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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 8, page 29, July 17-18, 1856

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Identifier: DX03639855

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 8, page 29, July 17-18, 1856

Description: Describes Louisa Jacobs, daughter of Harriet Jacobs, who is living with Fanny Fern and her family.


I can scarcely fancy, from her [Harriet Jacobs’] daughters [Louisa Jacobs’] complexion, a perfect negress, yet I inferred so from the story. The mother’s owner [James Norcom] was father to this girl [actually Samuel Sawyer, not Norcom], and a brother of hers [Joseph Jacobs], now at sea. She has been a protegee of the Willis family. The girl is [words crossed out] handsome possessing rather a Jewish [word crossed out] face, delicately shaped acquiline nose, and hair of such a deep, lustrous, silky black that I have never seen its equal. To see the sunlight rest upon it was to marvel that hair could be so lovely. No painting or words could do justice to it. Her complexion is of a warm, sunny tint, such as you might fancy proper to an Italian girl, her eyes full and modest, her face clear and perfectly proportioned, her manner reserved. One would never suspect the existence of negro blood in her. I was told that she had been highly educated; but was conscious of the prejudice against her birth here — as how should she escape knowing it? We all went to the Fort Green heights after sunset, and stayed about two hours, Oliver Dyer accompanying.

18. Friday. A letter from Cornelius Bagster, requesting me to meet three ladies, on the arrival of the Fulton, (which came yesterday.) So, in the afternoon to Edwards, to inquire of one of the Mrs Edwardses (who had come back to N. Y. in the same vessel), about these ladies. Then to the ship. Learnt that a brother had met ‘em, therefore there was no need of me. Drawing.

Rights: NoC-US


Dates: 1856-07-17

Type(s): Diary

Maker/Creator: Gunn, Thomas Butler, 1826-1903

Subjects: Diaries
African Americans


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