National Historical Publications & Records Commission

Frederick Douglass Papers

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Frederick Douglass in 1847, around 29 years old. Courtesy National Portrait Gallery


Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis

Additional information at:

Frederick Douglass, born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, (1818–1895) was an African American social reformer, orator, writer and statesman. After escaping from slavery, he became a leader of the abolitionist movement. The popularity of his speaking engagements led to the publication of his Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, American Slave (1845), the first of his three autobiographies, in which he told the harrowing tale of his childhood as a slave, and for the first time revealed actual names and locations. Following a two-year (1845-46) lecture tour of Great Britain, Douglass returned to the United States, settled in Rochester, New York, and began publication of what would be the first of four newspapers: The North Star (1847-51), Frederick Douglass' Paper (1851-60), Douglass' Monthly (1859-63), and the New National Era (1870-74). Douglass took an active role in the recruitment of African American soldiers for the Union Army, including two of his own sons (Charles and Lewis Douglass). After Emancipation, he also campaigned actively for the Woman Suffrage movement, whose first public a meeting in Seneca Falls, New York, he had famously attended. After moving to Washington D.C. in the early 1870s, Douglass held a variety of positions in the federal government (under several different Republican administrations), including Minister-Resident and Consul-General to Haiti from 1889 to 1891. 

Series I: Speeches, Debates, and Interviews from 1841-1895 (complete).

Series II: Autobiographical Writings (complete)

Series III: Correspondence (3 volumes complete of a 4-volume edition)

Series IV will contain Editorials

To be completed in four series and 15 volumes.


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