Mar 21, 2024 - Sale 2663

Sale 2663 - Lot 9

Estimate: $ 1,500 - $ 2,500
(ABOLITION.) The Liberty Bell, by Friends of Freedom. Engraved frontispiece by Patrick Reason, and other illustrations. viii, 104 pages. Small 8vo, publisher's glazed paper-covered boards, worn, lacking backstrip, joints split; foxing, frontispiece slightly cropped; partial early inscription from Hopkinton, MA on front pastedown. Boston: American Anti-Slavery Society, 1839

Additional Details

The first of 15 annual literary compilations which were published to raise money for the anti-slavery cause from 1839 to 1853. This first volume was edited by Maria Weston Chapman of the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society. It contains four pieces by Lydia Maria Child, and contributions by William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips, and others.

The frontispiece by noted Black engraver Patrick Reason shows Lady Liberty holding a Bible high above her head, light radiating from behind her. At her feet there are two distinct scenes; one of Africans being taken captive, and the other a group of slaves in chains on a plantation. Above the engraving is the motto "Truth Shall Make You Free." Another large vignette engraving appears at page 69, commemorating the martyrdom of abolitionist publisher Elijah Lovejoy, killed by a mob while defending his press in 1837.

This is an alternate issue (priority undetermined), with imprint as "American Anti-Slavery Society, 25 Cornhill. 1839" rather than "For the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Fair, MDCCCXXXIX"; and frontispiece printed vertically without Patrick Reason credit line. Others were published for the National Anti-Slavery Bazaar. Afro-Americana 5870; Sabin 40942 (both describing the other issue); Shaw & Shoemaker 56830 (noting all three imprints).