Picturing Frederick Douglass

ebook An Illustrated Biography of the Nineteenth Century's Most Photographed American

By Celeste-Marie Bernier

cover image of Picturing Frederick Douglass

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Finalist for the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize

A landmark and collectible volume—beautifully produced in duotone—that canonizes Frederick Douglass through historic photography.

Commemorating the bicentennial of Frederick Douglass's birthday and featuring images discovered since its original publication in 2015, this "tour de force" (Library Journal, starred review) reintroduced Frederick Douglass to a twenty-first-century audience. From these pages—which include over 160 photographs of Douglass, as well as his previously unpublished writings and speeches on visual aesthetics—we learn that neither Custer nor Twain, nor even Abraham Lincoln, was the most photographed American of the nineteenth century. Indeed, it was Frederick Douglass, the ex-slave-turned-abolitionist, eloquent orator, and seminal writer, who is canonized here as a leading pioneer in photography and a prescient theorist who believed in the explosive social power of what was then just an emerging art form.

Featuring:

  • Contributions from Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Kenneth B. Morris, Jr. (a direct Douglass descendent)
  • 160 separate photographs of Douglass—many of which have never been publicly seen and were long lost to history
  • A collection of contemporaneous artwork that shows how powerful Douglass's photographic legacy remains today, over a century after his death
  • All Douglass's previously unpublished writings and speeches on visual aesthetics
  • Available to buy

    Picturing Frederick Douglass