Former slave (1818–1895) who lent his eloquent, powerful voice to the abolitionist movement. Original Civil War-dated 2.5 x 4.25 carte-de-visite bust portrait of Douglass by Curtis & Crosby, signed at the bottom of the image in black ink, “Fred’k Douglass, 1864.” Printed text on the reverse reads: “Photographed by Curtis & Crosby, Lewiston, Me.” In very good condition, with a central horizontal crease, some light spots and rubbing to the finish, and a couple pencil notations to the reverse. In 1863, Douglass had become the first African-American to be granted an audience with the president, and he met with Lincoln multiple times throughout 1864—including one meeting about organizing slave escapees as volunteers for the Union army. This portrait—signed after the Emancipation Proclamation had taken effect but before the end of the Civil War and adoption of the 13th Amendment—comes from a period in Douglass’s life when he saw the change he had been working for beginning to take hold. Also exceptionally rare, this is the first Douglass signed photo we have ever offered. RR Auction COA.
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