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About the Douglass Papers Project

The Frederick Douglass Papers' objective is the collection, editing, and publication of the voluminous papers of Frederick Douglass, one of the foremost reformers of the nineteenth century. To be published in fourteen volumes in four different series, the project encompasses letters to and from Douglass, his speeches, debates, interviews, autobiographical writings, editorials, and other published essays. The documents focus on slavery, abolition, women's rights, temperance, politics, international relations, and African American life and culture. The five-volume series of Douglass's speeches, debates, and interviews, have been published to date. The first volume of the autobiographical writings series of the project, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, was published by Yale University Press in spring 1999. Editorial work currently is underway on both the correspondence series and the second volume of the autobiographical writings series, My Bondage and My Freedom. The project was begun by Professor John W. Blassingame and operated under his direction at Yale University from 1973-93. John R. McKivigan became the principal investigator of the project in 1994 and moved the project first to West Virginia University and finally to Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis in 1998. Sponsorship and financial support for the project has come from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the various universities that have hosted the project.

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