Jacobs, Harriet Brent. Letter to Amy Kirby Post.


Handwritten letter from Harriet Brent Jacobs to Amy Kirby Post, n.d. Jacobs describes the impact she hopes her slave narrative will have on the abolitionist movement.


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(Page 1)

               June 21st
My Dear Friend
                A heart full
of thanks for your kind
and welcome- letter which
would have been answered
immediately- but for want
of time to think a moment.
I would dearly love to
talk with you as it would
be more satisfactory- but
as I cannot I will try
   to explain myself on paper
as well as I can --
I have My dear friend-
[obliterated] Striven faithfully to give
a true and just account
of my own life in slavry- [sic]
God knows I have tried
to do it in a Christian
spirit- there are somethings [sic]
that I might have made
plainer I know- woman

(Page 2)

can whisper- her cruel
wrongs into the ear of
a very dear friend- much
easier than she can record
them for the world to
read--- I have left nothing
out but what I thought-
the world might believe
that a Slave Woman ^was^ too
willing to pour out- that
she might ^gain^ their sympathies
I ask nothing- I have placed
myself before you to be
judged as a woman [obliterated] ^whether^
I deserve your pity or con
tempt. I have another object
in view- it is to come to
you just as I am a poor
slave Mother- not to tell
you what I have heard
but what I have seen-
and what I have suffered-
and if there is any sym

(Page 3)

   pathy to give- let it be
given to the thousands-
of of [sic] Slave Mothers that
are still in bondage-
suffering far more than
I have- let it plead for
their helpless Children
that they ^[obliterated]^ may enjoy the
same liberties that my
Children now enjoy --
Say anything of me that
you have had from a
truthful source that you
think best-- ask me any
question you like-
in regard to the father
of my Children I think
I have stated all per
haps I did not tell you-
that he was a member
of Congress-- at that time
all that of this I have wri
ten [sic]- I think it would

(Page 4)

be best for you to
begin with our acquaint
ance and the length of
time that I was in your
family you advice [sic] about
about giving the history
of my life in Slavry [sic]
mention that I lived
at service ^all the^ while that I
was striving to get the
Book out but do not say
with whom I lived as I
would not use the Willis
name neither would I
like to have people think
that I was living an Idle
life- and had got this book
out merely to make money-
my kind friend I do not
restrict you in anything
for you know far better
than I do what to say I
am only too happy to think
that I am going to have it from

(Page 5)

  I hope you will be
able to read my unconnected scrool [sic]- I have been
interrupted and called
away so often- that I
hardly know what
I have written but I must
send it for fear the op
portunity will not come
to morrow- [sic] to do better-
Proffessor [sic] Botta and Lady
with Ole Bull eldest
^son^ is here- on a visit from
the City-  beside three other
persons that we have had
in to spend the day- and
Baby is just 4weeks old
this morning- houskeping [sic]
and looking after the
Children- occupy every
moment of my time we
have in all five Chil
dren- three Girls- and two
boys. Imogen is at home

(Page 6)

^2^ for the Summer Louisa
came up and spent a
week- with me she desired
much love to you- she is
not well but looking
miserably thin-
I have been thinking that
I would so like to go away
and sell my Book- I could
then secure a copywright- [sic]
to sell it both here and
in England- and by iden
tifying myself with- it I
might do something for the
Antislavry [sic] Cause- to do this
I would have to have of ^get^
^letters of^ introduction. from some
of the leading Abolitionist
of this Country to those of the Old-
when you write tell me what
you think of it I must stop
for I am in the only spot where
I can have a light- and the
mosquitoes have taken posses
sion of me- much love to
all my friends- and Willie-
and believe me ever yours


Harriet Brent Jacobs, a former slave and abolitionist, is writing to Amy Post, a close friend and benefactor. Cornelia Grinnell Willis and Nathaniel Parker Willis paid for Jacobs's freedom from slavery and employed her for a period. Vincenzo Botta was an Italian-born literature professor. His wife, Anne Charlotte Lynch Botta was a writer and teacher, and good friends with Cornelia Grinnell Willis. Alexander Bull or "Ole Bull", a Norwegian concert violinist, was very close to Botta. Imogen was one of the Willis's daughters. Louisa was Jacobs's daughter. Willie was Post's youngest son.

About the Original Item

Jacobs, Harriet A. (Harriet Ann), 1813-1897
Post, Amy Kirby, b. 1802
Internal Identifier
Post, Amy Kirby, b. 1802
Jacobs, Harriet A. (Harriet Ann), 1813-1897
Slave narratives--United States--History--19th century
Rochester (New York)
Letters (Correspondence)
Post Collection
Item Type:
Jacobs, Harriet A. (Harriet Ann), 1813-1897, “Jacobs, Harriet Brent. Letter to Amy Kirby Post.,” Post Family Papers Project, accessed October 20, 2017, https://rbsc.library.rochester.edu/items/show/442.