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Frederick Douglass materials donated to RMSC

Messenger Post Media
Monroe County Post

The Rochester Museum & Science Center recently acquired an archival collection of Frederick Douglass materials. 

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., who was a direct descendant of Douglass. It contains photographs, pamphlets, newspaper clippings, a scrapbook, one film reel, correspondence, documents, newspaper clippings and books on African American history, and books by and about Douglass.

Scott was Douglass’ great-great grandson. He collected these objects with his aunt, Anne Weaver Teabeau, who served as the custodian of this Douglass memorabilia and property. Teabeau’s grandmother was Rosetta Douglass Sprague, making her Douglass’ great-granddaughter.

“My husband was invested in preserving and making available to the general public his library collection and Frederick Douglass memorabilia,” said Justine Scott, who facilitated the donation. “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.

The collection includes a framed photograph of Douglass with a letter from him; a life insurance certificate for Douglass; pamphlets on Cedar Hill; a book of 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, and a signed copy of her paper “My Mother as I Recall Her”; the death announcement for Douglass, published on Feb. 20-21, 1895; and a signed copy of John Blassingame’s “The Slave Community: Plantation Life in the Antebellum South.”

The collection will give researchers insights not only into the life and work of Douglass, but also that of other Douglass family members, including the work of Anna Murray Douglass and Rosetta Douglass Sprague. It also 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,” said Stephanie Ball, archivist and librarian. “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.” 

The RMSC Research Library has limited hours that differ from regular museum hours. To view the new collection, email sball@rmsc.org to make an appointment.

Stock photo.