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Collection Frederick Douglass Papers at the Library of Congress

In His Own Words

To understand Frederick Douglass, his struggles, and the times he lived in, one must read about his life in his own words. Below are links to complete online texts of all three Douglass autobiographies. Two have been part of online collections at the Library of Congress; one is provided by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries.

The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave is the 1849 edition of Douglass's first autobiography, originally published in 1845. The electronic edition was originally created as part of the American Memory online collection The Capital and the Bay: Narratives of Washington and the Chesapeake Bay Region, ca. 1600-1925.

My Bondage and My Freedom External is Douglass's expanded autobiography first published in 1855. The 1857 edition appears as part of The Nineteenth Century in Print, an American Memory collection in collaboration with the University of Michigan's Making of America

The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass External is Douglass's final autobiography, first published in 1881. This electronic edition is from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries' Documenting the American South External digitization project, created with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.