Skip to content Skip to navigation

Picturing Frederick Douglass: An Illustrated Biography of the Nineteenth Century's Most Photographed American

Monday, February 22, 2016 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm
Reception to follow

Picturing Frederick Douglass: An Illustrated Biography of the Nineteenth Century's Most Photographed American

John Stauffer

In this talk, John Stauffer will share with us excerpts and images from Picturing Frederick Douglass,a work that promises to revolutionize our knowledge of race and photography in 19th-century America. Stauffer will paint a picture of Frederick Douglas as a leading pioneer in photography, both as a stately subject and as a prescient theorist who believed in the explosive social power of what was then just a nascent art form.

John Stauffer is Professor of English and African American Studies at Harvard University and the editor of 21st Editions, a limited edition photography press. He is the author of national bestsellers, co-winner of the Frederick Douglass Book Prize and a Lincoln Prize finalist. He advised and appeared in three award-winning documentaries (God in America, The Abolitionists,and The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross)and he has been a consultant for the feature films Django and the forthcoming Free State of Jones,which is based on his book.

The Boston Athenæum presents this event in honor of African-American History Month. Interested in viewing some of Stauffer’s primary source materials first-hand? Make an appointment to view our 1865 Merrill & Crosby photograph of Frederick Douglas.

To register, follow the registration button on the right. If you would prefer your information to pre-populate, log in to your My Athenæum Profile. To log in to your My Athenæum Profile click on the profile icon found in the upper right corner of each page on our website.

If you do not yet have a profile, select “New User? Create an account” on the Profile Login page. Members create their own accounts; a username and password are not assigned when you join the Athenæum.

Assistive Listening Devices image

Most programs held in the Bayard Henry Long Room on the Athenaeum's first floor are amplified and assistive listening devices are available for patron use.

ASL Interpretation image

To request ASL interpretation services for any of the Athenaeum's programs, please contact Hannah Weisman at 617-720-7617 or