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Atkins Rare Book Used to Create Smithsonian Exhibit

A reproduction of an early portrait of abolitionist Frederick Douglass
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Frederick Douglass image displayed at Museum of African American History

A reproduction of an early portrait of abolitionist Frederick Douglass on permanent display in the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture is derived from a rare book at J. Murrey Atkins Library. The exhibit features the portrait of Douglass reproduced in Atkins Library's state-of-the-art digital reproduction lab from the frontispiece of the Library's rare 1845 copy of Douglass's seminal autobiography, "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave." 

The Library's copy of this book, which is available for all to see and study in the Dalton Special Collections Reading Room on the 10th floor of Atkins Library, is used frequently by students in many courses across the humanities curriculum, including many in Africana Studies, History, and English.

Due to its high use, the book requires the services of a professional conservator in order to preserve it for continued use by generations of students to come. Atkins Library Special Collections is kicking off a campaign to raise $20,000 towards conservation projects such as this for the many priceless and unique books, manuscripts, and maps in our collections. Donations of any amount are welcome. Those interested may contact Judy Lekoski, Office of University Development, 704-687-0084.