In honor of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Douglass, the University of Rochester, River Campus Library Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation will exhibit some of its rich holdings relating to this important nineteenth-century American activist, publisher, author, and statesman. The exhibition will showcase many aspects of Douglass’s life and legacy as reflected through archival material including letters, publications, maps, photographs, newspapers, and ephemera
The exhibit will include a selection from more than a hundred Douglass letters, among them the letter he wrote to Amy Post on October 28, 1847, where he informed her he was about to move to Rochester to begin publishing his anti-slavery newspaper, The North Star.
Other items that will be on display are a rare printed advertisement for The North Star with notes written on its back by Amy Post during the 1848 Rochester Women’s Rights Convention; the first book that Douglass purchased after his escape from slavery; and an underground railroad pass in which Douglass asks Amy Post to shelter a fugitive slave in her house. The exhibit will shed light on Douglass through exploring his life, his family, his work, his passions, and his legacy, with some focus on his years in the city of Rochester.
Douglass considered Rochester his hometown, living in the city from 1848 until 1872. Upon his death in 1895, he was returned to Rochester, where he was buried in Mount Hope Cemetery.
The exhibit is part of the year-long celebration of Frederick Douglass in the city of Rochester, of which the River Campus Libraries is a partner. Additional Douglass-related events and activities are planned throughout the city and the University of Rochester for all of 2018.
RBSCP serves as a collection of record for Frederick Douglass materials. Over the years, the Department has continued to acquire Douglass materials with the support of endowment funds and through the generosity of the Friends of the University of Rochester Libraries (FURL).
The exhibit opens Wednesday, February 14, 2018. On Thursday, February 15, RBSCP will hold an opening reception for the Douglass exhibit, hosted by FURL from 5:00-6:30. Both the exhibit and the reception are free and open to all.
For more information about Rochester’s planned Douglass Bicentennial activities visit: