The Frederick Douglass Papers collects, edits, and publishes in books and online the speeches, letters, autobiographies, and other writings of Frederick Douglass. The project's primary aim has been to make the surviving works by this African American figure accessible to a broad audience, much as similar projects have done for the papers of notable white historical and literary figures. As such, the Frederick Douglass Papers is one of the few major documentary editing projects (in progress) devoted to an African American figure. Other similar on-going projects include the Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project at Stanford University, and the Freedman and Southern Society Project at the University of Maryland.
The original heart of the project is the publication by Yale University Press of fifteen volumes of the most historically significant of Douglass’s works; nine of these volumes have been published so far, as well as several ancillary paperback volumes. In recent years the project has also begun utilizing the internet to make both its electronic texts of Douglass’s works, as well as research tools related to Douglass, accessible to an even broader audience.