Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society papers (1848-1868)

Collection processed and finding aid created by Galen R. Wilson October 1983; Rob S. Cox October 1995
Manuscripts Division, William L. Clements, University of Michigan

Summary Information

Title: Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society papers
Creator: Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society
Inclusive dates: 1848-1868
Extent: 100 items
Abstract:
The Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society papers consist of documents generated by the society as well as correspondence to and from various members of the society about slavery, the conditions of freemen, and other progressive issues.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu

Access and Use

Acquisition Information

1983. M-2084.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to research.

Copyright

Copyright status is unknown.

Alternate Format

Transcripts of the Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery papers are located in the transcripts section of the Manuscripts Division.

Provenance

The history of the collection remains unclear, but it is likely that this body of material was originally held in the custody of the secretary or treasurer of the Society, last held, respectively, by Anna M. Cornell Barnes and Maria G. Porter.

Preferred Citation

Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan

History

"Slavery," according to the constitution of the Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society, "is an evil that ought not to exist, and is a violation of the inalienable rights of man" In the summer of 1851, notices were distributed throughout Rochester, N.Y., to gather together any women interested in becoming active in the antislavery cause. Six women responded, and on August 20, 1851, formally organized themselves into the Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Sewing Society (the "Sewing" was dropped by 1855), electing Susan Farley Porter as president, Julia Griffiths, secretary, and Maria G. Porter, treasurer. As noted in their first annual report, the Society remained steadfast in refusing any partisan political alignment, hoping to broaden their appeal across partisan lines in recognition of "the utter coldness, in the community on the slavery subject." Although Rochester was widely known as the home of Frederick Douglass' Paper, at the time, Douglass' was "the only anti-slavery instrumentality in the community." The Rochester Ladies were anxious to improve the situation.

By March, 1852, the Society had grown to nineteen members, when they held the first of their Festivals, or bazaars. In these events, held annually for over a decade, the women of the Society raised money through the sale of items made locally or contributed by other anti-slavery societies as far away as Britain, and through gate receipts for lectures by Frederick Douglass, Gerrit Smith, or other activists held in the Corinthian Hall. The first Festival was advertised in newspapers as far away as New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., and by all accounts, it was a rousing success, netting over $250. Following on the heels of this bazaar, the Society intensified their fund raising efforts, matching success with success. In 1853, Julia Griffiths edited Autographs For Freedom, a collection of antislavery essays with facsimile signatures of the contributors, which sold so well that a second edition was prepared the following year. In the winter of 1854-55, the Society also sponsored its first annual lecture series, bringing in renowned speakers. Once again, the Society found a large and receptive audience for their message. Colleagues in British antislavery societies provided an important and regular source of funds through bazaars held on behalf of the Rochester Society. By the late 1850s, the annual receipts of the Society surpassed $1,500.

The bulk of the money raised by the Society was used in the important task of keeping Frederick Douglass' Paper solvent, but money was also used to help support a school for freedmen in Kansas and for the publication and distribution of anti-slavery literature in Kentucky. The Society played a crucial support role in one stretch of the Underground Railroad, providing small cash gifts directly to fugitive slaves to aid them on the last leg of their escape to Canada. The Society's annual reports for 1855 and 1856 listed 136 fugitives who had passed through Rochester with the Society's help, and by the following year, they had begun to develop a connection with veteran "railroad" engineer, Harriet Tubman.

The political crisis of the late 1850s and 1860s began to effect the way the Society conducted their business, and even its most committed members began to demur from taking too radical a stance in such an increasingly polarized climate. In its annual report for 1860-61, the Society lamented that "the various means used in former years for raising money and disseminating Anti-Slavery doctrines have been unsuited to the times, or [have become] dangerous in execution." As secession replaced slavery as the dominant public issue, and as politicians and members of the white public became increasingly hostile to antislavery activity in general, even radical Rochester felt the backlash. One meeting of the Society was forcibly disbanded by reactionary citizens, and the lecture series and bazaar were both canceled in 1861. When open warfare erupted in April, 1861, and all hope of sectional compromise was ended, the Society resumed a more open antislavery stance, but by that time, the tight wartime economy, ended the Festival as a practical fund raiser, and more and more, the Society had to depend on donations from British colleagues. Their most ardent British supporter was Julia Griffiths Crofts of Leeds, a charter member of the Society who returned to her native England in 1856 after marrying.

The women of the Society responded directly to new war-time realities, and devoted the greater part of their energy to assisting the large numbers of freedmen, escaped slaves and "contrabands" who had come into the Union lines. In October, 1862, the Society undertook perhaps its most impressive mission, sending its former corresponding secretary, Julia A. Wilbur, to Alexandria, Va., to work with freedmen's education and relief programs.

At the end of the war, with the formal abolition of slavery and the establishment of the Freedmen's Bureau, the edge was taken off the urgency of the (now) Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery and Freedmen's Aid Society, and the Society fairly rapidly dissolved. In 1868, the 17th and apparently final annual report of the society claimed that "Southern ideas of social life are giving way to more liberal views and to the more enlightened tendencies of the age," though they also noted that "in the present whirl and chaos of affairs, both civil and political, the Freedpeople will undoubtedly continue to have a hard time of it." The Society, however, found little support for continuing their efforts in freedmen's education and less in confronting the problem of racial inequality in America. The incoming resources of the Society declined sharply, and this last report recorded less than ninety dollars in receipts for the year.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society papers contain only a small portion of what must at one time have been a much larger collection. As a society devoted to the immediate abolition of slavery, the antislavery movement forms the context of most of the correspondence in the collection, but the members of the society were individually and collectively involved in the education of freedmen and in other movements, including women's rights. As a result, the collection offers a broad perspective on the mentality and activity of a small group of progressive northern women involved in the reform of what they saw as the worst inequities in American society.

The Society maintained contact with several national-level leaders of the antislavery movements, and provided important financial support to Frederick Douglass, in particular. The nine letters from Douglass in the collection all relate to the assistance provided for publication of his newspaper or are requests from him for direct aid to fugitive slaves en route to Canada. A particularly affecting letter is one that he wrote from England in 1860, while on an antislavery tour. Harriet Tubman, Beriah Green, Lewis Tappan, George B. Cheever, and Gerrit Smith also appear in the collection, either as correspondents or subjects of letters. Among the more interesting of these letters is one from John Stewart, probably a free black man, addressed to Harriet Tubman; a letter from Moses Anderson, also African-American, writing about the importance of Uncle Tom's Cabin in shaping his political consciousness; Jacob Gibb's letter of introduction for a fugitive slave; and William Watkins' report on the number of fugitive slaves that have passed through Rochester into Canada in the year 1857.

British support for the Society was crucial in keeping it viable in the late 1850s, and is documented through the letters of Julia Griffiths Crofts (Leeds, England); Sarah Plummer (Dalkeith, Scotland), and Maria Webb (Dublin, Ireland). The fund-raising efforts of the society can be tracked partly through the list of goods donated for a Festival (1:77), a small collection of ephemera relating to British antislavery societies (1:82), and a list of donations from those British societies (1:28). The most significant item for tracking finances, however, is the account book for the Society (2:20), which covers its entire history. The secretaries of the Society recorded the complete finances of the organization, and provided lists of speakers at their annual events, and carefully delineated money remitted to individual fugitive slaves. Included at the end of the collection are a set of photocopies of the manuscripts (2:21) and supplemental information about the Society and its members, provided by the University of Rochester (2:22).

Freedmen's education was a major concern of the Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society, and is discussed extensively by several correspondents. The single most frequent correspondent in the collection is Julia A. Wilbur, writing while working with freedmen in Alexandria, Va., 1862-1865. Wilbur writes long and vivid letters describing the miserable living conditions found among the freedmen, their want of clothing and shelter, and she describes several individual cases. Wilbur also met and became familiar with the renowned ex-slave and author, Harriet Jacobs. The situation that Wilbur describes in Virginia verges on the chaotic, with corruption at the highest levels, dissension among those in charge of contraband matters, and many in the military reluctant or unwilling to take any responsibility. She was a perceptive observer of the progress of the war, Southern citizenry, and of the destruction that the war had inflicted upon Virginia. Her official reports to the Society, which are more general and less pointed than her private correspondence, were published in the Society's published annual reports (2:1-13).

In addition to Wilbur's letters, there are six other items pertaining to freedmen's education. Three letters from G. W. Gardiner and one document signed by Lewis Overton, 1862-63, relate to the work of the Colored School, founded for freedmen at Leavenworth, Kansas, and both letters from Daniel Breed, 1863-64, include discussions of the Rochester School for Freedmen in Washington, D.C., named for the Society whose money founded it.

The printed items in the collection include fourteen of the seventeen known annual reports of the Society, a report from the Toronto Ladies' Association for the Relief of Destitute Colored fugitives (2:14), and circulars from two British societies (2:15-16). Three issues of Frederick Douglass' Paper (October 2, 1851, February 19 1858, and July 1, 1859) and one issue of The North Star (April 14, 1848) are included in Oversize Manuscripts. An issue of the Christian Inquirer (New York, July 24, 1858), having no direct relation to the Rochester Society, was transferred to the Newspapers Division. Finally, in two letters written in 1859 and 1861, Rebecca Bailey discusses her father William Bailey's newspaper, The Free South.

Subject Terms

Subjects:
  • African Americans.
  • African Americans--Education.
  • Antislavery movements.
  • Douglass, Frederick, 1818-1895.
  • Freedmen.
  • Jacobs, Harriet A. (Harriet Ann), 1813-1897.
  • Women.
Genre Terms:
  • Account books.
  • Annual reports.
  • Correspondence.

Contents List (Request Materials)

Request materials for use in the Clements Library
Container / Location Title
Box   1 Folders   1-82
Correspondence [series]
 
A. Bates ALS to Frederick Douglass and W[illia]m W. Bloss, February 12, 1852
Letter passing on slaves from New York City to Rochester. Appended: William W. Bloss's receipt of "$5.00 in behalf of fugitives". [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Sallie [Holley] ALS to Maria [G. Porter], June 3, 1852
Gerrit Smith (1797-1874): religious experiences, fear of bats and mice. She lectures at the "Free church", but is refused lecture opportunity at Hamilton New York Baptist Church because she is a woman. Humorous poem about marriage. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
[Frederick Douglass] Ms. broadside, July 5, [1852]
Announcing a 4th of July celebration at which Frederick Douglass will make a speech commemmorating the Declaration of Independence at Rochester's Corinthian Hall. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Moses Anderson ALS to [Maria G.] Porter, December 12, 1853
Moses Anderson, a free black man, writes about the anti-slavery cause and Uncle Tom's Cabin [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Jacob R. Gibbs ALS to Morris, March 14, 1854
Letter of introduction for a fugitive slave [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Mrs. James M. Ellis ALS to [Maria G.] Porter, June 22, 1854
Regarding anti-slavery work and donations. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
[Maria Webb] AL to [Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society?], October 24, [18]55
List of goods sent for an American bazaar Reference to "our own beautiful unfortunate Ireland" [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Frederick Douglass ALS to [Maria G.] Porter, February 19, 1856
Thanks to Society for money donation [View Digital Surrogate]
 
W. E. Abbott ALS to [Maria G.] Porter, November 29, 1856
Syracuse Fugitive Aid Society sends slaves on Underground Railroad. Requests for more funds. A possible reference to Harriet Tubman. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
W[illia]m J. Watkins ANS to Mrs. Armstrong, [August 1857]
Report of number of fugitive slaves passed to Canada, December 1856 to August 1857. One page of accounts pinned to note. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Frederick Douglass ALS to Maria [G.] Porter, October 13, 1857
Request for aid for William Oborne [Osborne?], a fugitive slave. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
L[ewis] Tappan ALS to [Maria G.] Porter, February 4, 1859
Regarding money from the Irish Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society donated to the Rochester Society [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Sarah Plummer ALS to The Ladies of the Rochester Anti Slavery Association, January 24, 1859
Request for fugitive slave case reports to be read before a meeting to raise emotional support. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
George B[arrell] Cheever ALS to [Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society?], June 20, 1859
Accepting a speaking engagement to the [Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society] [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Julia G[riffiths] Crofts ALS to [Anna M. C.] Barnes, August 5, [1859]
Necessity for more personal contact via letters to keep interest high in England. Plans for an anti-slavery bazaar in Halifax. Ideas for sale items at bazaar [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Rebecca Bailey ALS to Anna M. C. Barnes, September 21, 1859
Thanks for donation of money to anti-slavery work [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Frederick Douglass ALS to [Maria G.] Porter, September 26, 1859
Request for financial assistance for his newspaper. Mentions leaving for England [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Maria Webb ALS to A[nna] M. C. Barnes, October 10, 1859
Extending aid to Rochester Society and to the Frederick Douglass Paper. Remarks about Douglass's paper and other anti-slavery newspapers. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
John Stewart ALS to Harriet Tubman, November 1, 1859
Letter from Tubman's brother Robert Ross (later John Stewart), discusses Tubman's parents and other siblings. With a TLS from National Portrait Gallery curator Robert Stewart to Clements Library Curator Robert Cox; January 25, 1994. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
[Anna M. C. Barnes] ALS, draft to Irish Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society, [1859]
Barnes states that none of Webb's letters were received due to misaddressing "Maria G. Porter," including financial support sent via Frederick Douglass [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Frederick Douglass ALS to [Maria G.] Porter, January 11, 1860
Request for financial assistance for his newspaper. Description of English tour. English Christmas. Reference to John Brown's death. Mention of Douglass's son's work with his newspaper. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Beriah Green ALS to Samuel Campbell, Esq., March 19, 1860
Letter of introduction for Harriet Tubman. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
L[ewis] Tappan ALS to Maria G. Porter, January 26, 1861
Regarding money from the Irish Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society donated to the Rochester Society [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society Ms., February 4, 1861
Preamble and Resolutions appeal to Great Britain anti-slavery societies for aid. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Rebecca Bailey ALS to Sarah M. Cornell, February 20, 1861
Thanks for the donations by the Rochester Society. Calls for no compromise with the South. Discusses Bailey's father: Anna M. C. Barnes's letter to him and his travels. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
[Julia Griffiths] Crofts ADS to [Maria G.] Porter, April 4, 1862
Log of donations for the Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society from Montrose, Berwick-on-Tweed, Mansfield, Liverpool. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Julia G[riffiths] Crofts ALS to A[nna] M. C. Barnes, April 18, [1862]
Proceeds of a bazaar held for Anti-slavery cause. List of items sold. Money being sent to Rochester. Includes envelope addressed "care Silas Cornell Esq." [View Digital Surrogate]
 
A[nna] M. C. Barnes ALS to Montrose Ladies' Anti Slavery Asso[ciation], April 26, 1862
Montrose, England. Thanks for financial support. Slavery slowly being crushed. Plight of freedom in Kansas. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Ms. note to [Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society?], April 26, 1862
Listing donations of various Anti-Slavery societies of Great Britain: Montrose, Berwick-on-Tweed, Mansfield, Liverpool. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
G. W. Gardiner ALS to A[nna] M. C. Barnes, September 11, 1862
Description of the Colored School, under direction of Lewis Overton. Tuition 50 cents per month. Most students multiracial. Recapture of former slaves in free territory. Black men enlist as Union soldiers. Needs of the school. On printed stationery: "Kansas Emancipation League; to the Friends of Impartial Freedom." [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Julia A. Wilbur ALS to A[nna] M. C. Barnes, October 24, [1862]
Train ride to D.C.; fellow passenger daughter-in-law of Simon Cameron (1799-1889), Cabinet member, is interested in fugitive slave work. Colonel Doran, 13th Virginia Infantry, argues for emancipation. Other people in contraband work. Appalling contraband living conditions. Freedmans Relief Association: she meets treasurer G. E. Baker, president Mr. Hamlin, and secretary J. Van Santvoord. Meets General James Samuel Wadsworth (1807-1864). Southern-sympathizing woman. Military hospitals. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
J[ulia] A. Wilbur ALS to [Anna] M. C. Barnes, November 12, 1862
Homesickness and depression. "Woman's presence" important in contraband work. Description of fellow boarders: some of them in relief work, and some phonies. Reverend Gladwin "wants to be made Superintendent of the whole concern." A schoolhouse converted into contraband quarters; deaths there. Plight of a negro woman. U.S. army convalescent camp. A case tried in D.C. under Fugitive Slave Law. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Julia A. Wilbur ALS to [Anna M. C. Barnes?], November 13, [1862]
White man's treatment of black woman. Reverend Gladwin's duties; his association with Baptist Free Mission Society. Living conditions in the "slave pen" "I am the only white woman in Alexandria…who goes among the colored people…" Questionable source of Alexandria drinking water. Tensions between Union and Confederate sympathizers. Colored church service. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Lewis Overton ADS to [G. W. Gardiner], November 15, 1862
Receipt to G. W. Gardiner for Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society donation to Colored School. Mention of W. Silas Cornell; possible relation to Sarah M. Cornell? [View Digital Surrogate]
 
G. W. Gardiner ALS to A[nna] M. C. Barnes, November 17, 1862
Colored School, Lewis Overton, teacher. Thanks for books and supplies sent by the Society. War reveals the moral cowards. If war is to have meaning, emancipation must be declared. "Poor old John Brown…" State politics: Kansas, Missouri, New York. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Julia A. Wilbur ALS to [Anna M. C.] Barnes, November 25, [18]62
Frederick Douglass. Ugent need for winter women's clothing, need for bedding. Smallpox. Poor sanitation and water supply. Two southern women turn down a plea for contraband assistance. Donation box from Philadelphia contains books: "What an absurdity." Reverend Gladwin's policies and ideas of charity. Description of men's contraband camp. Heavy ratio, blacks to whites, Alexandria. Black girl's funeral. Northern and Southern sympathies clash. Northern soldier regrets enlisting and sympathizes with South. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Julia A. Wilbur ALS to [Anna M. C. Barnes], November 26, [1862]
Smallpox, smallpox mortality. Commodore French Forrest's (1796-1866) elegant mansion becomes the pesthouse; "Justice is sometimes meted out to a rebel." Goods for distribution. New York Friends Committee visits. Enclosed: draft letter to the "Friends of the African Race in Great Britain and Ireland" (8 pages) from the Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society, an appeal for aid, describing the plight of contrabands in Alexandria with excellent capsule descriptions of the work and the destitute living situation. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
[Julia A. Wilbur] AL, incomplete to [Anna M. C. Barnes?], December 15, [1862]
Financial arrangement for her living. Cost of living in Alexandria. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Julia A. Wilbur ALS to [Anna M. C.] Barnes, December 22 - December 24, 1862
"There is not a woman in Alexandria now who sympathizes with me in my work…" Talks with wounded soldier; his reaction to injury. Contraband and soldier housing. Contraband tenement burns. Relations with army personnel. Description of a contraband barracks; she contemplates an appeal to Lincoln about them. Mr. Burge: executive in contraband work who is usually drunk. Dr. Ripley: a quack and a thief. Contrabands' Christmas. She secures a place for contrabands to live. Ambulance shortage. Commentary on Reverend Gladwin. Smallpox. She sees a wounded soldier she knows from New York. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Julia A. Wilbur ALS to [Anna M. C.] Barnes, January 15 - January 17, 1863
Personnel changes in contraband work in Alexandria. Harriet Jacobs comes on staff. Bureaucratic snags in clothing distributions. List of goods received. Soldiers unkind to blacks. Smallpox. Northern and Southern sypathies clash in Alexandria. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
J. Dennis, Jr. ALS to Julia [A.] Wilbur, January 21, [18]63
Re: shipment of clothing etc. for contrabands. Smallpox. Mention of Harriet Jacobs. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
[Julia A. Wilbur] ALS to [Anna M. C.] Barnes, [January] 23, [1863]
Staffing the Freedman work. The very anti-negro Mrs. Dennis, vocal in her opinions. Massachusetts abolitionists visit. Alexandria citizens' opinions on war and slavery. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Julia G[riffiths] Crofts ALS to [Anna M. C.] Barnes, February 20, 1863
School faculty for Alexandria contrabands: are whites or blacks better able to do the work? American inclination to prejudice. Includes envelope. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Julia A. Wilbur ALS to [Anna M. C.] Barnes, February 27, 1863
Courtmartial and military arrests. General John P. Slough (1829-1867) arrested. Slough's efforts "to suppress drinking"; his total disinterest in contraband work. Army makes money renting rooms to contrabands intended to be free. Reverend Gladwin thinks Julia, a woman, ought to stay out of decision making. Continual search for housing and office space. Plantation home turned into pesthouse; Dr. Bigelow intends to ship all orphans to pesthouse. Inhumanity of Bigelow and Colonel Wells. Tour of contraband tenements. Visit to several F. F. V. families. Result of miscegenation: white slaves. Plight of black girls: sexual harassment from white men, especially soldiers. Reverend Gladwin's sanctimoniousness. Winter weather. Includes envelope addressed to Maria G. Porter in Rochester, New York. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
G. W. Gardiner ALS to A[nna] M. C. Barnes, March 9, 1863
Affairs of the Colored School, Lewis Overton, teacher. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Julia [A. Wilbur] ALS to [Anna M. C.] Barnes, March 10, 1863
Women's clothing barrel arrives; contention among recipients over who gets what. List of what goods are desired, and what are not. Julia goes to see General Slough about orphans-in-pesthouse question, with Mrs. Jacobs. Visit to the Provost Marshall Col. Wells to plead for impoverished contrabands. Slow wheels of bureaucracy. Attends first session of new Senate. Reverend Gladwin still lobbying for a superintendancy. Colonel Beecher unjustly courtmartialed. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Julia [A. Wilbur] ALS to [Anna M. C.] B[arnes], March 14, [1863]
Order for women's clothing. Differences in tastes between races. Needs supplied by northern donors. Visit to Mount Vernon (excellent); list of pilfered souvenirs. Southerners take oath of allegiance. She finds a New York soldier's widow sick in a filthy Alexandria tenement, bankrupt and unable to get home. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Julia G[riffiths] Crofts ALS to [Anna M. C.] Barnes, April 3, 1863
Regarding Julia Wilbur's work in Alexandria . Letter in manuscript will raise more emotion than a printed circular. Fund-raising activities. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Julia [A. Wilbur] ALS to A[nna] M. C. Barnes, August 8, [18]63
Looking for suitable matron for the Colored Home after dismissing previous matron. Copies part of a letter from Mrs. Jacobs at Alexandria, re Reverend Albert Gladwin. Alexandria citizens vacating town sell out to blacks. Refusal of government rations so as to avoid having to conform to all government policy (the gifts have strings attached). Complaints against "Mr. G" and his attempts at controlling the Colored Home. Includes envelope. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Julia A. Wilbur ALS to [Anna M. C.] Barnes, October 2, 1863
Journey from New York to Virginia. Description of contraband camp in D.C. Physical condition of Alexandria, large number of deaths. Description of "Grantville" (contraband?), includes schoolhouse. Complaints against Reverend Gladwin sent to Secretary of War. Public whippings, though General Slough puts an end to them. List of persons who should receive Rochester Society's reports. Mrs. Jacobs intends to construct a free school. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Julia A. Wilbur ALS to [Anna M. C.] B[arnes], October 28, [1863]
Urgent need of clothing supplies. List of what is needed . Few contrabands come thru the military lines. Growth of Grantville. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Hubbard and Northrup Partially-Printed Document to [Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society], November 2, 1863
Bill for clothing, presumably meant for the Alexandria freedmen work (shawls, cloaks, blanket). [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Julia [A. Wilbur] ALS to [Anna M. C.] B[arnes], November 5, [1863]
Urgent need of goods for distribution. Doctor H. on a drunken spree. Immorality in Washington and Alexandria. "Masonry is the greatest engine for evil of any thing yet." Dr. Bigelow's wife wants to be hospital matron and patients are not anxious for that to happen. How the truth of what is happening in contraband work is being whitewashed. Philadelphia Quakers come to visit and are scandalized. Prevalence of prostitution in Alexandria. Includes newspaper clipping from Alexandria newspaper detailing "disgusting spectacle" of two captains riding through the town with two "notorious women." [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Curtis, Butts & Company DS to Ladies' Anti-Slavery Soc[iet]y, November 14, [1863]
Bill for advertising Frederick Douglass's lecture. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
C. D. Tracy & Company DS to Ladies' Anti-S[lavery] Society, November 18, 1863
Bill for advertising Frederick Douglass's lecture. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Julia [A. Wilbur] ALS to Secretary [Anna M. C. Barnes], November 20, 1863
An attempt to re-seize freed slaves is foiled. Schools for persons of African descent. Baptist/Presbyterian ideas of mission. Run-in with Reverend Gladwin over policy governing use of rooms; Wilbur and Jacobs are thrown out of their rooms. Intrigues re appointments to positions of authority in contraband and hospital work. House visiting. Gladwin's iron-fist rule; his extortionate charge of rents to black persons. Clothing distribution. Visiting invalid soldiers. General Slough calls Gladwin on the carpet. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
S[arah] M. Cornell ALS to Maria G. Porter, November 26, 1863
Regarding sending materials to the Alexandria contraband work [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Julia A. Wilbur ALS to [Anna M. C.] Barnes, December 27, 1863
Christmas vs. Thanksgiving in the South. Contraband housing problems. Contrabands as a political yo-yo. Colored School in Grantville is run by persons of African descent. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Daniel Breed ALS to Anna M. D. [sic.] Barnes, December 29, 1863
Recommending Richard Mott (1804-1888), congressman, as the man to arrange favors. Lists needs of contraband schools. Solicits funds. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Daniel Breed ALS to Anna M. C. Barnes, January 31, 1864
Re: donation by Rochester society to freedmen school, to be named the "Rochester School." Description of school. Description of "Contrabandville." George Jackson, a fugitive slave, teaches in school. Includes envelope. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Julia [A. Wilbur] ALS to A[nna] M. C. Barnes, March 5, 1864
Box of donations has arrived. Any goods marked "U.S." on them (blankets, etc.) are seized from private citizens' hands. Desperate need of blacks: clothing, food, medicine. Mr. Gladwin wants Julia and Harriet Jacobs to vacate their office: "he is the greatest sponger I ever saw." Stringent living conditions with which Julia puts up. Frederick Brown, brother of John, in town to speak. Description of a hospital. A girl in jail is whipped. Includes envelope. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Julia G[riffiths] Crofts ALS to [Maria G.] Porter, September 2, 1864
Money for freemen work. Reports and rumors of war progress. Northern prejudice against black persons reveals itself. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Julia A. Wilbur ALS to Maria G. Porter, February 8, 1865
Closing down business in Alexandria. Description of new lodgings in Washington at Pennsylvania. Freeman's Relief Association building. Charity distribution by government. Reverend Gladwin finally out of power. Francis Harrison Pierpont (1814-1899), governor, and family are anti-slavery Virginians. Electoral vote taken in Congress. Includes envelope. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Julia A. Wilbur ALS to [Maria G.] Porter, April 27, [1865]
Wilbur's plans to travel to Richmond. Further need for goods. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Julia A. Wilbur ALS to [Maria G.] Porter, [1865]
Inquires after society's progress. Yard goods can be used for contrabands as well as made-up clothing. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Julia G[riffiths] Crofts ALS to [Anna M. C.] Barnes, Undated (November 20)
Plans for upcoming anti-slavery bazaar. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
[Julia Griffiths Crofts] ADS to [Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society], Undated
Donations in aid of contrabands, alias fugitives; from Dalkeith, Mansfield. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Henry Dickinson ALS to A[nna] M. C. Barnes, Undated
Anti-slavery work. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Frederick Douglass ALS to [Maria G.] Porter, Undated (January 31)
Regarding an Anti-Slavery Society festival fund-raiser. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
F[rederick] Douglass ALS to [Maria G.] Porter, Undated (February 22)
Request for aid to fugitive slave. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
F[rederick] Douglass ALS to [Maria G.] Porter, Undated (March 27)
Edward Morris requests $1.00 to pay the board of a fugitive slave who is staying with Mrs. Jones. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Frederick Douglass ALS to [Maria G.] Porter, Undated (April 29)
Request for aid to John Williams, a fugitive slave. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Frederick Douglass ALS to S[usan] F[arley] Porter, Undated (November 17)
Intent to attend the Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Sewing Society festival; prefers not to speak. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
W[illia]m H. Furness ANS to [Samuel Drummond] Porter, Undated
Declining invitation to hear the Dr. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Julia Griffiths [Crofts] ALS to [Maria G.] Porter, Undated (June 14)
Regarding Frederick Douglass's opinion of the publication of an anti-slavery resolution. Copy of Resolution enclosed (1 page). [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Mary Gutztall ALS to Mrs. [S. D.] Porter, Undated (March 15)
Regarding going as a missonary to China. Eye disease. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Ms., Undated
"List of Goods in Box," with costs [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Manton Marble ALS to Maria [G.] Porter, Undated
[View Digital Surrogate]
 
W[illia]m Oliver ALS to [Maria G.] Porter, Undated (Thursday morning)
Request for attention to a fugitive slave. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
W[illia]m J. Watkins ALS to [Maria G.] Porter, Undated
Underground Railroad: three passengers need assistance. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
[Julia A. Wilbur] Letter fragments, Undated
Fragments. 1. Discouragement of trying to deal with corrupt and drunk men in positions of authority; hears Emancipation debate in Congress. 2. Contrabands have plenty of food. 3. Confederate spirit high in Alexandria. 4. Attends Thanksgiving service at a paroled-prisoner camp. [View Digital Surrogate]
Box   2  
Account book [series]
 
Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society Account Book, March 1852 - September 1868
Account Book. [View Digital Surrogate]
Box   2 Folders   1-22
Printed items [series]
 
Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society Printed circular report, 1852
First Annual Report [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society Printed circular report, 1853
Second Annual Report [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society Printed circular report, mutilated, [1855]
Fourth Annual Report [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society Printed circular report, February 3, 1856
Fifth Annual Report [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society Printed circular report, 1858
Seventh Annual Report [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society Printed circular report, mutilated, 1859
Eighth Annual Report [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society Printed circular report, October 1861
Tenth Annual Report [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society Printed report, 1863
Twelfth Annual Report [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society Printed report, 1864
Thirteenth Annual Report [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society Printed report, 1865
Fourteenth Annual Report [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society and Freedmen's Aid Society Printed report, 1866
Fifteenth Annual Report [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society and Freedmen's Aid Society Printed report, 1867
Sixteenth Annual Report [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society and Freedmen's Aid Society Printed report, 1868
Seventeenth Annual Report [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Toronto Ladies' Association for the Relief of Destitute Colored Fugitives Printed report, 1853-1855
Annual Report for 1853-1855 [View Digital Surrogate]
 
The Committee of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society Printed circular, 1860 August 13
"The Slave Trade as it Is: Forty Thousand Slaves Annually to Cuba" [View Digital Surrogate]
 
[British Ladies' Anti-Slavery Societies] Printed circular, 1863
"To the Friends of Abolition" [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Newspaper clipping , Undated
Incomplete newspaper clipping from an anti-slavery paper, mention of Douglass's newspaper (William J. Watkins, Assistant Editor). [View Digital Surrogate]
Folder   Oversize Manuscripts  
The North Star Newspaper (incomplete), April 14, 1848
Incomplete issue of The North Star: Vol. I, No. XVI. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Frederick Douglass' Paper (incomplete), October 2, 1851
Incomplete issue of Frederick Douglass' Paper: Vol. IV, No. 41. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Frederick Douglass' Paper, February 19, 1858
Complete issue of Frederick Douglass' Paper: Vol. XI, No. 10. [View Digital Surrogate]
 
Frederick Douglass' Paper, July 1, 1859
Complete issue of Frederick Douglass' Paper: Vol. XII, No. 29. [View Digital Surrogate]

Additional Descriptive Data

Related Materials

Copies of both the 1853 and 1854 editions of Julia Griffiths' Autographs For Freedom are located in the Clements Library's Books Division.

Griffiths also edited a volume of anti-slavery essays, Voices of Freedom (Worthington: N.Y., [188_?]), which is not present in the Clements' holdings. Research suggests that Voices of Freedom is a reprint of the second volume of Autographs for Freedom (1854) - see Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society Papers control file.

The Clements Library also holds one of Frederick Douglass' speeches before the Society published in 1855, entitled The Anti-Slavery Movement; A Lecture Before the Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society (Lee, Mann & Co.: Rochester, 1855).

The Library of the University of Rochester houses an extensive collection of papers of the Porter family, including a large number of items relating to Maria G. Porter and Susan Farley Porter.