Before embarking on this mission to uncover Frederick Douglass in D.C, George Alfred Townsend aka “Gath” was one of my favorite journalists of the 19th century. Come to find out that Douglass and Townsend corresponded… and Townsend wrote an 1875 profile of Washington for Harper’s that features Douglass. Small world, huh man?
Here’s the transcription of an 1880 letter Townsend sent to Douglass.
Dear sir, With this I send you a book I have recently published where you will find some sketches of the Eastern Shore of Maryland. I have often read your book on your youth in the country with delight.
I wish you would send me your autograph letter, so I can put it in your book.
With very much esteem
George Alfred Townsend
242 W. 23rd Street
New York City
April 29, 1880