The only original sources of information concerning the early life of Frederick Douglass are the three autobiographies published by him at various times; and the present writer, like all others who have written of Mr. Douglass, has had to depend upon this personal record for the incidents of Mr. Douglass's life in slavery. As to the second period of his life, his public career as anti-slavery orator and agitator, the sources of information are more numerous and varied. The biographies of noted abolitionists whose lives ran from time to time in parallel lines with his make very full reference to Douglass's services in their common cause, the one giving the greatest detail being the very complete and admirable _Life and Times of William Lloyd Garrison_, by his sons, which is in effect an exhaustive history of the Garrisonian movement for abolition.
The files of the _Liberator_, Mr. Garrison's paper, which can be found in a number of the principal public libraries of the country, constitute a vast storehouse of information concerning the labors of the American Anti-slavery Society, with which Douglass was identified from 1843 to 1847, the latter being the year in which he gave up his employment as agent of the society and established his paper at Rochester. Many letters from Mr. Douglass's pen appeared in the _Liberator_ during this period.
Mr. Douglass's own memories are embraced in three separate volumes, published at wide intervals, each succeeding volume being a revision of the preceding work, with various additions and omissions.
I. _Narrative of Frederick Douglass_. Writen by himself. (Boston, 1845: The American Anti-slavery Society.) Numerous editions of this book were printed, and translations published in Germany and in France.
II. _My Bondage and My Freedom_. (New York and Auburn, 1855: Miller, Orton & Mulligan.) This second of Mr. Douglass's autobiographies has a well-written and appreciative introduction by James M'Cune Smith and an appendix containing extracts from Mr. Douglass's speeches on slavery.
III. _Recollections of the Anti-slavery Conflict_. By Samuel J. May. (Boston, 1869: Fields, Osgood & Co.) Collected papers by a veteran abolitionist; contains an appreciative sketch of Douglass.
IV. _History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America_. By Henry Wilson. 3 vols. (Boston, 1872: James R. Osgood & Co.) The author presents an admirable summary of the life and mission of Mr. Douglass.
V. _William Lloyd Garrison and His Times_. By Oliver Johnson. (Boston, 1881: Houghton, Mifflin & Co.) One of the best works on the anti-slavery agitation, by one of its most able, active and courageous promoters.
VI. _Century Magazine_, November, 1881, "My Escape from Slavery." By Frederick Douglass.
VII. _Life and Times of Frederick Douglass_. Written by himself. (Hartford, 1882: Park Publishing Company.)
VIII. _History of the Negro Race in America_. By George W. Williams. 2 vols. (New York, 1883: G. P. Putnam's Sons.) This exhaustive and scholarly work contains an estimate of Douglass's career by an Afro-American author.
IX. _The Life and Times of Wendell Phillips_. By George Lowell Austin. (Boston, 1888: Lee & Shepard.) Contains a eulogy on Wendell Phillips by Mr. Douglass.
X. _Life and Times of William Lloyd Garrison_. By his children. 4 vols. (New York, 1889: The Century Company. London: T. Fisher Unwin.) Here are many details of the public services of Mr. Douglass,--his relations to the Garrisonian abolitionists, his political views, his oratory, etc.
XI. _The Cosmopolitan_, August, 1889. "Reminiscences." By Frederick Douglass. In "The Great Agitation Series."
XII. _Frederick Douglass, the Colored Orator_. By Frederick May Holland. (New York, 1891: Funk & Wagnalls.) This volume is one of the series of "American Reformers," and with the exception of his own books is the only comprehensive life of Douglass so far published. It contains selections from many of his best speeches and a full list of his numerous publications.
XIII. _Our Day_, August, 1894. "Frederick Douglass as Orator and Reformer." By W. L. Garrison [(1838-1909), the first son and namesake of the Abolitionist leader (1805-1879)].
XIV. _The Underground Railroad_. By William H. Siebert. With an introduction by Albert Bushnell Hart. (New York, 1898: The Macmillan Company.) Contains many references to Mr. Douglass's services in aiding the escape of fugitive slaves.