Portraits & Illustrations of Individuals

  • Untitled Image (Portraits from the Central Savanna)

    This engraving shows hair styles, headdresses and facial scarification patterns of seven people. The captions under each person read: Native of Kasuna in Soudan (top); Negress of Jacoba [Yacoba] (center left); Negresse of Nyffee (center right); Umbuum of South Kano (lower left); Goobar and Zamfra (lower right). All located in the Central Savanna region. This engraving is based on sketches by Dixon Denham (1786–1828), who was an English soldier and explorer. After serving in the Napoleonic Wars, Denham volunteered in 1821 to join Walter Oudney and Hugh Clapperton on an official expedition across the Sahara from Tripoli to in the Lake Chad basin of the Central Savanna region. After enduring danger and privation, they arrived at Kuka, the capital of Bornu, in 1823. While Clapperton and Oudney set out on a journey westward, Denham traveled the shores of Lake Chad and the lower courses of the Waubé, Chari and Logone rivers. After returning to England in 1825, Denham became the superintendent of Liberated Africans in Freetown in 1827, and the year after, he became governor of Sierra Leone.
  • Black Creoles, Brazil, 1830s

    Four facial views. For an analysis of Rugendas' drawings, as these were informed by his anti-slavery views, see Robert W. Slenes, African Abrahams, Lucretias and Men of Sorrows: Allegory and Allusion in the Brazilian Anti-slavery Lithographs (1827-1835) of Johann Moritz Rugendas (Slavery & Abolition, vol. 23 [2002], pp. 147-168).
  • Brazilian Slaves from Central Africa, 1830s

    Clockwise from top left: Benguela, Angola, Congo, Monjolo; woman on lower right displays body cicatrization. For an analysis of Rugendas' drawings, as these were informed by his anti-slavery views, see Robert W. Slenes, African Abrahams, Lucretias and Men of Sorrows: Allegory and Allusion in the Brazilian Anti-slavery Lithographs (1827-1835) of Johann Moritz Rugendas (Slavery & Abolition, vol. 23 [2002], pp. 147-168).
  • Brazilian Slaves from Mozambique, 1830s

    Shows facial scarification and designs. For an analysis of Rugendas' drawings, as these were informed by his anti-slavery views, see Robert W. Slenes, African Abrahams, Lucretias and Men of Sorrows: Allegory and Allusion in the Brazilian Anti-slavery Lithographs (1827-1835) of Johann Moritz Rugendas (Slavery & Abolition, vol. 23 [2002], pp. 147-168).
  • African-Born Slaves, Brazil, 1830s

    Four Africans representing different areas, showing facial and body decorations; clockwise from top left: cabinda, quiloa, rebolla, mina. For an analysis of Rugendas' drawings, as these were informed by his anti-slavery views, see Robert W. Slenes, African Abrahams, Lucretias and Men of Sorrows: Allegory and Allusion in the Brazilian Anti-slavery Lithographs (1827-1835) of Johann Moritz Rugendas (Slavery & Abolition, vol. 23 [2002], pp. 147-168).
  • Slaves from Central Africa, Brazil, 1830s

    Men and women from Benguela and Congo. For an analysis of Rugendas' drawings, as these were informed by his anti-slavery views, see Robert W. Slenes, African Abrahams, Lucretias and Men of Sorrows: Allegory and Allusion in the Brazilian Anti-slavery Lithographs (1827-1835) of Johann Moritz Rugendas (Slavery & Abolition, vol. 23 [2002], pp. 147-168).
  • William Ansah [Unsah] Sessarakoo, 1750

    Enlargement of portrait published in 1750 Gentleman's Magazine. See also image reference gentmag and I028 on this website.
  • Druella Jones or Aunt Jonas, Alabama, 1915

    Photograph of ex-slave Jones at the age of 94. She and two others were the only old slaves I found who were not loyal to their owners. During the [civil] war she tried to burn her master's house (Matthews).
  • Aunt Lucy, Hermitage Plantation, Alabama, 1915

    Born a slave, Lucy was the oldest of the former slaves at Hermitage plantation, being nearly one hundred (Matthews).
  • Jim Lawson (Uncle Jim), Windsor Plantation, Alabama, 1915

    Born a slave in Maryland, Jim Lawson was taken to Alabama 20 years before the Civil War and placed on Windsor plantation, where he was still living and working at the time of this photograph.
  • Murriah Flood, Alabama, 1915

    Born a slave at Faunsdale plantation, Flood went to Washington with her husband after the Civil War, but returned to Faunsdale and is now the nurse to her former mistress's great-grandchildren (Matthews).
  • Aunt Phebe Collins, Windsor Plantation, Alabama, 1915

    Born a slave on a rice plantation not far from the coast in South Carolina, her dress and general appearance are typical of that part of the state ; see Matthews for biographical and other details on women who come from the same area as Phebe Collins.
  • Christian Protten, ca. 1737

    Detail of oil painting (courtesy of Jon Sensbach), held by the Moravian Archives (Unity Archives [Archiv der Bruder-Unitat]), Herrnhut, Germany.) Born on the Gold Coast of a Danish father and African mother, Protten was educated in Denmark and joined the Moravian church in 1735; he returned to the Gold Coast as a preacher for the next few decades. For details, see Jon Sensbach, A Separate Canaan (Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1998), pp. 39-40, and Rebecca's Revival (Harvard Univ. Press, 2005), passim; see also image reference Sensbach4.
  • Cornelius, Danish Virgin Islands, mid-18th century

    Detail of oil painting (courtesy of Jon Sensbach) held by the Moravian Archives (Unity Archives [Archiv der Bruder-Unitat]), Herrnhut, Germany). Cornelius was born in the Danish Virgin Islands of African parents. He ultimately became a Moravian and a prominent elder
  • Maria, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, ca. 1742

    Detail of oil painting (courtesy of Jon Sensbach), held by the Moravian Archives (Unity Archives [Archiv der Bruder-Unitat]), Herrnhut, Germany). Titled by the artist Maria, die Mohrin von Sanct Thomas
  • Toussaint Louverture, Saint Domingue (Haiti)

    Caption, Louverture Capitan de Guardias de Biasou y despues General en Gefe de la Ysla de S[an] to Domino, fue arrestado y lleva do a francia (Louverture Captain of the Guards of [Georges] Biasou and later General-in-Chief of the island of Saint Dominque, was arrested and taken to France). This image appears to have been derived from a finer/clearer one published in 1802 by Symonds in London and captioned Toussaint Louverture. Chief of the French Rebels in St. Domingo. No eye-witness portraits of Toussaint are known to exist. See other images of Toussaint on this website.
  • Toussaint Louverture, Saint Domingue (Haiti), 1802

    The author of this work was a French writer on historical subjects. This image of Toussaint, produced by the publisher, is one of the earliest; however, no eye-witness portraits of Toussaint are known to exist. See other images of Toussaint on this website.
  • John Gordon, Antigua (British West indies), 1820s

    Based on a real life sketch, this portrait of John Gordon, a free person of colour who claimed to be the only barber in town for gentlemen. The author identifies himself in Vol. 2 (p. 385). He lived in the West Indies during the 1820s. Gordon is described at length in vol. 2, pp. 161-168, the author commenting that Gordon had a knack for determining international news based on the movements of ships and officials. His knowledge and cleverness made him a valuable resource to all the residents of the island, from the poorest laborers and slaves to top government officials. Gordon had died by time Wentworth's book was published.
  • Toussaint Louverture, Saint Domingue (St. Domingue, Haiti), 1800

    A separately published engraving, hand colored, showing Toussaint astride a horse, in full unform and wielding a sword. One of a number of images of the dominant figure of the celebrated slave revolt in St. Domingue; there are no known eye-witness portraits of him. See also other images of Toussaint on this website.
  • A French General and a Black Officer (Toussaint Louverture?), Saint Domingue ( Haiti), 1806

    Caption, El cuidad[a]no. Heudoville habla al mentor delos Negros sobre las malas resultas de su revelion (Citizen Heudoville speaks to the leader of the Negros about the bad results of his rebellion). This illustration is a portrait of General Thomas Heudoville, with a black man in an officer's uniform, probably meant to be Toussaint Louverture. (No known eye-witness portraits of Toussaint exist; see other images of Toussaint on this website.) Heudoville was sent by the French revolutionary government as its agent in St. Domingue. He arrived in March 1798. Charged with taking control of the colony, he came into conflict with Toussaint who suspected him of being sympathetic to pro-slavery forces in France. Toussaint isolated the general who was expelled from the colony; before leaving, however, he was able to encourage Toussaint's chief rival, Rigaud, helping to start a civil war (see Laurent Dubois, Avengers of the New World: the story of the Haitian revolution [Harvard Univ. Press, 2004], pp. 217-223).
  • Toussaint Louverture, Saint Domingue (Haiti), ca. 1800

    Rainsford, a British military officer, gives a detailed first-hand account of Louverture which formed the basis for this undoubtedly embellished portrait created for his book. Although this image of Toussaint is often reproduced in secondary works on the history of Haiti, it was not made from life and no such portrait of Louverture is known to exist. The portrait is based on Rainford's published description: In person,Toussaint was of a manly form, above the middle stature, with a countenance bold and striking, yet full of the most prepossessing suavity--terrible to an enemy, but inviting to the objects of his friendship or his love. His manners and his deportment were elegant when occasion required, but easy and familiar in common; --when an inferior addressed him, he bent with the most obliging assiduity, and adapted himself precisely, without seeming condescension, to their peculiar circumstances. He received in public a general and voluntary respect . . . . His uniform was a kind of blue jacket, with a large red cape falling over the shoulders; red cuffs, with eight rows of lace on the arms, and a pair of large gold epaulettes thrown back; scarlet waistcoat and pantaloons, with half boots; round hat, with a red feather, and a national cockade; these, with an extreme large sword, formed his equipment. He was an astonishing horseman and travelled with inconceivable rapidity (pp. 252-53). See also other images of Toussaint on this website.
  • Henry Bibb, U.S. South, ca. 1849

    One of the most celebrated of the North American slave narratives. Bibb was born of a slave mother in Kentucky in 1815. He escaped from slavery in 1838, and ultimately became a leading figure in the fugitive slave community of Canada. The bottom of this image is a small sketch of a slave running away; to the left of the sketch, Stop the runaway! Where is he? ; on the right, $ 50 reward for him. Bottom caption, Daniel Lane after Henry Bibb in Louisville Kentucky, June 1838. The object was to sell Bibb in the slave market, but Bibb turned the corner too quick for him & escaped.
  • Frederick Douglass, American abolitionist, ca. 1865

    Photograph by J.W. Hurn of the celebrated American abolitionist. The Library of Congress has no catalog data on this portrait and assigns no date to it. David W. Blight, ed., Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, Written by Himself (New York, 1993, p. 146), suggests the photograph was taken shortly after the Civil War; Douglass would have been around 47-49 at the time.
  • Medicine Man/Doctor, Surinam, 1770s

    The Celebrated Graman Quacy in full regalia. Graman (meaning great man) Quacy was widely respected by slaves because of his magical powers and ability to cure illness and provide protective amulets (see Stedman, pp. 346-347). This and other engravings are found in the autobiographical narrative of Stedman, a young Dutchman who joined a military force against rebellions of the enslaved in the Dutch colony. The engravings are based on Stedman's own drawings and were done by professional engravers. For the definitive modern edition of the original 1790 Stedman manuscript, which includes this and other illustrations, see Richard and Sally Price, eds. Narrative of a five years expedition against the revolted Negroes of Surinam (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988).
  • Aunt Sally, 1858

    The book's sub-title is A narrative of the slave-life and purchase of the mother of Rev. Isaac Williams, of Detroit, Michigan. At the time of publication, Aunt Sally was living in Detroit with her son, Issac, a pastor of a Methodist church. Sally had been a slave in Fayettville, North Carolina when, around twenty-five years before the book's publication, she was separated from Issac and sold to a speculator in Alabama. The engraving shown here was apparently based on an eye-witness drawing.
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