Born into slavery, Dora Stephens worked for years under Alexander H. Stephens, a Georgia politician who became the vice president of the Confederate States of America. Despite A.H. Stephens’ ardent support for institutional slavery, he maintained warm and friendly relationships with his slaves. Writing in a March 1882 letter to Dora Stephens, the former vice president expressed concern and empathy: “… Am glad to know that Genie & John Taylor are at school… Kind regards to your mother… My secretary sent you a post office order for $5 from Alex Kent on Saturday.” This letter, along with 18 other documents, will be available in Swann Auction Galleries’ upcoming Printed and Manuscript African Americana sale. Photographs of the vice president, personal letters between Dora Stephens and her family members, and several tintype portraits are included in this lot.
Another featured item in the auction is an anti-slavery broadside from 1794. Distributed by early abolitionist Tobias Harte to German-speakers in Pennsylvania, the document includes 12 woodcuts depicting the reality of slavery. This early work follows the tradition of showing disturbing images of slavery in the North, a key facet of the abolitionist movement. The translated text of the broadside details “How Slaves are Obtained, and their Treatment in the West Indies.”
More than 60 years later, opponents to slavery again used graphic images to support their cause. A photograph of former slave Peter Gordon’s scarred and disfigured back ran in an 1863 issue of Harper’s Weekly, becoming a well-recognized image of the anti-slavery cause. Also available in this auction is a selection of metal signs, photography from the civil rights movement, and books. Browse the full catalog and register to bid on the Swann Auction Galleries website.
Lot Categories:Collectibles (278)
# of Lots:402
Price Range:$300 - $35,000.
Interesting lots include:
|Item Image||Item Name||Estimate|
|(FAMILY PAPERS.) Papers of two parallel Stephens families: the Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens and his servants.|| Estimate: |
|(SLAVERY AND ABOLITION.) A rare early illustrated German-American anti-slavery broadside titled Sclaven-Handel.|| Estimate: |
|(SLAVERY AND ABOLITION.) Burnett, C.A. $250 Reward! Ranaway from the Subscriber, 3 Negro Girls.|| Estimate: |
|(KING, MARTIN LUTHER.) [Withers, Ernest; photographer.] I Am A Man, Sanitation Workers Strike.|| Estimate: |
|(SLAVERY AND ABOLITION.) [McPherson & Oliver; photographers.] The Scourged Back.|| Estimate: |
|(CIVIL RIGHTS--SEGREGATION.) Colored Waiting Room.|| Estimate: |