RMSC receives Frederick Douglass collection

RMSC receives Frederick Douglass collection

The Rochester Museum & Science Center has acquired a new archival collection of Frederick Douglass materials including photos, pamphlets and more. The new collection, titled “The Anne Weaver Teabeau and Roland B. Scott Jr. Collection on Frederick Douglass,” was donated to the museum by the estate of Roland Scott Jr., Douglass’ great-great-grandson.

“My husband, Roland B. Scott Jr., was invested in preserving and making available to the general public his library collection and Frederick Douglass memorabilia,” said Justine Scott, who facilitated gifting the collection to the RMSC. “After a family visit to the Rochester Museum & Science Center to view their display of the Underground Railroad and Frederick Douglass, he was inspired to donate his collection to the museum. It is hoped that this donation builds on a better understanding and appreciation of the role and contributions made by African Americans and Frederick Douglass to American life.”

Some unique objects included in the collection include:
• A framed photograph of Douglass with a letter from him
• A life insurance certificate for Douglass
• Pamphlets on Cedar Hill
• A book of Frederick Douglass Stamps and related materials
• A framed photograph of Rosetta Douglass Sprague, currently on display in “The Changemakers: Rochester Women Who Changed the World” exhibit
• A signed copy of “My Mother As I Recall Her,” written by Rosetta Douglass Sprague
• The death announcement for Frederick Douglass, published on Feb. 20-21, 1895
• A signed copy of John Blassingame’s “The Slave Community: Plantation Life in the Antebellum South”

Accepting the donation into the collections at the RMSC Museum is significant because of the collection’s focus on the Douglass family, which provides a more holistic view of Frederick Douglass beyond his life as a public figure, officials said. The collection will give researchers insights into the life and work of Douglass as well as that of other prominent Douglass family members, including the work of Anna Murray Douglass and Rosetta Douglass Sprague. In addition, it fills a gap in the RMSC library resources on general African American history.

“We are very excited to accept this historically significant gift into the collections at the RMSC. By preserving this collection and giving the general public access to the materials, we can further tell the story of Frederick Douglass and his family,” said Stephanie Ball, RMSC archivist and librarian.

The RMSC Research Library has limited hours which differ from regular Museum hours, and access to the library is by appointment only.

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