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a tremendous run of The National Era, a leading abolitionist newspaper edited by Whittier

(SLAVERY). The National Era. Vols. I-III

Washington, January 1847 – December 1849

Large folio (19 x 26 in.). Three volumes bound in one. Weekly, lacking scattered issues (inquire for details). Old marbled boards, cloth back, binding very worn with loss and separation. First few issues with long tears and some loss, some stains and tears, but overall in good condition. A rare survival.

This is a tremendous three-year run of the weekly broadsheet The National Era, one of the leading abolitionist newspapers. Poet and abolitionist John Greenleaf Whittier, who is credited as corresponding editor on the masthead, contributed dozens of pieces to this run of The National Era. Other contributors include Theodore Dwight, Robert Dale Owen, and other leading abolitionists and reformers. An early issue in the run contains Whittier’s “The Slave Orator,” calling a speech by Frederick Douglass “A noble refutation of the charge of natural inferiority urged against the colored man.”

This imposing run of The National Era captures the white-hot debate surrounding slavery that would lead to the Civil War. Original contributions to the Era, letters from correspondents around the country, national and state legislation, and news articles report on every aspect of slavery and the abolition movement

Subjects include the economics of slavery, the treatment of slaves, fugitive slaves, slave catchers, the slave trade, colonization, free vs. slave labor, developments in the abolition movement, violence directed against abolitionists, antislavery speeches and legislation, the Constitution, fugitive slave law, the history of slavery, abolition in the West Indies, the Wilmot Proviso, the extension of slavery into the West, antislavery poetry, the politics of abolition, and so on. Reports from the field include many heart-rending accounts of the treatment of slaves and of the negative economic and moral impact of slavery on white southerners themselves.

Non-abolition articles include extensive excerpts from Herman Melville’s newly published Omoo, and a very long letter to the Era from a physician praising Elizabeth Blackwell, who in 1849 became the first American woman to receive a medical degree.

Runs of the great anti-slavery newspapers are rare in the market.