Although they are rarely considered in relation to each other, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Blithedale Romance (1852) and Frederick Douglass’ “The Heroic Slave” (1853) were released about six months apart by publishers located on the same block in downtown Boston. Beyond this, both works were richly interwoven into the fabric of American social, economic, political, literary, and cultural life. This exhibition, which began in a spring 2015 advanced topic English seminar, uses rare books, first editions, and periodicals from the Burns Library’s Boston Collection to explore several of these contexts. Fiction and nonfiction by Douglass and Hawthorne appear with work by such writers as Louisa May Alcott, T. S. Arthur, Lydia Maria Child, W. E. B. Du Bois, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Olaudah Equiano, Margaret Fuller, Harriet Jacobs, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Henry David Thoreau, David Walker, Booker T. Washington and Phillis Wheatley.
Curator: Paul Lewis
Associate Curator: Scott Reznick
Student Researchers: Salvatore Berger, Samantha Breen, John Carey, Shari Dryden, Felicia Figueiredo, Justin Kresevic, Natasha Lopez, Ingrid Marquardt, Adriana Olaya-Pineda, Steve Wagner, Mary Yuengert
Library Research Assistance: Brendan Rapple
Graphic Design: Hannah Basalone, Patrick Goncalves
Exhibit Design and Installation: Kevin Tringale
Conservation: Barbara Adams Hebard
Cataloging: David Richtmyer
Project Coordination and Communication: Andrew Isidoro, Maureen McVeigh, Justine Sundaram, Kathleen Williams
Sponsored by The Institute for the Liberal Arts, Boston College, and Boston College Libraries.