Mar 25, 2021 - Sale 2562

Sale 2562 - Lot 13

Price Realized: $ 688
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,000 - $ 1,500
(SLAVERY AND ABOLITION.) Stereoview of the infamous slave pen of "Price, Birch & Co., Dealers in Slaves." Pair of albumen photographs, 3 x 3 inches, on original 4 x 7-inch printed mount; minor wear, 2 very faint vertical creases, "No. 139" in ink on mount recto. Hartford, CT: Taylor & Huntington, circa 1890s (printed from a circa 1864 negative)

Additional Details

This stereoview depicts 1315 Duke Street in Alexandria, VA, which in 1828 became Franklin & Armfield, one of the largest slave-trading firms in the United States. Many thousands of enslaved people passed through these doors en route from Virginia to New Orleans and the booming cotton fields of the deep south. In 1858, the business was taken over by "Price, Birch & Co., Dealers in Slaves." James H. Birch, one of the partners, was a veteran Washington slave trader who had played a central role in the horrific kidnapping of Solomon Northrup (Twelve Years a Slave) but was never convicted. The business was evacuated shortly before Union troops took possession of Alexandria in 1861. Today the building is home to the Freedom House Museum.

We don't know who took this iconic photograph of the Price, Birch & Co. storefront, but the presence of several Black troops posed in front would suggest the closing years of the war. The extensive text on verso states that "more than a quarter of a century has passed away" since the conclusion of the war.