Massive Collection of Frederick Douglass Scrapbooks Heading to Yale

Exciting news – the Beineke Library at Yale has bought a huge collection of Frederick Douglass’s family’s scrapbooks from a private collector, Dr. Walter Evans, who has amassed an extraordinary collection of African American materials. I first heard about these last year when I was a fellow at the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition. David Blight explained that he was launched on his Pulitzer-winning biography of Frederick Douglass when Dr. Evans showed him this collection, and David realized what a wealth of previously unexplored information these scrapbooks held. I look forward to exploring them, and hope they will also be digitized.

The scrapbook shown in New York Times article is pasted into an old ledger book — no surprise to anyone who has looked at 19th century scrapbooks and seen multiple types of reuse at work.

One of the 9 oversize scrapbooks made by Frederick Douglass’s family, now at Yale.

            In the meantime, you can see two of Frederick Douglass’s own scrapbooks from 1890 and 1892, digitized by the Library of Congress: https://www.loc.gov/item/mfd.52002/  and https://www.loc.gov/item/mfd.52003/  Like many 19th century scrapbooks, they were pasted into old government reports.