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Tubman, Harriet) Bradford, Sarah H.

Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman.


The First Biography Of Harriet Tubman,
Extraordinary Leader Of The Anti-Slavery Movement
(Tubman, Harriet). Bradford, Sarah H. Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman. Auburn, [New York]: W.J. Moses, 1869.
Small 8vo.; portrait frontispiece of Tubman; tissue guard present; rust colored cloth, stamped in blind and gilt; markings over inscription; extremities lightly rubbed.
First edition of the first biography ever published about the legendary ex-slave and architect of the "Underground Railroad": Work 476; Hampton 4879. A presentation copy (the inscription lightly marred), inscribed by W. Dale Williams to the Fort Hill Historical Association, with Williams's bookplate and his ownership signature.
Drawn chiefly from the memory of close friend and abolitionist colleague Sarah Hopkins Bradford, Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman was the first full-length account of Tubman's heroic life and work. Born in approximately 1821, Tubman escaped slavery to become one of the most famous leaders of the anti-slavery movement in the United States. She served as a spy, a scout, and a nurse for the Union army; but she was perhaps best known for her life-risking interventions on behalf of others born into slavery. Over a ten-year period, Tubman made roughly twenty trips into the South to free others; at least three hundred men, women and children are estimated to have escaped slavery via Tubman and the Underground Railroad. To slaves and their sympathizers she was known as "Moses," in tribute to her spearheading efforts; at the height of her career, white slave owners offered a bounty of $40,000 for her capture.
Asked to supply "a word of commendation" for Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass replied:
I need words from you [Tubman] far more than you need them from me...your superior labors and devotion to the cause of the lately enslaved of our land are known as I know them. The difference between us is very marked...I have wrought in the day-you in the night.. I have had the applause of the crowd and the satisfaction that comes of being approved by the multitude, while...the midnight sky and the stars have been the witnesses of your devotion to freedom... (Harriet Tubman, by Earl Conrad, Washington, D.C., Associated Publishers, 66, 150, p. 206)
In her later years Tubman retired to Auburn, New York, a center of pro-abolitionist and suffragist activism. Known there as "Mother Harriet," she participated in emancipation, civil rights, and women's rights organizations until the end of her life. She was a delegate at the founding conference of the National Association of Colored Women, the first national black woman's organization, in 1896. She died in Auburn in 1913.

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