Posts Tagged Recorder of Deeds
Frederick Douglass, Jr. letter to Simon Wolf & Simon Wolf letter to Frederick Douglass, Jr. (National Republican, 22 May, 1869)
THE QUESTION OF COLOR.
Application for a Clerkship from Frederick Douglass, jr.
Yesterday Simon Wolf, esq., the newly appointed register of deeds, received the following letter from Frederick Douglass, jr., a brother of Mr. Douglass, at the Government office, (and not the “colored printer at the Government office,” as erroneously stated in the Star of yesterday.) The letter will be read with interest at this time:
Washington, D.C., May 21, 1869.
Simon Wolf, esq., Register of Deeds:
DEAR SIR: I have the honor to request an appointment as clerk in the office of which you have the distinguished honor to be the head. I belong to that despised class which has not been known in the field of applicants for position under the Government heretofore. I served my country during the war, under the colors of Massachusetts, my own native State, and am the son of a man (Frederick Douglass) who was once held in a bondage protected by the laws of this nation; a nation, the perpetuity of which, with many others of my race, I struggled to maintain. I am by trade a printer, but in consequence of combinations entered into by printers’ unions throughout the country, I am unable to obtain employment at it. I therefore hope that you will give this, my application, the most favorable consideration.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
FREDERICK DOUGLASS, JR.
To this letter Register Wolf made the following reply:
Washington, D.C., May 21, 1869.
Your application is before me, and has received favorable consideration. I see no reason in the world why you or your race should not have the full countenance in the struggle for progress and education, and I am particularly happy in being the means of encouraging you; for, as a descendant of a race equally maligned and prejudged, I have a feeling of common cause; and who can foresee but what the stone the builders reject may become the head stone of our political and social structure.
“The Question of Color,” 22 May, 1869. The National Republican, 1.
Officer of the Recorder of Deeds,
District of Columbia
Washington, D.C., May 23d, 1881.
Hon. Charles Devens:
My dear Sir:
I thank you very sincerely for your kind and valued letter of congratulations after my confirmation as Register of Deeds and especially for the good word you were pleased to speak for me to the President of the United States. That word would no doubt have earned my retention in the office of U.S. Marshal, but for the President’s preference for a personal friend. My present office is even better suited to my tastes than the Marshalship and is sufficiently [illegible.] Allow me to express my pleasure that Massachusetts continues to honor you with [illegible] responsible position. I shall look back with satisfaction to the four years I served under you as Marshal and you were Attorney General of the United States.
Very truly yours,
Frederick Douglass Papers, Library of Congress; 1881, Jan. – Jun. (Series: General Correspondence): Image 39 of 61
While interning at the National Archives’ Center for Legislative Archives in the summer of 2010, Daniel Rice stumbled upon an important document to Douglass-cana; 20th President James Garfield‘s (R) nomination of Frederick Douglass as D.C. Recorder of Deeds.
The nomination reads,
“To The Senate of the United States:
I nominate Frederick Douglass of the District of Columbia to be the Recorder of Deeds in the District of Columbia, vice George A. Sheridan who has resigned.”
On May 17, 1881, 131 years ago today, Douglass was confirmed by a 47-8 vote in the United States Senate. Make sure you check out the post on “Rice on History” to view photos of the actual voting tally.