The centerpiece of the 1997 exhibition "In Their Own Right: Images of African Americans from The Art Institute of Chicago" was a pre-Civil War daguerreotype of the Abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass (see image) that the museum had recently acquired.1 This was not the first time that Douglass had been seen in the museum. His previous appearance had been in person over a century earlier in the Art Institute's original building, only a few feet from where the daguerreotype would one day be installed. At that time, Douglass was attending the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition as the Commissioner of the Haitian Pavilion. He had been invited to serve in this capacity by the government of Haiti because he had just finished a term as the American minister to that country.
This honor came toward the end of a long and eventful life that had made Douglass the most important African American spokesman of the nineteenth century. His rise to prominence ran parallel with the rise to popularity of the daguerreotype as a medium for portraiture. A small, copper plate with a coating of silver that has been made photosensitive, the daguerreotype was invented in France in 1839, the year after Douglass escaped from slavery. A mulatto born on a Maryland plantation in February 1818, Douglass had made a break for freedom at the age of twenty via the Underground Railroad. Finding his way to New England, he began the speaking career for which the presence of mind we see in the Art Institute's portrait gave him a natural talent.
Douglass had initially attracted national attention in 1845 as the author of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself, the first of three autobiographies.2 Since he was subject to arrest under the Fugitive Slave Act once this book had revealed his identity, he fled to Great Britain until Quaker Abolitionists there raised the money to buy his freedom from his former master. In 1847 he returned to North America free at last from all the constraints of slavery except, of course, prejudice, which he would have to continue fighting the rest of his life. At the end of 1847, he began publishing an influential newspaper3 that was to promote the Abolitionist cause to every Northern leader right up to President Abraham Lincoln, who met with him twice at the White House before issuing the Emancipation Proclamation. After the Civil War, Douglass used his many official honors, including his appointment at the 1893 exposition, to combat the oppression of his race.4
During the exposition, the building that would become The Art Institute of Chicago was used for a series of international cultural exchanges, the most important being the World Parliament of Religions. The purpose of the parliament, according to opening remarks, was to explore the "grounds for fraternal union in the religions of different people."5 Since Douglass had spent his life trying to establish among the races what the parliament was seeking among religions, he accepted an invitation to speak. But the parliament did not prove a satisfactory forum for issues of race, nor did the exposition.
Douglass' experiences at the Chicago fair reveal much about the man pictured in the daguerreotype made over forty years earlier. His involvement with the Haitian pavilion gave him a perspective on the proceedings that sadly disappointed and ultimately angered him, for he saw that a conception of human progress he despised and had denounced at every turn persisted still. This was apparent in the very layout of the Midway, for the sequence of exhibits was supposed to demonstrate the advance of civilization from so-called primitive cultures, such as those in Africa, to the supposedly higher stages represented by Europe and North America. Although this neat scheme became rather jumbled in execution, the idea remained clear in displays such as the Dahomey village, for which African Americans were hired to pose as African natives in jungle costumes. Douglass observed that, "as if to shame the Negro, the Dahomians . . . exhibit the Negro as a repulsive savage."6
The man in charge of the Columbian Exposition's ethnological displays was F. W. Putnam, who published after the fair closed a souvenir volume entitled Oriental and Occidental Northern and Southern Portrait Types of the Midway Plaisance.7 This book was intended as an illustration of the idea of progress from race to race that Putnam had wanted his plan for the Midway to embody. A Harvard professor, Putnam was heir to the legacy of the naturalist Louis Agassiz, who had taught at the university earlier in the century. Agassiz believed in the practice of body typing and in comparing the measurements of skulls as a way to rank the races. As Agassiz was a mentor to Putnam, so was a group of daguerreotypes that Agassiz had commissioned in 1850 the precedent for Putnam's Portrait Types. Inspired by an earlier comparative anatomy text, Dr. Samuel Morton's Crania Americana, Agassiz toured plantations in the vicinity of Columbia, South Carolina, and selected five male and two female slaves to pose nude for a sequence of daguerrean plates (see images).8
Taking these images into consideration may help us to feel more fully the historical impact of Douglass' portrait. According to the census taken the year Agassiz had his daguerreotypes made, the population of South Carolina's Tidewater parishes numbered over one hundred twenty-six thousand slaves but only forty thousand free whites. In some districts, there was only one free white for every ten enslaved blacks.9 In the antebellum South, tensions ran high as the Abolitionist movement, gaining momentum in the North, raised the specter of what would happen should the sort of slaves humiliated in the Agassiz documentation ever be in a position to turn their rage on their white masters. The Douglass daguerreotype may even have been made the same year as the Agassiz pictures. Imagine how his portrait would have looked to white residents of Columbia that year, or how it would have looked to the slaves in Agassiz's daguerreotypes!
Although Douglass was unlikely to have known about Agassiz's documentation, at the time it was done he was certainly aware of the racist pseudoscience it represented. He devoted part of a commencement address delivered in 1854 at Western Reserve College, "The Claims of the Negro Ethnologically Considered," to an attack on Crania Americana, the book on which Agassiz had relied.10 Almost four decades later, at the Columbian Exposition, the influence of the ideas Douglass had attacked continued to be seen in Putnam's design for the fairgrounds, as well as in the updating that Putnam's Portrait Types gave to Crania Americana and the Agassiz daguerreotypes.
The fair's only official recognition of African Americans—"Colored People's Day," held August 25, 1893—provided Douglass with an occasion on which to express his disgust at these stereotypes. On this one day, blacks were welcomed to the grounds (while whites, presumably, were to stay away).11 Despite the opposition to the event of the young black firebrand Ida B. Wells, whom he greatly respected, Douglass decided not only to attend, but to give an address. How else was he to reach his own people? Precisely because the day symbolized all of the exposition's failings, it presented him with an appropriate opportunity to speak out on the issues.
Yet when Douglass arrived to find that the exposition had a huge supply of watermelons on hand, he began to lose heart. Some whites had shown up after all, in order to heckle, and they unnerved him as he began the speech he had prepared, "The Race Problem in America." According to a newspaper account of him dating from the very beginning of his career, a Douglass performance at the podium entailed more than just "oratory, or eloquence. It was sterner, darker, deeper than these." The writer likened Douglass, "as he stalked to and fro upon the platform," to "the Numidian lion."12 But that had been nearly fifty years before.
Now Douglass, who was in his mid-seventies, appeared to falter as his age, the heat, the distraction of the heckling, and perhaps the dubiousness of the occasion itself all got the better of him. Then he decided to set aside his text, lay his glasses down on top of it, and continue extempore. "There is no Negro problem," he proclaimed. "The problem is whether the American people have loyalty enough, honor enough, patriotism enough, to live up to their own Constitution."13 By all accounts, the talk Douglass delivered that day ranked among the greatest of his life. It was also his last major public utterance. The "Numidian lion" ended his speaking career as the lion in winter he had become.
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Unlike Frederick Douglass himself, the Art Institute's daguerreotype of him is undocumented. He has a vivid immediacy in it, but it is an obscure historical object. Still, because the velvet lining inside the cover of the daguerreotype's case bears the name of its maker and the city where he was in business—Samuel J. Miller of Akron, Ohio—we have more information about this daguerreotype than about most others of Douglass (or of anyone, for that matter).
Douglass sat for a number of daguerrean portraits. At least one is now lost, that on which the engraved frontispiece was based in his second autobiography, My Bondage and My Freedom (1855). Engravings done from daguerreotypes were unavoidably interpretations of their source; as a rule, the process of translation softened the impression made by the original. The frontispiece portrait for Douglass' 1845 Narrative (see image on page 3) could have been based on a daguerreotype that is also now lost. An oil painting from the early 1840s is very like his Narrative's frontispiece, and it would not have been unusual had both of them been done from a daguerreotype.14 All that is certain is Douglass' unhappiness with the engraving. "I am displeased with it not because I wish to be," he wrote to his Glasgow publisher, "but because I cannot help it. I am certain the engraving is as good as the original portrait. I do not like it."15
Of the six daguerreotypes of Douglass known to have survived, only one besides the Art Institute's has had its daguerreotypist identified. This image (see image at right) by Ezra Greenleaf Weld is unique because, rather than a studio portrait, it is a group shot at an outdoor meeting that Douglass attended. Daguerreotypes were seldom attempted under these circumstances because the long exposure time required made it difficult to get a satisfactory result. This is the only daguerreotype of Douglass whose date is known with certainty, since there is a record of the Abolitionist meeting in Cazenovia, New York, that the image documents. This daguerreotype is also unique in the paradoxical sense that it is the only one known to have been copied. The second plate is in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles (for more on copying, see next page).16
Neither the makers nor the places of origin of the four remaining daguerreotypes are known, and the dates usually given for them are only approximate. Trying to establish a chronological order for these images of Douglass is an intriguing but highly conjectural process. The only one that can be clearly sequenced with the Art Institute's, based on internal evidence, is the portrait (see image on page 5) recently acquired by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, from the William Rubel Collection. In this likeness, unmistakable streaks of gray have emerged in Douglass' hair and imply that he was older than in the Chicago portrait. The Metropolitan's daguerreotype is usually dated circa 1855 or 1850/55, but whenever it was made, the Art Institute's has to have preceded it. The question is, by how much?
Two other daguerrean portraits are key to any sequence that might be proposed. One (see top image on page 6) is thought to be a copy done in 1850 of a plate made in 1847, just after Douglass returned from Great Britain, or in 1845, just before he left.17 Judging from his appearance in this work, the earlier date seems the more likely. In an enlightening essay written from a psychiatric point of view, Allison Davis suggested that this picture was taken of Douglass at a time "when he felt and looked like a hunted animal."18 That would have been 1845, when he had to flee the country for fear of being captured and returned South by bounty hunters, rather than 1847, when he returned to the United States in triumph. Although Davis's characterization seems extreme, Douglass does here appear crestfallen, bewildered, lost. At the very least, he looks younger and more unformed than in the Chicago and New York daguerreotypes.
The same could be said of the other early daguerreotype of Douglass that must be taken into account. This portrait (see bottom image on page 6) is in the Chester County Historical Society in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Here again Douglass looks away from the camera in a fashion that seems tentative and suggests an uncertainty that he had overcome by the time of the Art Institute's daguerreotype. In the Chester County picture, the knotting of Douglass' brows just above the bridge of his nose, which is so conspicuous in the Art Institute portrait and was to characterize his portraits throughout the rest of his life, had not yet appeared. This daguerreotype in Chester County has been dated circa 1848. It was definitely not made after that time, in my opinion, and it seems likely to have been taken even earlier. The Art Institute's portrait, on the other hand, was almost certainly made no earlier than 1847, and circumstantial evidence suggests that the date may have been as late as 1852.
While Frederick Douglass traveled far in life, the Art Institute's daguerreotype of him did not. Since the daguerreotype came to light over 140 years after being made in Akron, Ohio, but less than one hundred miles away, in Pittsburgh, chances are that it never left the area. Its whereabouts in the interim are unknown; it and three other daguerreotypes were found in a shoebox whose contents were offered at the conclusion of a gun sale at a regional auction house.19 Had the daguerreotype gone with Douglass back to Rochester, where he settled in the late 1840s and early 1850s, either it would have perished in the fire that destroyed his house there or it would have re-emerged at his later home in Cedar Hill, Maryland.
Despite being of him, the portrait may not have been made for him. It may have been a gift for a friend or a supporter of Douglass' cause. Reporting from Columbus, Ohio, in an 1848 issue of North Star, Douglass' partner in the newspaper, Martin R. Delany, described the parlor of the man in whose house he was staying at nearby Leesburg, which he declared to be the "most Abolitionized" town he had been to in the West. The "ornaments around the walls" consisted of ten portraits of Abolitionist leaders, Douglass included.20 Although he did not say so, these were probably daguerreotypes, or lithographic reproductions of daguerreotypes. If they were daguerreotypes, it is conceivable that the image of Douglass was the one now in the Art Institute.
Leesburg, however, is far from Akron, on the opposite side of Ohio. It makes more sense to wonder whether this daguerreotype ever left the studio of its maker, Samuel J. Miller. A common practice of successful daguerrean establishments was to have salons or waiting rooms that functioned as galleries for the exhibition of the owner's handiwork. These places were socially fashionable in the way a trendy art gallery might be today. The public went to them to see and be seen. Mathew Brady's daguerrean gallery on Broadway in New York (see image on page 7) set the style, which was soon imitated in every city that had a potential market large enough to support such a venture. Miller's obituary in an Akron newspaper recalls his gallery as having been "a model of elegance and good taste."21
Most of the portraits on the walls of these studios were of the local clientele, but also present, often, were public figures famous enough that visitors would be fascinated by their images and might even want to buy a copy. The portrait of Douglass that Delany mentioned in Leesburg could have been a daguerreotype copy purchased from a gallery—if not one in far-off Akron, then maybe closer to home in Cincinnati at J. P. Ball's Daguerrean Gallery of the West, which Douglass featured in his newspaper on two occasions.22 Daguerreotypists frequently acquired plates of popular subjects from one another and, just as often, took credit for the image. This can make it difficult to figure out who actually took a portrait.
Since a daguerreotype was a direct positive on a silver-coated copper plate, no negative existed from which multiple prints could be made. Copying daguerreotypes was a tricky business. The most reliable way was to redaguerreotype the original on a second plate, or a third or a fourth, depending on how many copies were wanted. The copies were seldom as sharp as the originals; and because the original was a mirror image, the copy righted the subject again so that it corresponded to reality. Thus the side on which the subjects' hair is parted or their clothes are buttoned can flip around in these early nineteenth-century documents in a most confusing way. The Art Institute's daguerreotype of Douglass, with its clarity, its precision, and its shirt that buttons right over left (i.e., backward), is unquestionably an original.23
While Frederick Douglass makes a great impression on us in this portrait, the man who made it has left only a faint trace on the history of photography. We know that this is his work because it has come down to us in its original case (see top image on page 8). Although cases can be notoriously unreliable ways to identify daguerreotypes, since they were often interchanged, in this instance there cannot be much doubt about its authenticity. The plate when acquired was still in its original preserver; that is, it, the glass, the brass mat, and the binding in which the whole package was sealed had never been opened or replaced.24 The plate in its preserver, the back of the case, and the cover all fit each other snugly, and on the inside of the cover embossed on the velvet lining is "Samuel J. Miller, Akron, O."
As handsome and provocative an example of Miller's work as this is, today he is all but forgotten. The standard references on daguerrean operators give him only the briefest of mentions.25 We know that he had a studio in Akron from the late 1840s until the late 1850s and spent a time thereafter in New York working for J. Gurney and Son, an important daguerrean firm. An Akron newspaper praised Miller for his skill in "fixing the posture and position of the person being typed,"26 and at Gurney's his job was that of a "poser" or "posturer."27 This may suggest Miller was adroit at that momentary rapport with the client assumed necessary to get a good likeness. At the same time, too much should not be made of his position at Gurney's. Big firms such as this one were production lines set up for efficiency and speed. That Miller's job was to pose subjects does not mean that it was more than perfunctory and certainly not that he was a virtuoso portraitist. At the time of his death in 1888, he was a church janitor back in Akron.
The question of how much talent Miller may have had, beyond the technical proficiency that the Douglass plate displays, is impossible to answer without more examples of his work. Unfortunately, none is known at this time. Can we, then, regard Douglass' portrait as a work of art? The fact that it is now in the possession of an art museum does not make it such. (In recent years, museums have been much criticized for just the sort of appropriation and recontextualization of historical artifacts that the acquisition of this daguerreotype represents.) In art the maker is customarily thought of today as the most important element. The modern notion is that his or her signature style or unique genius qualifies the piece to be a work of art.
But this standard is questionable when applied to the daguerreotype. Even more than with medieval workshops or Renaissance schools of painting, with the most prominent daguerrean firms, such as Brady's and Gurney's, it is often impossible to determine who actually took a particular portrait. While invented in France, the daguerreotype achieved its greatest popularity in the United States because, in part, it came into being at a time when there had been a severe economic depression. Young men were looking for a promising way to make a living that did not require much investment to get started,28 and the daguerreotype lent itself to this distinctly American spirit of free enterprise. Such opportunism, more than an artistic ideal, was what Brady represented.
Equally important in any consideration of the daguerreotype as an art form is acknowledgment of the role that the subject inevitably played. If a subject threw a pout while sitting for a portrait painter, or had a wart on his nose, a painter could subtly change all that in the finished painting, which was often made after the subject had left the studio, or even died. But there was very little a daguerreotypist could do to alter the basic facts of the sitter's looks and attitude. Sitters were vulnerable to the camera, but they could also exert a kind of control that they would never have in a hand-rendered portrait. It is not mere coincidence that the history of the daguerreotype should have been bound up with the history of the two great republics of the era in which it was invented. Ralph Waldo Emerson loved the daguerreotype, calling it "the true Republican style of painting," because, he explained, "the artist stands aside and lets you paint yourself."29 This is an insight, I believe, into all photographic portraits, but most particularly into the Art Institute's daguerreotype of Douglass.
The daguerreotype was highly regarded in its own day as a kind of democratization of art, for it permitted those who had neither the time nor the money for painted portraits to obtain a likeness nonetheless. But Emerson went beyond that. He proposed a democracy in which portraiture was both an opportunity and a responsibility, like other manifestations of citizenship. "If you make an ill head," Emerson felt, "not [the daguerreotypist] but yourself are responsible."30 Each person must be his own portraitist. It was a point of view in which I suspect Douglass would have concurred. One of Douglass' most often-repeated talks was entitled "Self-Made Men,"31 by which he meant those capable of Horatio Alger success stories but also of a more transcendental vision of individual freedom such as that described in Emerson's famous 1841 essay "Self-Reliance." It would follow from Douglass' views that one's portrait, too, must be self-made.
Douglass' comments on portraiture make clear that he would have preferred an African American daguerreotypist to Samuel J. Miller. One reason that articles in his newspaper singled out the daguerreotypist J. P. Ball of Cincinnati was that Ball was an African American.32 It was rare for members of Douglass' own race to practice this trade. The sentiments expressed in the two Douglass pieces that praised Ball were in line with more critical views Douglass had on white portraitists. He did not trust them to make images of blacks. "Negroes can never have impartial portraits, at the hands of white artists," he said. "It seems to us next to impossible for white men to take likenesses of black men, without grossly exaggerating their distinctive features."33
Perhaps. But Ball's own portraiture does not corroborate Douglass' opinion that an African American daguerreotypist would have a unique vision of members of his own race. Ball's subjects typically assumed clichéd poses of gentility found in the daguerreotypes that white operators made of white subjects. In some instances, a posture intended to suggest a life of leisure gives a subject a curiously passive air (see bottom image). Whether the fault lay with Ball or with his subjects, the effect was the same: the sitters do not appear to have asserted themselves in any discernible way either as African Americans or as individuals. The portraits can be praised only on the paradoxical ground that, by making an African American subject indistinguishable in attitude from a white one, these images aspire to an integrated society. It is conceivable that Douglass would have admired Ball for envisioning such a possibility, since Douglass had the same aspiration himself.
Conversely, Douglass would have seized upon the Agassiz daguerreotypes of slaves to illustrate his point about the inappropriateness of white men's photographs of African Americans. Yet in some of these documents, the subjects do seem to express personal feelings despite, or perhaps even because of, the oppressive conditions under which the images were made. It is true that these portraits are not "impartial." Still, the subjects do not strike us as pathetic. Notwithstanding the absolute domain over them that the slave owners, Agassiz, and the daguerreotypist had, these people impress us with their humanity. A purse of the lips or narrowing of the eyes at the moment the plate was exposed betray the rage that they had to suppress under the circumstances.
Confronted with Miller, and having little faith in white portraitists in any event, Douglass would have done all in his considerable powers to be sure he kept control of the results. More than the story of who took the Art Institute's portrait, the significance in its subject's life of where and when it was taken can help us understand its greatness. The time and place in which it was made were crucial for Douglass. It was the most important period of transition in his life outside of the escape from slavery itself, and Ohio was the scene, or at least the background, of key events.
* * *
Ohio was fertile ground for Douglass, and he went there repeatedly on speaking tours. In 1843 he gave a talk in New Lisbon, Ohio, where the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society proffered him a one-year contract to remain and continue lecturing in the area (he declined). He was back in 1847 with his mentor William Lloyd Garrison (see top image), the country's leading white Abolitionist, on a triumphal tour that took them to New Lyme, Elyria, Painesville, Munson, Twinsburg, Richfield, Oberlin, Medina, Massillon, Leesburg, Salem, and Cleveland. In 1848 Douglass was in Cincinnati, Columbus, and (again) Leesburg, from which Delany filed the glowing reports discussed above; that same year, he returned to Cleveland to preside over the National Convention of Colored Freemen. In 1850 he was once more in Salem, and in 1852 he traveled yet again to Salem and Cincinnati, and visited Harveysburg, Ohio, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as well.
In 1854, at Western Reserve College in Hudson, Ohio, Douglass delivered the lecture in which he attacked Crania Americana. The Western Reserve (see image below), which included Salem, Oberlin, Massillon, New Lyme, Elyria, Cleveland, and Akron, was a hotbed of Abolitionism. The original settlers of this northeastern section of the state had come from Connecticut, which had continued to lay claim to the area until 1800. (This is why there is a sister-city resonance to some town names like New Lyme, as opposed to Old Lyme, Connecticut.) In the early nineteenth century, the Western Reserve was "still a little New England," according to one historian of the Abolitionist movement.34
The region was imbued with the liberal politics and spirit of reform characteristic of New England. Like the northeastern United States, northeastern Ohio could be counted on for many staunch, even radical supporters of the Abolitionist cause. John Brown was born in Connecticut but went at an early age to Hudson, Ohio, where Western Reserve College was founded in 1825. The shoebox from which the Art Institute's daguerreotype was recovered was a veritable time capsule of the Abolitionist movement in the area. In addition to daguerrean portraits of Douglass and George Lippard, a now largely forgotten Abolitionist writer, the box also contained a daguerreotype of John Brown clutching the American flag with one hand while swearing an oath with the other (see image below).
There is no record of Douglass' having spoken at Akron, but the city is between Cleveland and Salem, right in the middle of the network of towns he was visiting. He must have passed through it more than once. In a letter written during the 1847 lecture tour, he enthused, "The whole Western Reserve is now in a healthy state of Anti-Slavery agitation. . . . The West is decidedly the best Anti-Slavery field in the country."35 Knowing he was among friends, he would have felt free to assume an appropriately fierce expression when his picture was taken. More than that, had he been aware that the portrait was intended for public display, he no doubt would have played to his audience.
Douglass was not above grandstanding, or what we call image-making today. Limited as the circulation of daguerreotypes was, they were the beginnings of mass media, and the astute public figure of the time recognized the potential for manipulating public opinion.36 Some of Douglass' wisdom about how to take the right pose in front of a camera may have come from a book of famous speeches he bought when he was only twelve. Having been taught to read by his owner's wife, he scrounged together fifty cents to buy the late eighteenth-century classic The Columbian Orator.37 He cherished this book all his life, and among the pointers he took from it was how to look while delivering an oration, how to project one's image as well as one's voice. The attitudes that Douglass had practiced striking on the podium he undoubtedly knew enough to assume when giving the mute speech that a portrait was.
"I am hardly black enough for the British taste," Douglass reported from England when he was touring and speaking there while money was being raised to buy his freedom, "but by keeping my hair as wooly as possible—I make out to pass for at least half a negro."38 The remark shows that, up to a point, Douglass had a sense of humor about the need to exploit how he looked. The case was put more soberly by Boston Brahmin James Russell Lowell when he wrote in 1845, "The very look and bearing of Douglass are an irresistible logic against the oppression of his race."39 Unlike Garrison or Brown, Douglass was the embodiment of his cause, as he well knew.
Whether or not Douglass was posturing for the camera, we cannot help being impressed by the sheer physical presence of the virile figure we see in the portrait. The struggle in which he was engaged, both before and after his escape from slavery, was profoundly physical in a way that we have to understand in order to appreciate this daguerreotype. When he was a boy, Douglass had been in a scrape during which a cinder fused with iron from a forge had hit him on the forehead and left a scar in the shape of a cross that he carried the rest of his life. This was but the first of a number of fights in which he engaged that seemed to have biblical proportions for him. The most audacious was one in which he struck back at a slave-breaker under whose lash he had been placed in his teens. Risking death for such rebellion, Douglass fought the man for hours, much as Jacob wrestles the Angel of the Lord sent to test him in the Book of Genesis.40 Douglass, too, was struggling to shape his own soul as much as to best an adversary. He would have to carry on the fight throughout his career as an Abolitionist whenever pro-slavery sympathizers would disrupt one of his talks by storming the podium (see image on page 11). Having literally to grapple with his life gave Douglass the sense of himself as a physical being in the world that his portrait conveys with great force.
Physical courage of the sort Douglass displayed when assaulted in public was integral to notions of manhood in nineteenth-century America, especially in the South where he had been raised. But showing himself to be a man in this and every other sense had for Douglass a significance it did not have for the white men of his day, including those who would ride off gallantly into the slaughter of the Civil War. For under law, Douglass had not been born a man, nor any other sort of human being: he had been born chattel, a piece of property. Being taken for an ordinary man meant something more elemental to him than to any white American. It was an acknowledgment that he was human. "I was nothing before," he reflected on the fight in which he bested the slave-breaker. "I WAS A MAN NOW."41 The significance of the enormous self-possession with which the Chicago portrait of Douglass strikes the viewer lies in the fact that the subject had originally been someone else's possession.
The question of whether Douglass was a man or just valuable property infected even his relationship with his white mentor in the Abolitionist movement, William Lloyd Garrison. The issue came to a head during the period in the late 1840s and the early 1850s that we have been examining, but it had begun almost as soon as Douglass met Garrison in 1841. Invited to tell his story to an Abolitionist convention in Nantucket, Massachusetts, Douglass so moved those assembled that Garrison recruited him to go on the lecture circuit that the American Anti-Slavery Society was establishing in New England. But Douglass quickly realized that he was being taken as a "text" from which Garrison and his followers could draw the moral they wanted to promulgate. As Douglass' powers of articulation increased, Garrison's associates tried to curb him. "Give us the facts," said one. "We will take care of the philosophy." "Better to have a little of the plantation manner of speech," advised another. "'Tis not best that you seem too learned."42
Because of this sort of treatment, Douglass came to feel that at Abolitionist meetings he was being, as he wrote later, "generally introduced as . . . a 'thing'—a piece of southern 'property.'"43 The Garrisonians wanted him to go on being a slave even though he was now free. The historian Eric J. Sundquist believed that eventually this made "the lecture platform. . . too much like the auction block"44; indeed, the terminology of slaving crept into Douglass' own comments on his situation when he chastised a member of Garrison's inner circle, who was having Douglass' activities in England monitored, not to try to "put me under overseership."45 Reluctantly, Douglass concluded that "the settling of one difficulty only opened the way for another; . . . and though I had reached a free state, and had attained a position of public usefulness, I was still tormented with the liability of losing my liberty."46
Back in Maryland, Douglass' owner, Thomas Auld, had scolded his wife severely when she taught little Frederick how to read. Doing so with any slave was deemed a mistake, and it was against the law in most southern states. Douglass now found that his literacy was putting him in an uncomfortably similar position in the North. His Abolitionist handlers wanted him to play the "darkie" so that members of the public would not develop doubts about his having been a slave. He addressed their incredulity by displaying his learning, rather than hiding it, when he wrote his first autobiography. Because its publication forced him to flee for his life, it left no room for doubt about his having been the slave he said he was.
By the time that the Art Institute's daguerreotype was made, Douglass had already written that first autobiography in order to make clear how he came to be the person whom we see in his portrait. He was still to write two more. Anyone whose self-awareness was that acute has to have realized, as he sat down before the camera, that his daguerreotype could be yet another autobiography. If his portrait was an address delivered without speaking, as is suggested above, so was it his story published without writing.
Despite Garrison's displeasure at the independence Douglass had shown in publishing his autobiography, the two men embarked on their 1847 speaking tour of Ohio shortly after Douglass returned from England. But the trip ended badly when Garrison fell ill and afterward thought, unjustly, that Douglass had gone off and left him without concern. Thereafter, the rift widened. Not only had Douglass written his autobiography, but he declared his plan to start his own newspaper. He intended to do this, he said, expressly to show Garrison and other Abolitionists that "the Negro was too much of a man to be held a chattel."47 With the founding of North Star, Douglass stopped writing for Garrison's journal, The Liberator, and, worse still from Garrison's point of view, began taking an independent political stand. Garrison abhorred politics. Regarding the United States Constitution as a corrupt document, he forbade his followers from using either legal action or the election process to further their cause. He believed that only moral suasion—convincing people that slavery was wrong in principle—could bring about abolition.
Most alarming to Garrison was that Douglass might be drifting away from the strict non-violence that Garrison insisted upon. In a speech at Salem, Ohio, late in the 1847 speaking tour, Douglass appalled many in the movement by suggesting that "slavery could only be destroyed by bloodshed."48 The following year, he met John Brown for the first time, and he eventually became so drawn into Brown's schemes of insurrection that he had to flee to Canada after Brown's disastrous 1859 raid on Harper's Ferry because incriminating notes from him to Brown were uncovered. After all the physical attacks to which Douglass had been subjected, Brown must have offered a tempting outlet for the pent-up anger Douglass felt. Working with Brown, Douglass might have been able to turn the tables on all the white oppressors who had savaged him over the years.
Brown's old stomping ground in the Western Reserve of Ohio was where his violent tendencies received some of their most fervent encouragement. In 1854, on his way to "bloody Kansas" after the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act left the slavery question unresolved in the territories and thereby ignited guerrilla warfare, Brown stopped over in Akron. A public outpouring of support there supplied him with everything he needed for his campaign against slavery in the territories. This included weapons of all description, among them swords presented to him by a former mayor of Akron. These Brown would use in Kansas to hack to death the sons of a man he had shot in a reprisal killing.
But Douglass would eventually reject the terrible, swift sword of vengeance that Brown held out to him. Upon first hearing Douglass speak in the early 1840s, the feminist Elizabeth Cady Stanton described him as "majestic in his wrath."49 In the glowering visage Douglass presented us in his portrait, the wrath is visible still. But the most frequently given of all his talks, "Self-Made Men," reminds us that Douglass was at his core not an insurrectionist like Brown. He was an assimilationist. Douglass was playing with the phrase "self-made man," adapting it to the challenge he issued to all African American males to make men of themselves by refusing to be mere property, as he had. But he also intended the phrase in the popular sense in which boosters used it to encourage young men to believe that anyone could make his fortune in America.
If Douglass put himself forward as a man in the common terms of his day, including at times a certain reckless bravado, it was because he wanted to take his rightful place as a man in the society of that day. In 1846 he wrote to Garrison, "I am not only an American slave, but a man, and as such, am bound to use my powers for the welfare of the whole human brotherhood."50 The following year he started North Star, and in 1851, when he changed his weekly's name to Frederick Douglass' Paper, he also gave it a new motto: "All Rights for All." This was not a sentiment aimed alone at African Americans, for he did not want them to end up alone in American society. The way that Douglass stares us down in the Art Institute's portrait does not threaten us with violence so much as it dares us to extend our rights, privileges, and beliefs to him.
As North Star and Frederick Douglass' Paper demonstrate, the man we see in this picture had gone his own way, independent of either the violent fanaticism of Brown or the moral absolutism of Garrison. When Douglass was deciding where to set up his newspaper, he knew it must be some place other than Boston because Abolitionists there were under Garrison's sway. He had briefly considered Cleveland, but then he settled on Rochester, New York, where he became involved with a local philanthropist named Gerritt Smith who was to be elected to Congress. This association drew Douglass more deeply into politics and down the road that led to his visits to the White House. Just as he chose a city midway between Boston and the Western Reserve, so did he choose a course of action in between Garrison's and Brown's.
For the rest of Garrison's life, Douglass tried to effect a reconciliation that Garrison steadfastly refused to permit. Where he did not succeed with his mentor, however, Douglass did with his former master. In 1877 Douglass returned to Maryland to visit once again the home of Thomas Auld (see image), the planter who had owned him and who was now on his deathbed. When the two men were reunited, they embraced, and both wept at the national tragedy that their personal relationship represented.
The man who was to be capable of Douglass' gesture toward Auld is the one we see in Samuel J. Miller's daguerreotype. Douglass' was not a monolithic personality like Brown's or Garrison's. His character was more complexly human, more richly self-contradictory, than theirs were. The look that we see on Douglass' face is one of implacable outrage, tempered by a yearning for the common humanity that he knew black and white Americans would have to acknowledge in one another if the Abolitionist cause were ever to triumph. It is a look of reproach for all the injustices that his race was suffering, but also an expression of consternation with himself over what course he should take at this important moment in his life.
Douglass' portrait still has a powerful and unsettling effect on us today because he really became the prophet of his people that he felt destiny had chosen him to be. That is the judgment of his most recent biographer, William S. McFeely, in comments made on an 1852 speech by Douglass typical of his talks throughout the late 1840s and early 1850s. On this particular occasion, as McFeely put it, Douglass not only gave a "prophecy of what the nation's fate would be in less than a decade, . . . but also pointed a haunting finger at our own day, a century after his death."51
Samuel J. Miller (American; ?–1888). Frederick Douglass, 1847/52. Daguerreotype; 14 x 10.6 cm (5 1/2 x 4 1/8 in.). The Art Institute of Chicago, Major Acquisitions Centennial Endowment (1996.433). J. T. Zealy (American, act. 1850s). Delia, 1850. Daguerreotype; 8.9 x 6.4 cm (3 1/2 x 2 1/2 in.) Peabody Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. Photo: Hillel Burger. J. T. Zealy. Jack, 1850. Daguerreotype; 8.9 x 6.4 cm (3 1/2 x 2 1/2 in.). Peabody Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. Photo: Hillel Burger. Frontispiece from Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself (Boston, 1845). Ezra Greenlead Weld (American; act. 1845–69). Frederick Douglass at an Outdoor Abolitionist Meeting, Cazenovia, New York, 1850. Daguerrotype; 14 x 11.4 cm ( 5 1/2 x 4 1/2 in.). Madison County Historical Society, Oneida, New York. Artist unknown. Frederick Douglass, c. 1855. Daguerreotype; 7 x 4.6 cm (2 3/4 x 1 13/16 in.). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Rubel Collection, promised gift of William Rubel, 1997 (1997.84.8). Artist unknown. Frederick Douglass, c. 1850 (copy after plate made in 1840s). Daguerreotype; 8 x 6.9 cm (3 1/8 x 2 3/4 in.). National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. (NPG.80.21). Artist unknown. Frederick A. Douglass, c. mid-1840s. Daguerreotype; 8 x 7 cm (3 1/8 x 2 3/4 in.). Collection of Chester County Historical Society, West Chester, Penn. A. Berghaus (19th century). M.B. Brady's New Photographic Studio, c. 1860. Wood engraving from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, Jan. 5, 1861; Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. (LC-USZ62–114481). J. P. Ball (American; 1825–1904). Alexander Thorn, Photographer, Wearing Vest, Bow Tie, and Jacket, c. 1850s. Daguerreotype; 7.6 x 8.9 cm (3 x 3 1/2 in.). Cincinnati Historical Society. Artist unknown. William Lloyd Garrison, c. 1855. Oil on canvas; 76.2 x 63.5 cm (30 x 25 in.). National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., gift of Marlies R. and Sylvester G. March (NPG.84.205). Map of Western Reserve area. Photo: Walter C. Kidney, Historic Buildings of Ohio (Pittsburgh, 1972), p. 2. Augustus Washington (American [born in Liberia]; 1820/21–?). John Brown, c. 1847. Daguerreotype; 10.2 x 8.3 cm (4 x 3 1/4 in.). National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., purchased with major acquisition funds donated by Betty Adler Schermer in honor of her great-grandfather August M. Dondi, who joined John Brown's band of "Free Staters" in their struggle with pro-slavery raiders in the Kansas Territory from 1856 to 1858 (NPG.96.123). Douglass Confronts Opponents to Abolition at an Antislavery Meeting in Indiana, engraving from Frederick Douglass, Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (Hartford, Conn., 1881; repr. New York, 1983), facing p. 234. Artist unknown. Thomas Auld, c. 1870. Albumen print; 17.8 x 12.7 cm (7 x 5 in.). Private collection. Photo: courtesy National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
1. "In Their Own Right: Images of African Americans from The Art Institute of Chicago" was held from Sept. 27, 1997, through Jan. 11, 1998. 2. Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself (Boston, 1845; repr. New York, 1968); idem, My Bondage and My Freedom (New York/Auburn, N.Y., 1855; repr. New York, 1969); idem, Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (Hartford, Conn., 1881; repr. New York, 1983). 3. Douglass' weekly newspaper was published under two names, North Star (1847–51) and Frederick Douglass' Paper (1851–59). Frederick Douglass' Monthly, which had begun as a supplement to Frederick Douglass' Paper, became his sole publication from 1859 until 1863; and in 1870 he bought a part-interest in another journal, which he renamed New National Era and published until 1873. 4. The chief source of Frederick Douglass material—letters, manuscripts of speeches, etc.—is the Frederick Douglass Collection in the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. The most important scholarship on Douglass is to be found in Philip S. Foner, The Life and Writings of Frederick Douglass, 5 vols. (New York, 1950–75); William S. McFeely, Frederick Douglass (New York, 1991); and Benjamin Quarles, Frederick Douglass (New York, 1948). Two earlier studies of note are Frederic May Holland, Frederick Douglass: The Coloured Orator (New York, 1891); and James M. Gregory, Frederick Douglass: The Orator (New York, 1893). 5. J. W. Hanson, D.D., ed., The World's Congress of Religions: The Addresses and Papers Delivered before the Parliament and an Abstract of the Congresses Held in the Art Institute, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A., August 25 to October 15, 1893, under the Auspices of the World's Columbian Exposition (Chicago, 1894), p. 17. 6. Frederick Douglass, The Reason Why the Colored Man is Not in the Columbian Exposition (Chicago, 1892); repr. Foner (note 4), vol. 4: Reconstruction and After (1950), p. 475. 7. F. W. Putnam, Oriental and Occidental Northern and Southern Portrait Types of the Midway Plaisance (St. Louis, 1894). For a discussion of both Putnam's plan and his publications, see James Gilbert, Perfect Cities: Chicago's Utopias of 1893 (Chicago, 1991), pp. 109–10. 8. Dr. Samuel Morton, Crania Americana (Philadelphia, 1839). Unknown for most of the twentieth century, these studies of slaves were rediscovered in 1975 at Harvard University's Peabody Museum, Cambridge, Mass. For a full discussion of them, see Brian Wallis, "Black Bodies, White Science: Louis Agassiz's Slave Daguerreotypes," American Art 9, 2 (summer 1995), pp. 39–61. 9. Although Wallis (note 8), p. 39, said that there were six thousand whites and one hundred thousand slaves in the vicinity of Columbia, South Carolina, this city, which was the most modern in the state and its commercial center, was a rare instance in which whites actually constituted the majority. Slaves did outnumber whites statewide, but the area of the highest ratio of blacks to whites was around Charleston, in the Tidewater parishes. Even there, the figures did not approach the fifteen or sixteen to one suggested by Wallis. I am indebted for guidance on this question to Professor Peter Woods of Duke University, Durham, N.C. For more on the issues involved, see George M. Frederickson, "Masters and Mudsills: The Role of Race in the Planter Ideology of South Carolina," in idem, The Arrogance of Race: Historical Perspectives on Slavery, Racism, and Social Inequality (Middletown, Conn., 1988), pp. 15–17. Also enlightening are William W. Freehling, Prelude to the Civil War: The Nullification Controversy in South Carolina (New York, 1966); and Stephen A. Channing, Crisis of Fear: Secession in South Carolina (New York, 1970). 10. Frederick Douglass, The Claims of the Negro Ethnologically Considered: An Address before the Literary Societies of Western Reserve College, at Commencement, July 12, 1854 (Rochester, N.Y., 1854); repr. John W. Blassingame, ed., The Douglass Papers: Series One, Speeches, Debates, and Interviews, 1847–54, vol. 2 (New Haven, 1982), pp. 497–525. While he may not have been aware of Agassiz's daguerrean study of slaves, Douglass did know about Agassiz's theories. Earlier, in his address at Western Reserve, Douglass referred to Agassiz in the same breath with Crania Americana's author, Samuel Morton, and other anthropologists whom he considered racist; see ibid., p. 503; for Douglass on Crania Americana, see pp. 508–14. 11. There were other insults to the African American during the Columbian Exposition that must have rankled Douglass. The World's Parliament of Religions was sullied by the message and tone of papers dealing with race. In "Religious Duty to the Negro," for example, Chicagoan Fanny B. Williams found "negroes" noble in slavery, but problematic once they were free; see Hanson (note 5), pp. 893–97. In an event connected with the Parliament of Religions—the World Auxiliary Congress on Evolution—religious support was expressed for the view of the nineteenth-century English philosopher Herbert Spencer that evolution as a progression had left Africans behind. The fair also marked the introduction of "Aunt Jemima" pancake mix, establishing a stereotype of great longevity in American life; see Marilyn Kern-Foxworth, "Plantation Kitchen to American Icon: Aunt Jemima," Public Relations Review 16, 3 (fall 1990), p. 59. 12. Herald of Freedom (Concord, N. H.), Feb. 16, 1844. 13. Quoted in McFeely (note 4), p. 371. 14. The oil painting is now in the National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C. See Washington, D.C., National Portrait Gallery, Majestic in His Wrath: A Pictorial Life of Frederick Douglass, exh. cat. by Frederick S. Voss (1995), pp. 22–23. This catalogue for an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery was published the year before the Art Institute's daguerreotype came to public attention. 15. Douglass to Richard D. Webb, Apr. 16 (?), 1846, in Foner (note 4), vol. 5: Supplementary Volume, 1844–1860 (1975), p. 42. 16. For a detailed discussion of this daguerreotype and the events surrounding it, see Hugh C. Humphreys, "'Agitate! Agitate! Agitate!' The Great Slave Law Convention and its Rare Daguerreotype," Madison County Heritage 19 (1994), pp. 1–64. This journal is a publication of the Madison County Historical Society, Oneida, N.Y. 17. I am indebted to Mary Panzer of the National Portrait Gallery for sharing with me the hypothesis of Will Stapp, former Curator of Photographs at the Gallery, that the portrait may date as early as 1845. 18. Allison Davis, Leadership, Love, and Aggression (New York, 1983), p. 89. This essay appears as the second chapter, "Douglass, the Lion," in Davis's book on prominent African Americans. The others discussed are W. E. B. DuBois, Richard Wright, and Martin Luther King, Jr. 19. See Pittsburgh, Dargate Auction Galleries, Estate of Hans Tauchnitz, Mrs. Standish, David Ferguson, Plus Other Select Consignments, Apr. 27–28, 1996, lot 642, pp. 51–52. 20. Martin R. Delany to Douglass, in North Star, Apr. 28, 1848, p. 2. 21. Beacon Journal (Akron, Oh.), Mar. 5, 1888. 22. Frederick Douglass' Paper (Rochester, N.Y.), Apr. 28 and May 5, 1854. 23. The convention that all men's garments buttoned left over right seems to have been universal by Douglass' era. See John Peacock, Men's Fashions: The Complete Sourcebook (London, 1996), pp. 58–75, 203–204; and Penelope Byrde, The Male Image: Men's Fashion in Britain 1300–1970 (London, 1979), pp. 71–124 passim. 24. Douglas Severson, photography conservator at the Art Institute, determined from the state of the preserver that he was the first person to open this assembly since the daguerreotype was made and fitted with its case. This accounts for the pristine condition of the plate, for efforts to repair or restore daguerreotypes have usually tended to damage them instead. 25. See Floyd Rinhart and Marion Rinhart, The American Daguerreotype (Athens, Ga., 1981), p. 402 (listed as S. S. Miller, not Samuel J. Miller); and John S. Craig, Craig's Daguerreian Registry, vol. 3: Pioneers and Progress, MacDonald to Zulky (Torrington, Conn., 1996), pp. 88, 395. 26. Akron Summit Beacon, Aug. 25, 1852, p. 3. 27. Samuel Alanson Lane, Fifty Years and Over of Akron and Summit County (Akron, Oh., 1892), p. 30. 28. For a discussion of the economic conditions under which the daguerreotype was introduced, see Robert Taft, Photography and the American Scene: A Social History, 1839–1889 (New York, 1938), p. 39. 29. Edward Waldo Emerson and Waldo Emerson Forbes, eds., The Journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1841–1844 (Boston, 1911), pp. 110–11. 30. Ibid. 31. Frederick Douglass, "Self-Made Men," The Papers of Frederick Douglass, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., reel 18. By citing, among the various complete texts and fragments of this talk to survive, the version published when Douglass delivered it at the Indian Industrial School in Carlisle, Penn., I have followed the example of Rafia Zakar, "Franklinian Douglass: The Afro-American as Representative Man," in Eric J. Sundquist, ed., Frederick Douglass: New Literary and Historical Essays (Cambridge, Eng., 1990), pp. 99–117. 32. The more elaborate story about Ball, which ran in Frederick Douglass' Paper on May 5, 1854, was a reprint from an Apr. 1, 1854, issue of the popular magazine Gleason's Pictorial. 33. Quoted in Foner (note 4), vol. 1: Early Years, 1817–1849 (1950), pp. 379–80. Douglass was reviewing an 1849 book entitled A Tribute for the Negro by Wilson Armistead that was illustrated with engravings (repr. Miami, 1969). Whether some of these were based on daguerreotypes, which were by then commonly used as a basis for the lithographs and engravings published in books, is unclear. Douglass himself is one of the subjects profiled, and the accompanying portrait of him was poorly copied from the engraving in his first autobiography. Douglass' use of the word "take" in his article suggests that he had a photographic process in mind, although at this stage of its history the medium was not generally considered capable of the amount of manipulation he was talking about here. 34. Albert Bushnell Hart, Slavery and Abolition, vol. 16 of American Nation Series (New York, 1910), p. 196; quoted in Quarles (note 4), p. 63. 35. Douglass to Sidney Howard Gay, Sept. 1847, in Foner (note 33), pp. 262–63. 36. I am thinking here not only of Douglass, but of Abraham Lincoln, who said that two things got him elected President: the speech he gave at New York's Cooper Union in 1860, and the widely distributed photograph Mathew Brady took of him that night; see James D. Horan, Mathew Brady: Historian With a Camera (New York, 1955), p. 32. 37. Caleb Bingham, comp., The Columbian Orator: Containing a Variety of Original and Selected Pieces: Together with rules, calculated to improve youth and others in the ornamental and useful art of eloquence, 18th ed. (New York, 1816). 38. Quoted in James W. Tuttleton, "Frederick Douglass," The New Criterion 12, 6 (Feb. 1994), p. 22. 39. James Russell Lowell, in The Pennsylvania Freeman (Philadelphia), Feb. 13, 1845; quoted in Quarles (note 4), p. 19. 40. Genesis 32:24–28. While Douglass, like Abraham Lincoln, did not subscribe to any of the organized religions of his day, he did feel himself to be a man of destiny, someone whom God had chosen to fulfill His will. This belief began in boyhood when a slave called Uncle Lawson told him he had a mission in life, and it ripened into a conviction that he had been born to be a prophet of his people. Recent scholars who concur in Douglass' own assessment of his importance include William B. Rogers, who has placed Douglass in a prophetic tradition going back to the Puritans; see William B. Rogers, "We Are All Together Now": Frederick Douglass, William Garrison, and The Prophetic Tradition (New York, 1995), pp. 21, 124. Douglass' prophetic role has also been noted by the author of his definitive modern biography, William S. McFeely (note 4); see note 51. 41. Douglass, My Bondage and My Freedom (note 2), p. 246. 42. Ibid., pp. 358–62. See also idem, Life and Times . . . (note 2), pp. 219–21. 43. Douglass, My Bondage and My Freedom (note 2), p. 360. See also idem, Life and Times . . . (note 2), p. 218. 44. Sundquist (note 31), p. 10. 45. Douglass to Maria (Weston) Chapman, Mar. 29, 1846, in Foner (note 33), p. 142. 46. Douglass, My Bondage and My Freedom (note 2), p. 364. 47. Quoted in Philip S. Foner, Frederick Douglass, A Biography (New York, 1964), p. 82. 48. Douglass, Life and Times . . . (note 2), p. 282. 49. Quoted in Washington, D.C. (note 14), n.p. 50. Douglass to William Lloyd Garrison, in The Liberator (Boston), Mar. 27, 1846. 51. McFeely (note 4), p. 173.
13 hours 52 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago The average museum visitor spends less than 30 seconds looking at a work of art. So what's it like see a six-hour music video?
A Lot of Sorrow is an endurance test for the veteran rock band The National, performing their song "Sorrow" 105 times in a row.