Carte-de-visite of a young woman and two children. The woman is pictured seated in the center of the image, flanked by two young girls standing next to her. The woman is wearing a long, dot-patterned dress with bow at the collar. Her proper right arm is around the shoulders of the youngest girl, who stands with her proper left hand on the woman's knee, gripping her the fabric of her dress. The girl on the right is wearing a dark, gingham long-sleeved dress and heavy black shoes with her hair plaited back. The younger girl on the left is wearing a plaid long-sleeved dress, visible white petticoat, white socks, and black shoes, her hair also plaited. On the back of the photograph is the photographer’s stamp with and image of the United States Capitol building at center. The stamp reads “ALEX. GARDNER./ Photographer to the Army of the Potomac / GALLERIES / 511 Seventh Street and 332 Pennsylvania Av. / Published by / Philp & Solomons, / Washington, D.C.” Below the photographer’s stamp is a 2 cent George Washington stamp surrounded with an ornate border.
Enslaved African Americans, leased out by their slave owners, mined sandstone from local quarries and built the United States Capitol, the White House, and the Smithsonian Castle. Congress, the institution that guarded the peoples’ freedom, held sessions in a building constructed by forced labor, and the legislators would have witnessed lines of shackled slaves marching by daily en route to the Deep South. The block was quarried near Aquia Creek, Virginia, by free and enslaved workers and used in the construction of the Capitol building in 1824.
Source: Nancy Bercaw, Curator, Slavery and Freedom
A rectangular block of sandstone. One short side of the block has a smooth, finished surface. The other five sides are rough-hewn and pitted, showing evidence of quarry tool markings, softened by weathering. One of the long sides has mechanical tool markings across the surface, forming a cross-hatch pattern. The block predominantly is beige, with reddish-brown veins of color running lengthwise. The smooth side shows most clearly the variegation of reddish-brown strata. There is a loss at the lower-left corner of the smooth side.
This book is a first edition, seventeenth thousand printing copy of “Twelve Years A Slave Narrative of Solomon Northup, A Citizen of New York, Kidnapped in Washington City in 1841, and Rescued in 1853, and Rescued in 1853, From a Common Plantation Near the Red River, in Louisiana." The book has a brown cloth binding. The exterior spine is embossed with two lines running across the top and bottom of the spine. The title of the book has been embossed in gilt lettering [TWELVE/YEARS/A/SLAVE] across the top third of the spine and is surrounded by engraved flourishes. The name of the publishers [DARBY & MILLER] is embossed in gilt across the bottom of the spine. The front and back cover boards have been embossed with identical designs: two flourishes within two rectangles. The book has yellow end papers, a dedication to Harriet Beecher Stowe, a quote by Cowpee, an editor’s preface, twenty-two chapters and an appendix. The frontispiece is a portrait of Solomon Northup seated on a bench with his arms crossed. A facsimile of his signature is below the picture with a caption that reads, “IN HIS PLANTATION SUIT.” Three hundred and thirty-six pages with seven black and white plates.