Frederick Douglass. [American Crisis Biographies]

Booker T. Washington writes upon seminal 19th century figure Frederick Douglass

Early and scarce reprint edition of this biography from the “American Crisis Biographies” —written by one great African American of another. This Macrae-Smith edition has Macrae-Smith’s imprint to the spine, but the contents within are printed, verbatim, from the sheets of the George W. Jacobs’ first edition. Unlike the latter edition, this edition was issued without the frontispiece of Frederick Douglass. Further, the binding and paper stock used here are cheaper.

Booker T. Washington’s biography of the most influential black American orator and statesman of 19th century America was intended, thus: “[A]n effort has been made to present an account of the life of Frederick Douglass as a slave and as a public man through the most eventful years of the anti-slavery movement, the Civil War, the period of reconstruction, and the after years of comparative freedom from sectional agitation over the ‘Negro Problem’.” —Booker T. Washington, p6.

After Booker T. Washington’s famous 1895 Atlanta Compromise Speech, the orator was flooded with letters and printed editorials demanding that he take up a pronounced leadership role and take Douglass’s place as the “leader of the negro people,” a role which Washington declared as never soliciting. Booker T. Washington saw Frederick Douglass as more of a defender of the black race, but not a leader equipped to lay the groundwork for the “opportunities and responsibilities of freedom.” [Harlan, p223]

The “American Crisis Biographies” were edited by Ellis Paxson Oberholtzer.

Description: Frederick Douglass. [American Crisis Biographies]

Philadelphia: [Macrae-Smith]. (1907). 365pp. Stout octavo. Index. Bibliography. With the imprint of Philadelphia publisher Macrae-Smith to spine’s heel, but George W. Jacobs & Company to the title-page. Binding soiled and with rubbing, spine lettering dulled, one page with old crease line, early ownership to pastedown, endpapers lightly finger-soiled; good.


Ref. Harlan, Booker T. Washington. The Making of a Black Leader, 1856–1901 (New York, 1972).

Price: $75.00