Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

The Frederick Douglass Papers at the Library of Congress (1841 – 1964)

The Frederick Douglass Papers at the Library of Congress (1841 – 1964)  –  http://www.loc.gov/collection/frederick-douglass-papers/about-this-collection/

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What did 19th Century social invitations look like?
  • What was life like for an educated freedman?
  • What was the “Convention of Colored Citizens of Kentucky?”


Papers from freed African-American Frederick Douglass. The papers show a broad interest in subjects of his day and included correspondence with a number of famous 19th century figures including Susan B. Anthony, William Lloyd Garrison, Gerrit Smith, Horace Greeley, and Russell Lant, and political leaders such as Grover Cleveland and Benjamin Harrison.
The papers may be searched by keyword or personal name. It may also be browsed by personal name or by series. Four of the series of potential interest to writers are:

  • Diary, 1886-94 – A single diary kept by Douglass during his 1886-87 tour of Europe and Africa, with notes added in later years.
  • Financial Papers, 1847-1928 and Undated – Bankbooks, bills, receipts, canceled checks, contracts, insurance policies, ledger books, promissory notes, lists, stocks and bonds, and tax bills.
  • Legal File, 1843-1900 and Undated – Abstracts of titles, agreements, copyrights, deeds, depositions, mortgages, lawsuits, articles of incorporation, wills, and miscellaneous legal documents.
  • Miscellany, 1870-1924 – Invitations to private and public functions, maps, memorabilia, and miscellaneous printed matter.

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