Frederick Douglass was born into slavery on the Eastern Shore of Maryland sometime in February 1818. Born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, he was the child of a slave woman and a white man. Perhaps best known for his autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, his accomplishments in the anti-slavery movement leading up to and through the Civil War period are extraordinary.
Douglass’s example offers a glimpse into plantation life on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, as well as the realities of life under slavery and the challenges and risks of escape. In Douglass we have direct evidence of slave codes, the elaborate networking of the Underground Railroad, the power of literacy, and, through him, a personification of the moral, ethical, legal and spiritual struggles of slavery that are often times lost in the more abstract conceptions of slavery over a century later.
In addition, Douglass’s beginning in rural Maryland during the state’s history as a slave state, and his eventual escape to New York and a life in the abolitionist movement during the war and national government following, reflects the changes that transpired both during the Civil War divide and in the decades since. As Douglass changed and evolved, so too did Maryland and the union as a whole.
The life of Frederick Douglass encompasses much more than his famous biography (which in reality was a series of three written over the course of his life) and his legend as an orator. He is intricately linked to the historic developments of the period - all shaped by a life born into slavery on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the following U.S. History Content Standards for Grades 5-12.
Era 4: Expansion and Reform (1801-1861)
Standard 2 : How the industrial revolution, increasing immigration, the rapid expansion of slavery, and the westward movement changed the lives of American and led toward regional tensions
Standard 2D : The student understands the rapid growth of "the peculiar institution" after 1800 and the varied experiences of African American under slavery.
5-12: Describe the plantation system and the roles of their owners, their families, hired white workers, and enslaved African Americans.
5-12: Identify the various ways in which African American resisted the conditions of their enslavement and analyze the consequences of violent uprisings.
7-12: Evaluate how enslaved African Americans used religion and family to create a viable culture and ameliorate the effects of slavery.
Standard 4: The sources and character of cultural, religious, and social reform movements in the antebellum period
Standard 4A: The student understands the abolitionist movement.
7-12: Analyze changing ideas about race and assess the reception of proslavery and antislavery ideologies in the North and South.
9-12: Compare the positions of African American and white abolitionists on the issue of the African American's place in society.
Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the following Maryland Social Studies Standards for Grades 4 and 8.
Grade 4 - Standard 5.0: Students will examine significant ideas, beliefs, and themes; organize patterns and events; and analyze how individuals and societies have changed over time in Maryland and the United States.
- Topic C. Conflict between ideas and institutions
- Objective a. Compare the lives of slave families and free blacks
- Objective b. Describe the anti-slavery movement in Maryland
- Objective c. Describe the growth of the Underground Railroad
- Indicator 4. Analyze how the institution of slavery impacted individuals and groups in Maryland
Grade 8 - Standard 5.0: Students will examine significant ideas, beliefs, and themes; organize patterns and events; and analyze how individuals and societies have changed over time in Maryland and the United States.
- Topic C. Conflict between ideas and institutions
- Objective a. Describe pro-slavery and anti-slavery positions and explain how debates over slavery influenced politics and sectionalism
- Objective b. Analyze the experiences of African-American slaves, and free blacks
- Objective c. Compare the relationship of abolitionist to other reform movements
- Indicator 4. Analyze the institution of slavery and its influence on societies in the United States
Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the following Maryland Common Core Reading Standards for Grades 6-8:
CCR Anchor Standard #1
- Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make
logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing
or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
RH.6-8.1 - Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources
CCR Anchor Standard #2
- Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development;
summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
RH.6-8.2- Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge of opinions
CCR Anchor Standard #4
- Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining
technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how
specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
RH.6-8.4- Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies
CCR Anchor Standard #6
- Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.
RH.6-8.6- Identify aspects of a text that reveal an author's point of view or purpose (e.g., loaded language, inclusion or avoidance of particular facts)
CCR Anchor Standard #7
- Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including
visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
RH.6-8.7- Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts
CCR Anchor Standard #8
- Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the
validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.
RH.6-8.8- Distinguish among fact, opinion, and reasoned judgment in a text
CCR Anchor Standard #9
- Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to
build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.
RH.6-8.9- Analyze the relationship between a primary and secondary source on the same topic
- DESCRIPTION: Image, Frederick Douglass DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1845 SOURCE: Documenting the American South NOTES: Frontispiece image from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, and American Slave. Written by Himself REPOSITORY: University Library, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- DESCRIPTION: Image, Frederick Douglass DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1855 SOURCE: Mary A. Dodge Collection, Maryland State Archives Special Collections (MSA SC 564-1-93) NOTES: Frontispiece image from My Bondage My Freedom. Also included in this volume, are handwritten notes from Harriett Lucretia Anthony combating the accuracy of Frederick Douglass' narrative in regards to his experience while on her grandfather's plantation. REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, MD
- DESCRIPTION: Newspaper, The North Star (Rochester, N.Y.) DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: December 3, 1847, Vol. 1, No. 1 SOURCE: Chronicling America, Historic American Newspapers, Library of Congress NOTES: Abolitionist newspaper founded by Frederick Douglass REPOSITORY: Library of Congress, Washington D.C.
- DESCRIPTION: Portrait, Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 2014 ARTIST: Simmie Knox (b. 1935 - ) MEDIUM: Oil on canvas DIMENTIONS: 81 1/4 x 60 1/8" REPOSITORY: Maryland State Art Collection, Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, MD (MSA SC 1545-3471)
- DESCRIPTION: Bill of Sale, Thomas Auld to Hugh Auld DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: November 13, 1846 SOURCE: Talbot County Court (Land Records) JP 60, 1846-47, folio 35-36 (MSA C1880-70) NOTES: $100 paid by Hugh Auld of Baltimore City for "one negro man by the name of Frederick Bailey, or Douglas, as he calls himself" REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, MD
- DESCRIPTION: "Ledger A" Account Book, Aaron Anthony (1794-1826) DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1826 SOURCE: Mary A. Dodge Collection, Maryland State Archives Special Collections (MSA SC 564-1-1) NOTES: "Ledger A" is an account book for Aaron Anthony of Talbot County. It includes the births of his children as well as slaves, one of which was "Frederick Augustus son of Harriott, Feby 1818" as well as his siblings Perry, Sarah, Eliza, Kitty and Arianna REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, MD
- DESCRIPTION: 1830 Federal Census, Household of Hugh Auld, Baltimore City, 2nd Ward DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1830 SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau (Census Record, MD) 1830 (MSA SM61-83) page 37a & b NOTES: There is a sole mark under the "Male Slave age range 10-24" column and this could represent the presence of Frederick Douglass in the household REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, MD
- DESCRIPTION: Inventory of slaves owned by Captain Aaron Anthony DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: January 13, 1827 SOURCE: Talbot County Register of Wills (Inventories) 1827, folio 9 (MSA C1872-35) NOTES: Upon the death of slaveholders, an inventory of their property was recorded, which included household objects, animals, and enslaved individuals. Slaves were traditionally listed by name, age, and value. In the inventory of Captain Aaron Anthony, young Frederick Bailey (age 9, valued at $110) is listed along with other members of his family including his grandmother, aunts and cousins REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, MD
- DESCRIPTION: Distribution of slaves owned by Captain Aaron Anthony at the time of his death DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: October 22, 1827 SOURCE: Talbot County Register of Wills (Distributions) JP D, i, folio 59 (MSA C1860-7) NOTES: After the death of Aaron Anthony, his slaves were divided among his living heirs, his two sons and son-in-law. Frederick Bailey, along with ten other family members, became the property of Capt. Anthony’s son-in-law, Thomas Auld. His grandmother, siblings and a few cousins became the property of Anthony’s son Andrew, while other cousins were given to a younger son, Richard Lee Anthony REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, MD
- DESCRIPTION: Daguerrotype, Frederick Douglass DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: unknown photographer, c.1848 REPOSITORY: Albert Cook Myers Collection, DG327, Charles County Historical Society, La Plata, MD
- DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Frederick Douglass, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing right REPOSITORY: Cedar Hill, Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, National Park Service, Washington D.C. PHOTOGRAPHER: George Francis Schreiber (1803-1892) SOURCE: BIOG FILE - Douglass, Frederick, Library of Congress Control Number 2004671911, Reproduction Number LC-USZ62-15887 REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints and Photographic Division, Washington D.C.
- DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Frederick Douglass DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: unknown photographer, c. 1879 REPOSITORY: Cedar Hill, Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, National Park Service, Washington D.C.
- DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Frederick Douglass in his Cedar Hill Library DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: unknown photographer, date unknown SOURCE: FRDO3886 REPOSITORY: Cedar Hill, Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, National Park Service, Washington D.C.
- TITLE: Newspaper article, Frederick Douglass DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: June 20, 1874 SOURCE: Maryland Republican and State Capital Advertiser, June 20, 1874, page 3. Maryland State Archives Special Collections (MSA SC 2945, microfilm SCM 3000-1) NOTES: Article describes Frederick Douglass' visit to Annapolis as the guest of Thos H. Young. During a gala, while in the Senate Chamber, Douglass viewed the portrait of George Washington resigning his commission from the Continental Army, and then "Mr. Douglass, as he walked to and fro in front of it [the painting], repeated audibly and with all the force and pathos of his oratorical powers, the General's eloquent and touching address, and Governor Miffin's reply." REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, MD
- TITLE: Newspaper article, Speech of Frederick Douglass DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 20, 1870 SOURCE: Baltimore American and Commercial Daily Advertiser, May 20, 1870, page 4. Maryland State Archives Special Collections (MSA SC 4109-3-1) NOTES: Article notes the speech Frederick Douglass gave in Baltimore, MD after the signing of the 15th Amendment to the United State's Constitution. Frederick Douglass expressed his joy about "the negro now has got the three belongings of American Freedom....[and to] Educate your sons and daughters, send them to school and show that besides the cartridge box, the ballot box and the jury box you also have the knowledge box." REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, MD
- TITLE: Letter, "I love you but hate slavery", Frederick Douglass to Hugh Auld DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: October 4, 1857 SOURCE: Gilder Lehrman Collection #GLC07484.06 NOTES: Letter from Frederick Douglass of Rochester, NY to Hugh Auld of Baltimore, MD. Frederick Douglass was inquiring, among other things, about the Auld children, and to ask in what year he had come to live with the Auld family in Baltimore. Letter in the hand of Benjamin Auld, Hugh Auld's son. REPOSITORY: The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, New York, NY.
- TITLE: Poster, The Fifteenth Amendment, Celebrated May 19, 1870 DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: Color lithograph created in 1870 ARTIST: James C. Beard (1837-1913) SOURCE: 15th Amendment Collection, Maryland State Archives Special Collection (MSA SC 4291) NOTES: Poster was created to celebrate the passage of the 15th amendment to the Constitution. Original color lithograph was rendered by James C. Beard and owned by the Museum of American Political Life, Hartford, CT. Published in 1870 by Thomas Kelley Publishers, New York. Frederick Douglass is featured in the top center panel, along side Martin Delany & Hiram Revels. For more information about the poster, click here. REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, MD
Andrews, William L. ed. Critical Essays on Frederick Douglass. Boston: G.K. Hall, 1991.
Blassingame, John et al., eds. The Frederick Douglass Papers: Series One – Speeches, Debates and Interviews, vol 1. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979.
Foner, Philip Sheldon. The Life and Writings of Frederick Douglass. New York: International Publishers, 1950.
Gregory, James Monroe. Frederick Douglass the Orator: Containing an Account of His Life; His Eminent Public Services; His Brilliant Career as Orator; Selections from His Speeches and Writings. New York: Willey & Company, 1893.
McFeely, William S. Frederick Douglass. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1991.
Preston, Dickson J. Young Frederick Douglass: The Maryland Years. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980.
Quarles, Benjamin. Frederick Douglass. Washington D.C.: Associated Publishers, Inc., 1948.
Stauffer, John, Zoe Trodd, Celeste-Marie Bernier. Picturing Frederick Douglass: An Illustrated Biography of the Nineteeth Century's Most Photographed American. New York: Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2015.
Thompson, John W. An Authentic History of the Douglass Monument: Biographical Facts and Incidents in the Life of Frederick Douglass. Rochester, NY: Rochester Herald Press, 1903.
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Documents for the Classroom is a collaborative partnership of the Maryland State Archives and the Center for History Education (CHE), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and the following sponsoring school systems: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Baltimore City Public School System, Baltimore County Public Schools, and Howard County Public Schools.
Other program partners include the Martha Ross Center for Oral History, Maryland Historical Society, State Library Resource Center/Enoch Pratt Free Library, with assistance from the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress. The program is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education.
This document packet was researched, developed, and updated by Ryan Cox, 2017.
© Copyright February 01, 2021 Maryland State Archives