Lot #128
Frederick Douglass

The great slave-turned-abolitionist submits his autograph for the 1864 Sanitary Fair

This lot has closed

Estimate: $2000+


The great slave-turned-abolitionist submits his autograph for the 1864 Sanitary Fair

Civil War-dated DS, signed "I am, Dear Sir, Yours Truly, Fred'k Douglass, Rochester, Sept. 6th 1864," one page, 5 x 8, August 25, 1864. Douglass signs at the conclusion of an autograph request document issued by the Western Illinois Sanitary Fair Committee, in part: "As a means for increasing the fund for the benefit of our soldiers, and procuring a valuable and interesting collection, the Executive Committee have decided to respectfully request the Autographs of prominent persons." In fine condition, with wrinkling to the top from two mounting remnants on the reverse.

Founded by influential, civic-minded Northerners like Henry Whitney Bellows and Central Park designer Frederick Law Olmstead, the US Sanitary Commission conducted fundraisers throughout the Civil War as a means to better care for sick and wounded soldiers. The group raised an incredible $25 million between 1861 and 1865, and often relied on prominent figures like Douglass and President Lincoln to contribute autographed items. In his attempts to expedite the abolition of slavery, Douglass also used his prestige to persuade Lincoln into granting black soldiers the opportunity to fight in the Union army. A truly remarkable piece of wartime history, and according to ABPC, the only Sanitary Fair document signed by Douglass to appear for sale in the last 40 years.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autograph and Artifacts, Ft. Animation
  • Dates: #608 - Ended May 12, 2021

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