Case (open): 11.9 x 19.1 x 1.3cm (4 11/16 x 7 1/2 x 1/2")
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; acquired through the generosity of an anonymous donor
Born near Easton, Maryland
In the years following his escape from bondage in 1838, Frederick Douglass emerged as a powerful and persuasive spokesman for the cause of abolition. His effectiveness as an antislavery advocate was due in large measure to his firsthand experience with the evils of slavery and his extraordinary skill as an orator. His "glowing logic, biting irony, melting appeals, and electrifying eloquence" astonished and enthralled his audiences. As this ambrotype suggests, Douglass’s power was also rooted in the sheer impressiveness of his bearing, which abolitionist and activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton likened to that of "an African prince, majestic in his wrath."