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Collection Frederick Douglass Papers at the Library of Congress

1877 to 1895

  • 1877

    Douglass is appointed U.S. marshal of the District of Columbia by President Hayes.

  • 1878

    Purchases Cedar Hill, in Anacostia, Washington, D.C. The twenty-room house sits on nine acres of land. He later expands the estate by buying fifteen acres of adjoining land.

  • 1881

    Publishes his third and final autobiography, The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass.

    President Garfield appoints one of his own friends to the post U.S. Marshall and makes Douglass recorder of deeds for the District of Columbia, then a high-paying job.

    August 4

    Douglass's wife of forty-four years, Anna Murray Douglass, dies after suffering a stroke. Douglass goes into a depression.

  • 1883

    The U.S. Supreme Court rules the Civil Rights Act of 1875 unconstitutional.

  • 1884

    January 24

    Douglass marries Helen Pitts, a white woman who had been his secretary when he was recorder of deeds. The interracial marriage causes controversy among the Douglasses' friends, family, and the public.

  • 1886-87

    Tours Europe and Africa with wife.

  • 1889

    July 1

    Appointed U.S. minister resident and consul general, Republic of Haiti, and chargé d'affaires, Santo Domingo. Arrives in Haiti in October.

  • 1890

    The U.S. government instructs Douglass to ask permission for the U.S. Navy to use the Haitian port town of Môle St. Nicholas as a refueling station.

  • 1891

    In April Haiti rejects the Navy's proposal as too intrusive. The U.S. press reports that Douglass is too sympathetic to Haitian interests. Douglass resigns as minister to Haiti in July.

  • 1892-93

    Douglass is commissioner in charge of the Haitian exhibit at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

  • 1895

    February 20

    Speaks at a meeting of the National Council of Women in Washington, D.C. Dies suddenly that evening of heart failure while describing the meeting to his wife.

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