The Harriet Jacobs Papers

The Harriet Jacobs Papers consists of approximately 600 items, including writings by Jacobs, her brother John S. Jacobs, and her daughter Louisa Matilda Jacobs, all active reformers. There is also a small group of letters to the Jacobs family from other black and white abolitionists and feminists. In addition, numerous published and unpublished items discuss Jacobs and her family. These include legal documents pertaining to their enslavement, reviews and correspondence concerning Jacobs’s book, and texts regarding her reform and relief work during the Civil War and Reconstruction. The papers are organized chronologically and cover three periods in Jacobs’s life: Slavery 1813 – 1852; Activism 1852 – 1868; and Segregation 1869 – 1917. The earliest was written in 1813 – the date of the “Division of the Negroes of the estate of John Horniblow,” owner of Jacobs’s grandmother; and the latest was written in 1917 – the date of the death of Louisa Jacobs