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Up | Original Slave Illustration | Tortured Slave | Buffalo Soldier | Original Civil War Slave Census | Slaves | Plantation Slaves

Slave Family

Slave Family

Slave Family

You are viewing an original 1861 portrait of a Slave Family.  It is from an original 1861 edition of Harper's Weekly, the most popular illustrated newspaper of the day.  Note that this is not a reprint, and I absolutely guarantee its authenticity.  This leaf is over 130 years old, and the date is clearly marked on the front of the print. On the day this leaf was printed, Abraham Lincoln was president of the United States, and men and women were held captive across this country in the bondage of slavery.

This is a rare and highly collectible illustration.  In the upper left corner of the leaf is a portrait of a slave family- Venus and Napoleon.  Venus is pictured over a wash tub washing clothes, and Napoleon is shown with his foot on a ladder, smoking a corn cob pipe.  The slaves are pictured discussing 'rumors of war' concerning the Civil War, which was about to begin.  The conversation is captured below the portrait, which I will present below.  Understand that the conversation was written to capture the dialect used by the slaves:

Venus: You say dey's fiten', Poleon. 
Napoleon: Yes, Marster say dey is, 'cause dey can't get no Coppermise.
Whar de get dat? 
Napoleon: In de Norf, I bl'ieve.
Venus: Well, my Lor! sooner en' to fite, dey better git de Coppermise, ef it cos' a Hundred Dollar; de ting of Brudderin' fitin' is agin de Scriptur.


WOW- what a rare an historical piece.  Imagine actually owning an original portrait of a slave family, printed within days of the opening of the Civil War, with the Slaves discussing the upcoming war.  It simply does not get more collectible than this. The leaf will make a wonderful display, and will be cherished for generations to come. Original period  material with significant slave content is becoming very difficult to find, and this is a very special piece.

Unlike newsprint of this century, these older, original pages do not yellow and fall apart. The reason is that modern newspapers use an acid based process. Remnant acid in the paper causes the paper to quickly yellow and deteriorate. A different process was used in the mid-1800's which yielded an exceptional quality paper that will last for centuries.Special acid free mats should be used when you frame this piece to ensure that it will last another 150 years. Acid free mats are available at most better frame shops. If you have any questions related to handling or framing this piece feel free to email me. The print is approximately 10 3/4 X 16 inches. I have been collecting Civil War Newspapers for over 15 years. It is a fascinating hobby, and I find that these pieces really get noticed when framed and displayed.

The leaf is in excellent condition. It has the rich sepia tone that you expect in original material from this period. It has light foxing in the margins, and has moderate finger smudging from folks handling the print over the last 140 years.  It is highly displayable, and I guarantee your satisfaction! 




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