Boston's Crusade Against Slavery


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) [Personal account book]: autograph manuscript, 1856.

Longfellow's account book reveals his quiet efforts on behalf of slaves. In 1855-56, he gave money to a black man; antislavery and black churches; Josiah Henson, the model for Stowe's Uncle Tom; abolitionist publications; fugitive slaves; and Mary Botts, a light-skinned Virginia slave whose freedom was engineered by Charles Sumner, Longfellow's intimate friend. Bostonians called Botts the "real" Ida May, the heroine of Mary Pike's popular novel.

MS Am 1340 (152) – Trustees of the Longfellow House Trust, 1976.