Abolitionists' Archive

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Reference code

US TxAM-C C000553

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Abolitionists' Archive


  • 1795-1910; Undated (Creation)


1 Box

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Scope and content

The collection contains over 100 rare letters, autograph quotations, and photographs from 50 major figures in the American antislavery struggle, including several rare autographs from key British abolitionists. Many of the individuals noted provided selfless support, financially, morally, and wrote on behalf of the abolishment of the 'peculiar' institution of slavery. Some of the well-known abolitionists include Henry Ward Beecher, Blanche K. Bruce, William Channing, William Lloyd Garrison, Joshua R. Giddings, the Grimke sisters, Gerrit Smith, Thaddeus Stevens, Charles Sumner, and Lewis Tappan, one of the leading financial supporters of the Amistad Africans.

The collection contains photographs and newspaper clippings of these 50 prominent abolitionists.

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The collection is arranged in alphabetical order, with some individuals having more than one letter or document.

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Vendor Description:
In the years after slavery was abolished, autograph seekers and manuscript collectors commemorated the struggle by piecing together collections representing the heroes of abolition. While there is no antislavery equivalent to a complete set of Signers of the Declaration, the present collection of over 100 letters and autograph quotations includes many of the major figures in the American antislavery struggle, several British stalwarts, and a few individuals who rarely appear on the market.

One of the highlights is an 1839 letter from William Patton, addressed to his sister, in which he passionately answers the question "What good all this agitating will do?" Also noteworthy is a letter from Alvan Stewart discussing a recent publication of his on "the Liberty party - its objects, aims, the course of slavery in different ages, demonstrating the declaration of independence a practicality & showing the condition of slave states, as compared with free, showing 6 millions ruined…" In another letter, Unitarian minister John Weiss writes to a colleague discussing the best strategy for introducing antislavery to his congregation in a way which "enhances its meaning and prevents it from being spent upon the air." Parker Pillsbury also reminisces about William Lloyd Garrison, writing that he "never deserted him in any of his finest battles on whatever field. And I hope ere long to meet him under other and brighter skies, to renew our conquests upward and onward…" A scarce letter from the African-American Senator Blanche K. Bruce adds depth to the collection, as does an exceptionally rare signed note from the Haitian revolutionary leader Jean Kina.

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Archivist's note

© Copyright 2019 Cushing Library. All rights reserved.

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