Textual Introduction-Textual Notes-Emendations-Hyphenations-Collation

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Textual Introduction

Gerald Fulkerson

The Yale edition of Frederick Douglass's My Bondage and My Freedom seeks to present a carefully determined critical text that restores as fully as possible the form and content intended by its author. After searching for editions and printings of Bondage and Freedom and analyzing the discovered texts, we have chosen a copy-text that seems to preserve, to a greater extent than its alternatives, the accidentals (punctuation, word-division, spelling, capitalization, and means of emphasis) of Douglass's work. Collation of the copy-text against the other relevant texts coupled with examination of external evidence has resulted in emendation of the copy-text in both substantives (the language) and accidentals. The data and rationale that informed the emending process are accessible in a four-part textual apparatus (Textual Notes, List of Emendations, Historical Collation, and Line-End Hyphenation) that has been placed in an appendix in order to keep the main text uncluttered. We have left the text unmodernized in order to maintain the integrity of Douglass's vision of his work.

The publication history of Bondage and Freedom during Douglass's lifetime is relatively uncomplicated. The only edition relevant to our efforts to establish a critical text was first published in 1855 by the firm of Miller, Orton & Mulligan, with offices in New York City and Auburn, New York. This edition comprises three printings dated respectively 1855 (A), 1856 (B), and 1857 (C). In addition to the English-language edition, two foreign-language editions were published: a German translation by Douglass's friend Ottilie Assing appeared in Hamburg in 1860, and a French translation hy Catherine Valérie Boissier Gasparin was published in Paris in 1883.11. Douglass, Sclaverei und Freiheit: Autobiographie von Frederick Douglass; idem. Mes anneés d'esclavage et de liberté par Frédèrick Douglass, marshal de Colombie (d'après l'anglais), trans. Catherine Valérie Boissier Gasparin.

Douglass's correspondence contains evidence that after the Civil War he came close to making the publication history of Bondage and Freedom somewhat more complex. In mid-1864 Rufus Saxton, the owner of the stereotype plates from which Miller, Orton & Mulligan had printed Bontage and Freedom, asked Douglass whether he wished to purchase the plates for $150, noting that "they will bring half this sum for old metal, so they are very cheap."22. Rufus Saxton to Douglass, 6 June 1864, General Correspondence File, reel 2, frame 34, FD Papers, DLC. By this time Bondage and Freedom had been out of print for seven years and had become difficult to find, so it is possible that Douglass bought the plates with the intention of reprinting his

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work if and when the opportunity presented itself. In August 1867, for example, he informed a correspondent who wished to purchase a copy of Bondage and Freedom that he could not give "any information where it can be procured, having myself only two or three copies left."[footnote 3] Eight months later he was in contact with the Indianapolis publishing and job-printing firm of Downey and Brouse about republishing his autobiography, possibly from the used plates. On 31 March 1868, Downey and Brouse sent Douglass a contract based on an oral agreement reached during their meeting in Indianapolis a week earlier. In the accompanying letter they requested sketches of episodes in his life that they could turn into engravings as well as a "fine engraving" of himself for the frontispiece. They also expressed the opinion that "liberal and judicious advertising" would lead to "an immense sale" in the West and South. [footnote 4] Unfortunately, no correspondence survives that suggests why their apparent enthusiasm for a postwar revival of Bondage and Freedom went unrequited.

Bound exclusively in hardback and priced at $1.25, Bondage and Freedom became something of a sales phenomenon as soon as it was published in mid-August 1855. Within two days after appearing in bookstores, A's first impression of five thousand copies sold out. [footnote 5] Within a month the second impression of five thousand had been exhausted, and the third impression was selling faster than the books could be bound. In mid-September Miller, Orton & Mulligan noted in American Publisher's Circular that the twelfth thousand was ready, and orders could again be filled. "Two large editions have already been sold," said the announcement, "and the third is largely drawn upon."[footnote 6] By the time B appeared several months later, A had sold sixteen thousand copies. B comprised a run of only one thousand copies, as did C. [footnote 7] Douglass participated in the distribution of his autobiography by advertising it in Frederick Douglass' Paper,[footnote 8] offering it for sale in his office.[footnote 9] selling it during meetings on his antislavery tours, [footnote 10] and offering it as an incentive for abolitionists to recruit subscribers to his journal.[footnote 11]

Only a few intentional changes in Bondage and Freedom occur from one printing to the next. The title pages of B and C, in addition to updating the year of publication, announce above the title the cumulative number of copies printed: B's header indicates that it comprised the "Seventeenth Thousand" and C's that it comprised

3. Douglass to Gilbert A. Tracy, 12 August 1867, Gilbert Tracy Papers, NjHi. 4. Downey and Brouse to Douglass, 31 March 1868, General Correspondence File, reel 2, frames 357-58. FD Papers, DLC. 5. Auburn Daily Advertiser, n.d., quoted in FDP, 24 August 1855. 6. American Publisher's Circular and Literary Gazette, 15 September 1855. 7. See the title pages of B and C. 8. See FDP from 17 August 1855 through several months thereafter. 9. FDP, 17 August 1855. 10. Douglass to Gerrit Smith, 23 May 1856, Gerrit Smith Papers, NSyU. 11. FDP, 22 February 1856; 3 December 1858.

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the "Eighteenth Thousand." C's title page also includes an altered name for the puhlisher: "Miller, Orton & Mulligan" became "'Miller, Orton & Co." 12 The only deliberate change in the remainder of the front matter was the intraprinting deletion in A of the date (23 May 1855) of James McCune Smith's introduction. An early copy of A (A 1) includes (at the end of the introduction) the date alongside "New York" with Smith's name printed at the end of the same line. The date is missing in later copies of A as well as in B and C. In the main text only one minor substantive alteration and three alterations in accidentals were made, each of which merely corrects a mistake or oversight by a compositor. In addition to the minor textual changes, two pages containing engravings described by the publisher as "authentic illustrations exhibiting Freedom and Slavery in contrast"13 were deleted in B and C. The title page (but neither the table of contents nor the numbering of chapters) indicates that Bondage and Freedom is divided into two parts, corresponding to the two concepts in the book's title ("Part I. -- Life as a Slave, Part II. -- Life as a Freeman."). The first part, chapters one through twenty-one, carries the running head "Life as a Slave" on each verso page: to symbolize the theme. A has five engravings depicting scenes from slavery facing the title page of charter one. Charters twenty-two through twenty-five complete the scheme with "Life as a Freeman" as a running head on the verso pages and five engravings depicting the blessings of freedom on the page facing the title page of chapter twenty-two. The end matter includes two sections: (1) a fifty-seven page appendix containing extracts from seven of Douglass's antislavery lectures and the letter that he had written from England in 1848 to Thomas Auld, his former master, on the tenth anniversary of his escape from Baltimore; and (2) a set of advertisements of books published by Miller, Orton & Mulligan. In addition to making three minor spelling changes in the appendix, the publisher altered the number and content of the advertisements

12. The title pages of the three printings are nearly identical but contain a few conventional variations. The content of the 1855 title page is arrayed as follows: MY BONDAGE / AND / MY FREEDOM / Part I. -- Life as a Slave. Part II. -- Life as a Freeman. / By a principle essential to christianity, a PERSON is eternally differenced from a / THING; so that the idea of a HUMAN BEING, necessarily excludes the idea of PROPERTY / IN THAT. BEING. COLERIDGE. / NEW YORK AND AUBURN: / MILLER, ORTON & MULLIGAN. / New York: 25 Park Row.--Auburn: 107 Genesee-st. / 1855.

The 1856 title page differs from its predecessor in two respects: (1) "SEVENTEENTH THOUSAND" is added at the very top of the page with a plain bar between it and the first line of the title; and (2) 1856 is substituted for 1855 as the year of publication.

The 1857 title page alters its immediate predecessor in three ways: (1) "EIGHTEENTH THOUSAND" is substituted for "SEVENTEENTH THOUSAND" and is printed above a wavy rather than a plain bar; (2) the name of the publisher is changed from MILLER, ORTON & MULLIGAN, to MILLER, ORTON & CO.; and (3) 1857 replaces 1856 as the year of publication.

13. Norton's Literary Gazette and Publishers' Circular, 1 August 1855.

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vertisements from printing to printing: A contains four one-page advertisements; B contains five one-page advertisements (one of which cites positive critical responses for Bondage and Freedom) along with three full-page engravings; C contains four pages of book advertisements and no engravings.

The loss of much of Douglass 's incoming correspondence as well as copies of his own letters from this period in the burning of his home in Rochester, New York, in 1872 deprives us of insight into the nature of his involvement in the original publication of Bondage and Freedom and into the making of the alterations discussed above. In addition to lacking information about his relationship with his publisher, we know nothing from Douglass's own pen about his writing process. In extant correspondence, his only contemporaneous reference to the writing of the second autobiography occurs in a letter written on 18 July 1855, only about a month before Bondage and Freedom was published. He informed his mentor and financial supporter Gerrit Smith that he was "busy at work on my book. It is more of a job than at first I supposed it would be and I am beginning to be weary of it." **14** An additional reference to Douglass's writing appears in an advertisement for Miller, Orton & Mulligan, printed in Frederick Douglass' Paper a few days after Bondage and Freedom was published: the third in a list of ten reasons why the book was selling rapidly was that "Every line and letter are his own." **15**

The presence of an anonymous "Editor's Preface" in the front matter of Bondage and Freedom offers no hint regarding the nature of the collaboration between Douglass and the editor. Using one and a half pages to eulogize Douglass and to vouch for the authenticity of his description of slavery and two pages to reprint (in a smaller font) a letter from Douglass solicited by the editor, the "Editor's Preface" appears to be a contrivance designed to allow Douglass to write his own introduction indirectly. The author of the "Editor's Preface," clearly from internal evidence a friend whom Douglass had known for several years, almost certainly was Julia Griffiths. An English admirer of Douglass, Griffiths had come to Rochester in 1849 to assist him in the publication of his struggling weekly journal, then named the North Star, and had taken up residence in his home for a time. In addition to helping to edit the journal and watching over its financial health, Griffiths had worked closely with Douglass on a variety of other publishing projects during her tenure in Rochester. It would therefore have been remarkable for Douglass to have sought help with his manuscript from anyone else. Given her sway with Douglass, moreover, Julia Griffiths may have exerted considerable influence on the form and substance of Bondage and Freedom. The widespread criticism that Douglass's relationship with Griffiths had stimulated in Rochester and within the abolition movement would account for her anonymity as the preface's author. **16**

14. Douglass to Gerrit Smith, 18 July 1855, Gerrit Smith Papers. NSyU. 15. FDP, 24 August 1855. 16. See William S. McFeely, Frederick Douglass (New York, 1991), 161-72.

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Lacking manuscripts or other prepublication forms of Bondage and Freedom presumably lost in the fire that consumed Douglass's house in Rochester, we began the process of choosing a copy-text by machine collating a copy of A against copies of Band C. 17 We also closely read the same copies of the three printings in search of problems that would not be detected by collation. that is. problems originating in the first printing and remaining uncorrected in the second and third. About half of the problems we found with accidentals were discovered in the collation process and the other half through close reading. Observing that the problems with accidentals seemed to be caused more by type damage and slippage than by compositorial malfeasance. we machine collated four additional copies of A in search of llnc or more copies printed before extensive type damage and displacement had ocn1rrcd. One of the newly collated copies (AI) was found to be free of about twenty llthcrwisc ubi4uitous problems 1,vith accidentals such as missing and broken letters and punctuation marks. A I also contains four problems caused by a compositor' s m crsight and corrected in subsc4ucnt impressions of A. represented by the other lour rnllatcd rnpics of A. A2-5. As indicated by the page and line number of the Yak edition followed by the page and line number in the copy-text. later impres,1ons alter "Tuckanoc" to "Tuckahoe" (22.29/36. l ). change "were" to "where" t 153.27/269.8). add "at" to restore the phrase "not at ease" (221.26/384. 10). and ,upply the "f" in "fair" ( 223.311388 . 1 l. Despite its more accurate rendering of accidentals. A I contains about thirty problems. mostly in accidentals. that al so exi st in .-\2 - 5 as well as in Band C. A I seems to he an early exemplar of A that preceded the making of either stoppress corrections during the printing of the first impression of five thousand copies or corrections made he fore the printing of the second impression. As the text closL',t ( among those examined) to the lost final manuscript of Bondage and Freedom, ..\ I is our most rcliahlc record of the accidentals intended by Douglass and has therefore hccn chosen as the copy-text of the Yale edition. A I can be identified only 111 terms of 1,ariants that distinguish it from A2-5 . We thus define the copy-text as the text in a copy of the I 855 printing with 'Tuckanoe" at 22.29/36. 1. "thick" at ~2 .35172.3. "were" at I 53.271269.8. "not at ease" at 221.26/384.10. "Cunningham" at 222.3/385.1. and "air" at 223 .311388.1. 17 . .-\II mad11nc collat1n[! wa, pcrformcJ tn Pmk"or !'socl Polk nf the Llni,er,ity of Southern \11 " 1,,ippi .

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