The Frederick Douglass Papers at the Library of Congress presents the papers of the nineteenth-century African American abolitionist who escaped from slavery and then risked his freedom by becoming an outspoken antislavery lecturer, writer, and publisher. The online collection, containing approximately 7,400 items (38,000 images), spans the years 1841-1964, with the bulk of the material dating from 1862 to 1865. Many of Douglass’s earlier writings were destroyed when his house in Rochester, New York, burned in 1872.
The collection contains a Diary documenting Douglass’s 1886-1887 tour of Europe and Africa, as well as Family Papers featuring the biography of Anna Murray Douglass, Frederick Douglass’s wife of forty-four years, written by their daughter, Rosetta Douglass Sprague.
The General Correspondence includes letters Douglass received from prominent reformers and politicians, including Susan B. Anthony, Grover Cleveland, William Lloyd Garrison, Benjamin Harrison, Russell Lant, Gerrit Smith, and Ida B. Wells. Douglass’ correspondence is arranged a chronologically, and alphabetically arranged correspondents index is available on the Library of Congress Website.
The collection also includes a Subject File which reflects Douglass’s interests in diverse subjects such as politics, racial prejudice, and prison reform. The Speech, Article and Book File contains the writings of Douglass and his contemporaries in the abolitionist and women’s rights movements and includes autographed copies of editorials and opinion pieces from Douglass’ antislavery weekly, North Star, and a partial handwritten draft of Douglass’s third autobiography, The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass.
Rounding out the collection are Financial Papers including bank books, receipts, checks, ledgers, contracts, stocks, bonds, and insurance policies. A Legal File which contains wills, deeds, mortgages, copyrights, lawsuits, and miscellaneous legal documents and Miscellany which includes newspaper clippings and photographs. The Addition I includes scrapbooks that document Douglass’s role as minister to Haiti and the controversy surrounding his interracial second marriage as well as correspondence and financial papers.