This Photo of Harriet Tubman Was Lost for Close to a Century

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      Judi Lynn
      • Total Posts: 5,073


      MARCH 6, 2018

      More than a century after Harriet Tubman died in March of 1913, the Library of Congress announced on Tuesday that it has conserved and digitized a previously unrecorded portrait of the “conductor” of the Underground Railroad, the secret network that helped fugitive slaves in the South get to freedom in the North.

      Catalogers believe that the photograph was taken between 1867 and 1869, when she lived in Auburn, N.Y., where Tubman — who had herself escaped from bondage in 1849 — took care of fugitive slaves in their old age.

      . . .

      The fact that she’s seated in a parlor chair sporting a lace collar and elegant bodice reflects a deliberate way she carried herself at the time. As TIME has previously reported, she often donned lace and fine clothes, believing that if she dressed respectably, then people would treat African Americans with respect. She particularly prized a lace shawl that Queen Victoria had given her in 1897.

      This new portrait of Tubman was part of an album of 48 rare photographs previously owned by Emily Howland, a Quaker schoolteacher and abolitionist who lived 20 minutes south from Tubman in Sherwood, N.Y. Howland died in 1929.



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