Sketches of Southern Life

Sketches of Southern Life
by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
Adopted for Conservation by
Laura H. Peebles
in honor of Nancy E. Gwinn
on November 22, 2019

Sketches of southern life

By Frances Ellen Watkins Harper. Philadelphia: Ferguson Bros. & Co., 1888.

Sketches of Southern Life is considered to be one of Frances Ellen Watkins Harper's best works by historians of African American literature, though it is not her most well-known work. Sketches of Southern Life, an anthology of poems, is narrated by former slaves, Aunt Chloe and Uncle Jacob. Written in African American vernacular speech and praised by critics who recognize it as a forerunner of the dialect verse used by influential writers like Paul Laurence Dunbar. Sketches is not only an act of poetry, but a study on the history of African American writing. Shrewd and charismatic, Aunt Chloe and Uncle Jacob provide a commentary on the concerns of African Americans living in the South: family, education, religion, slavery, and Reconstruction. 

Condition and Treatment: 

This volume is a small late-19th century staple bound pamphlet. The staple is oxidizing and putting pressure on the brittle pages making them difficult to open.  Conservators will remove the staples and resew the pamphlet through the fold so that further damage is prevented. A custom enclosure will be created for this fragile item.

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Adoption Type: Preserve for the Future