The writing of this book ends where it began—with students. I first became curious about Frederick Douglass when, as a beginning instructor, I read Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass with members of an American studies seminar; now I read about him with my grandson. I am in debt to a great many students—and others as well—who have discussed Douglass with me and have helped me in many different ways over the years that I have been working on this book. And yet I must begin these acknowledgments with an apology; neither my memory nor my records are adequate to the job of thanking all the people who should be thanked. History, as it should be, is a noncompetitive, shared craft, and I hope all who have helped but are not named will know how deeply grateful I am.
Archivists and librarians have been consistently cooperative—in many cases, particularly so when I mentioned the subject of my research. Frederick Douglass has a good many admirers. John Blassingame, editor of the valuable Frederick Douglass Papers, and his associates past and present, always made me welcome on Hillhouse Avenue. Richard Carlson, Jason Silverman, and particularly, Jack McKivigan went out of their way to assist me as I was working with Yale's copies of Douglass's correspondence. I am grateful to the many archivists in the United States and Great Britain who supplied these and other documents to the Yale University Frederick Douglass Papers.
As always, Sara Dunlap Jackson of the Historical Publications and Records Commission was both a good friend and a matchless guide to documents in the National Archives. Staff members at the Library of Congress amiably brought their professional skills to bear. Will Stapp and his associates at the National Portrait Gallery were helpful. And Tom Ehr, Karen Hendricks, and Lynn Holmes were good guides while I was in Washington.
The incomparable antislavery collection in the Boston Public Library was