicuous role in that struggle" (ANB). Appearing a decade after his initial, brief autobiography, My Bondage and My Freedom is the work "critics have increasingly called Douglass' 'true' life story" (Lee, Slavery, Philosophy and American Literature, 99). Described by Eric Sundquist as "a classic text of the American Renaissance," this authoritative narrative, published within five years of the Civil War, documents "Douglass' ongoing critique of American racism… In 1855, more so than in 1845, Douglass realized that his life's story had the power to influence social and political change for black and white Americans" (John David Smith). With introduction by Dr. James M'Cune Smith; bound without rear advertisements. Blockson 9717. Sabin 20714. Early owner signature.

Light expert cleaning to three engraved plates and some text leaves, expert repairs to text block, expert restoration to original cloth. A very good copy.

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