Welcome to The Frederick Douglass Papers
Born into slavery in Talbot County, Maryland, Frederick Douglass (1818-95) became one of the most influential human rights activist of the nineteenth century, as well as an internationally acclaimed statesmen, orator, editor, and author. 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.
Explore Frederick Douglass Papers Online
The Frederick Douglass Papers Digital Edition offers more than 800 documents from the project's volumes. This online resource will ultimately contain all of the content of the multi-volume Yale University Press print edition of Douglass’s speeches, autobiographies, correspondence, other writings, all the unpublished correspondence, as well as other unpublished materials including editorial and speech tests.
"If there is no struggle there is no progress…. Power concedes nothing without a demand, It never did and it never will."
From the speech, "The Significance of Emancipation in the West Indies," 3 August 1857, Douglass Papers, ser. 1, 3:204.
New Release: Journalism and Other Writings, Volume 1
The first volume of the Journalism and Other Writings Series was published by Yale University Press in late 2021. Launching the fourth series of The Frederick Douglass Papers, designed to introduce readers to the broadest range of Frederick Douglass’s writing, this volume contains sixty-seven pieces by Douglass, including articles written for the North American Review and the New York Independent, as well as unpublished poems, book transcriptions, and travel diaries. Spanning from the 1840s to the 1890s, the documents reproduced in this volume demonstrate how Douglass’s writing evolved over the five decades of his public life. Where his writing for publication was concerned mostly with antislavery advocacy, his unpublished works give readers a glimpse into his religious and personal reflections. The writings are organized chronologically and accompanied by annotations offering biographical information as well as explanations of events mentioned and literary or historical allusions.
Coming Soon: Correspondence, Volume 3
The third volume of the Correspondence Series is now in press and will be published in 2022. This volume reproduces selected correspondence to and from Douglass from the years 1866 to 1880. It produces letters discussing the crucial issues of the Reconstruction Era; Douglass’s career as editor of the Washington (D.C.) New National Era, president of the Freedmen’s Savings Bank, marshal of the District of Columbia, and his active involvement in not just politics but reform causes such as women’s rights. The texts of these letters are accompanied by detailed annotation making Douglass life and times accessible to modern readers.
"I have never yet been able to find one consideration, one argument, or suggestion in favor of man's right to participate in civil government which did not equally apply to the right of women."
Autobiography: Life and Times, 1881, p. 371.