William Wells Brown

corner of book highlighting cover decoration

While it isn’t a first printing, we have a nice second edition of William Wells Brown‘s The Black Man, His Antecedents, His Genius and His Achievements. As usual, this is one of those little discoveries that we have on our shelves. Brown escaped enslavement to become an abolitionist and writer. Calling him simply a writer does not fully explain what he did. He was the first African American to publish travel fiction, fiction, drama, and a history of Black people in the Revolutionary War.

Although he begins this book telling his own story, he delves into the histories of others.

Another notable element of this book is the simplicity of its title. Brown’s choice of title and its look on the spine makes a strong political statement.


Like some of our other books, this one also has a notable owner, Augustus Gardner Lebroke, a lawyer from Maine and a Republican politician. Given his political affiliation and the mention of his hatred of slavery (in the link above), it makes sense that he owned a book by a fellow abolitionist.

Inside cover featuring a book plate and signature of original owner.

On a different note, friend of the Woodson, Kelley Lash, Director of Student Media, unexpectedly passed away this week. She had been instrumental in providing access to born-digital Campaniles and Threshers. She helped us work through rights language for the student media collections. She also always reached out when she had items to donate like the massive Rice Television and Video Production records. Thresher staff put together a moving tribute to her life and work at the university. Our thoughts are with her family.

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