Monday, March 7, 2016

March Author Talk: John Stauffer

Picturing Frederick Douglass by 
John Stauffer, Zoe Trodd, and Celeste-Marie Bernier 
Thursday, March 24, 2016—Noon to 1:00 pm
State Library of Massachusetts—Room 341, Massachusetts State House

If someone were to ask you to name the most photographed American of the 19th century, what would your answer be? Abraham Lincoln? Ulysses S. Grant? Walt Whitman? According to author John Stauffer, the answer is Frederick Douglass.

Why did abolitionist and political activist Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) sit for so many portraits? This is the question that Harvard University Professor John Stauffer and his co-authors, Zoe Trodd and Celeste-Marie Bernier, explore in their recently published book, Picturing Frederick Douglass: An Illustrated Biography of the Nineteenth-Century’s Most Photographed American. As it turns out, Douglass loved photography and spoke and wrote on the topic extensively. Douglass also recognized the power of photography to more accurately portray black Americans during this pivotal time in American history. Picturing Frederick Douglass presents a visual biography of Douglass with 160 of his portraits, arranged chronologically, and generous annotations by the authors. 

In addition to Picturing Frederick Douglass, Professor Stauffer has written or edited eighteen other books, including The Portable Frederick Douglass, Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, and The Black Hearts of Men: Radical Abolitionists and the Transformation of Race. Professor Stauffer is one of the leading authorities on the Civil War era, antislavery, social protest movements, and photography, and he is an award-winning professor of English and American Literature, American Studies, and African American Studies at Harvard University.

Please join us for an Author Talk with Professor Stauffer on Thursday, March 24, at noon at the State Library. Professor Stauffer’s talk is free and open to the public, and copies of the book Picturing Frederick Douglass will be available for purchase and signing at the event. Please register online and join us on March 24 at the State Library.

Laura Schaub
Cataloging Librarian