Collection Frederick Douglass Papers at the Library of CongressHide Featured Items
Frederick Douglass's genealogical notes, n.d. Autograph ...
Chapter from Frederick Douglass's autobiography, Life and Times ...
Frederick Douglass to William Lloyd Garrison reporting on his ...
Frederick Douglass's tribute to John Brown, 1860. Typescript.
C.W. Foster, U.S. War Department, to Frederick Douglass ...
Frederick Douglass's opinion of Abraham Lincoln, 1865. Autograph...
Newspaper reports of Frederick Douglass's marriage to Helen ...
Diary kept by Frederick Douglass on his tour of Europe and ...
Frederick Douglass with his grandson Joseph H. Douglass, a ...
Susan B. Anthony to Frederick Douglass concerning the 40th ...
Frederick Douglass to James G. Blaine concerning a U.S. naval ...
Frederick Douglass's last major speech, 'Lessons of the Hour,' a...
The Frederick Douglass Papers at the Library of Congress presents the papers of the nineteenth-century African American abolitionist who escaped from slavery and then risked his freedom by becoming an outspoken antislavery lecturer, writer, and publisher. The online collection, containing approximately 7,400 items (38,000 images), spans the years 1841-1964, with the bulk of the material dating from 1862 to 1865. Many of Douglass’s earlier writings were destroyed when his house in Rochester, New York, burned in 1872.
The collection is organized in the following series:
The Frederick Douglass Papers were originally in the library at Cedar Hill, Douglass’s home in Anacostia, Washington, D.C., from 1878 until his death in1895. In 1900 Helen Pitts Douglass, Douglass’s second wife, established the Frederick Douglass Memorial and Historical Association so that the home and its contents might be maintained after her death. The association held the property from 1903 until 1916, when it joined forces with the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs. In 1962 Congress declared Cedar Hill a national historical site, and ownership of the home and its contents was transferred to the National Park Service.
The National Park Service transferred the Frederick Douglass Papers to the Library of Congress between 1972 and 1974 to ensure their proper custodial care and to make them more readily accessible to researchers. In 1975 additional Douglass materials were acquired by the Library of Congress and added to the Frederick Douglass Papers as the Addition I Series. The papers were microfilmed and made available to the public. The online Frederick Douglass Papers at the Library of Congress has been digitally scanned from a thirty-four-reel microfilm set. Since the microfilming was performed, additional materials have been received; they are currently contained in the Addition II Series. These new materials have not been microfilmed and are not included yet in this online collection.
Frederick Douglass documented many instances of racial prejudice and violence in his papers. Therefore, some of the materials in this online historical collection contain language or negative stereotypes that may be offensive to some readers.
Rights and Access
The Library of Congress provides access to The Frederick Douglass Papers at the Library of Congress for educational and research purposes and makes no warranty with regard to their use for other purposes. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and securing any necessary permissions ultimately rests with persons desiring to use the item. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or holders of other rights (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. There may be content that is protected under the copyright or neighboring-rights laws of other nations.
Credit Line: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division
Letter, Henry O. Tanner to Frederick Douglass, May 7, 1894, made available here with permission from Dr. Rae Alexander-Minter.
More about Copyright and other Restrictions
For guidance about compiling full citations consult Citing Primary Sources.
- Finding Aid for the Frederick Douglass Papers
- Frederick Douglass Papers Project, Indiana University and Purdue University
- From Slavery to Freedom: The African-American Pamphlet Collection, 1822-1909. Washington, D.C. American Memory Project, Library of Congress, 2000.
- Frederick Douglass National Historic Site
- Manuscript Reading Room