Rare photos of Harriet Tubman and other abolitionists unveiled

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Pictured left to right: John Willis Menard, Harriet Tubman, Charles Sumner

Photos courtesy of The Library of Congress

Washington, DC—An album containing 48 rare photographs that date back to the 1860s will be proudly displayed at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture later this year. Included in this remarkable album is a portrait of Harriet Tubman and the only known photograph of John Willis Menard, the first African American elected to U.S. Congress. The Library of Congress was able to conserve the album, cleaning and digitally scanning each image after it was acquired in an auction last year. Library conservators also reattached the cover and treated its leather binding.

Education and abolition are strong themes present throughout the photographs. Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden stated, “Now people in our nation’s capital and around the world can see these important figures from American history and learn more about their lives.”

The public will be able to gaze upon this fantastic preservation of history in person later this year, however the photographs are available on the library’s website now for viewing. These photographs allow us to view these abolitionists in a new light, humanizing and bringing even further depth to them.

Other famous abolitionists featured in the photos are Charles Sumner, Lydia Maria Child, William Henry Channing, Colonel C.W. Folsom, Wendell Phillips, and Charles Dickens. The album was purchased with funds from both the Library of Congress James Madison Council and funding from the Smithsonian.

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