New York: Am. & For. Anti-Slavery Society, 1850. First edition. Original printed wraps stitched at spine. Front wrap featuring an image of imprisoned slave Fanny Jackson, her children and husband; rear wrap featuring other political pamphlets and tracts by the publisher. 48 pages. Scattered foxing to wraps; some turning to outer corners. Internally clean. A rare and striking volume of the Liberty Almanac, the 1850 issue appears at only one institution according to OCLC.
While 13 pages of the Liberty Almanac are dedicated to predicting tides and sunrises throughout 1850, the remaining 35 pages are focused on abolition and emancipation. The heartbreaking illustration on the front wrap links to the Almanac's strategic first article "Scene in the Jail at Washington," in which the Reverend A. A. Phelps visits a Washington City jail and the enslaved inhabitants following their captures and impending returns to slaveholders. Both the illustration and story emphasize how imprisonment practices affect families -- urging readers to see the very human agony experienced by women like Fanny Jackson and Rachel Turner. Women like these, "every one of whom claimed they were entitled to their freedom," were locked away with their little children, some so small they were still nursing infants, and separated from their husbands. Some, being sold from male slaveholder to male slaveholder, the implied victims of sexual violence. At a time when Victorian notions of family and femininity were heavily influencing American life, the Almanac strategically seeks to show how black women are denied that same natural dignity as a result of slavery. This emotional appeal is followed by a series of legal and ethical arguments under the article title "Why Discuss the Slave Question?" Here, members of the Liberty Party outline how slavery in the U.S. undermines Constitutional and legal values; how it violates national goals of economics and education; and how it denies humanity to a significant sector of the population. (Item #2791)