“I never felt more entirely out of my sphere than when presuming to write in an Album,” Frederick Douglass noted in his 1850 contribution. His business-like, self-taught handwriting fills the page withan apology for his rougher contribution to an album filled with “beauty, elegance and refinement.” Douglass was becoming one of the most famous American orators of the 19th century but in his career to date had been a plantation slave laborer, a fugitive slave shipyard worker, and printer of his own newspaper, The North Star. He was in Philadelphia to attend a fundraising fair that Amy Cassey and her colleagues of the Women’s Association of Philadelphia sponsored to help support Douglass’s newspaper.

Click the image below to explore Frederick Douglass’ contribution.
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Frederick Douglass