Narrative of Sojourner Truth; A Bondswoman of Olden Time...[as dictated to and transcribed by Olive Gilbert], [Preface by William Garrison]; with a History of Her Labors and Correspondence, Drawn from Her “Book of Life” " class="author">Truth, Sojourner.

Boston: Published for the Author 1875. Third edition, expanded by the addition of “The Book of Life,” pp. 129-320, which consists of a history of her labors, correspondence, newspaper articles and autographs taken from Truth’s personal collection and does not appear in the first Frontisportait of Sojourner Truth with tissue guard; reproductions of the autographs of persons who “befriended Sojourner Truth by words of sympathy and material aid,” including Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Lydia Maria Child, and Lucretia Mott. Spine and edges of cloth slightly toned, else a fine copy. No copies are currently on the market. Original brown cloth, front cover ruled in blind with a central gilt portrait of Sojourner Truth, portrait stamped in blind on rear cover, gilt spine. Octavo. 320 pp. (Item ID: 16619)


Sojourner Truth (née Isabella Baumfree, 1797-1883) was a woman born into slavery in Ulster County, New York. During her early years, she spoke only Dutch. She escaped to freedom in 1826 and fought a legal battle for the freedom of her son, in which she became the first black woman to win a case against a white man. In the 1850s, she was a gospel singer and abolitionist preacher, attracting huge audiences. Truth’s best known speech “Ain’t I A Woman?” was delivered in 1851 at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention in Akron. Her Narrative is characterized by her fervid commitment to abolishing racism and sexism. During the Civil War, Truth helped to recruit black troops for the Union Army and, at the war’s end, was unsuccessful in her attempts to secure land grants from the federal government for former slaves. (The Feminist Companion to Literature in English, p. 1098).

Titus notes in “The Book of Life” that “ effort has been spared to furnish correct dates” (p. 131). However, she was more focused on contributing to the mythology of Sojourner Truth than in accuracy, as she incorrectly gives the dates of Truth’s emancipation and adds more than twenty years to Truth’s age in order to legitimize sensationalistic claims, among them that Truth nursed George Washington (p. 224) while emphasizing her connections with some of the nineteenth century’s most important people (See the University of North Carolina website, Documenting the American South).

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