Cover: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: Written by Herself, with “A True Tale of Slavery” by John S. Jacobs, from Harvard University PressCover: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl in PAPERBACK

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

Written by Herself, with “A True Tale of Slavery” by John S. Jacobs

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Product Details


$23.00 • £18.95 • €20.50

ISBN 9780674035836

Publication Date: 11/30/2009


496 pages

5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

13 halftones, 1 line illustration, 2 maps

Belknap Press

The John Harvard Library


  • Preface by Jean Fagan Yellin
  • List of Illustrations*
  • Introduction by Jean Fagan Yellin
  • Note on the Text
  • Chronology
  • Cast of Characters
  • Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
    • Preface by the Author [“Linda Brent”]
    • Introduction by the Editor [L. Maria Child]
    • I. Childhood
    • II. The New Master and Mistress
    • III. The Slaves’ New Year’s Day
    • IV. The Slave Who Dared to Feel like a Man
    • V. The Trials of Girlhood
    • VI. The Jealous Mistress
    • VII. The Lover
    • VIII. What Slaves Are Taught to Think of the North
    • IX. Sketches of Neighboring Slaveholders
    • X. A Perilous Passage in the Slave Girl’s Life
    • XI. The New Tie to Life
    • XII. Fear of Insurrection
    • XIII. The Church and Slavery
    • XIV. Another Link to Life
    • XV. Continued Persecutions
    • XVI. Scenes at the Plantation
    • XVII. The Flight
    • XVIII. Months of Peril
    • XIX. The Children Sold
    • XX. New Perils
    • XXI. The Loophole of Retreat
    • XXII. Christmas Festivities
    • XXIII. Still in Prison
    • XXIV. The Candidate for Congress
    • XXV. Competition in Cunning
    • XXVI. Important Era in My Brother’s Life
    • XXVII. New Destination for the Children
    • XXVIII. Aunt Nancy
    • XXIX. Preparations for Escape
    • XXX. Northward Bound
    • XXXI. Incidents in Philadelphia
    • XXXII. The Meeting of Mother and Daughter
    • XXXIII. A Home Found
    • XXXIV. The Old Enemy Again
    • XXXV. Prejudice against Color
    • XXXVI. The Hairbreadth Escape
    • XXXVII. A Visit to England
    • XXXVIII. Renewed Invitations to Go South
    • XXXIX. The Confession
    • XL. The Fugitive Slave Law
    • XLI. Free at Last
    • Appendix
  • A True Tale of Slavery
    • I. Some Account of My Early Life
    • II. A Further Account of My Family
    • III. My Uncle’s Troubles
    • IV. My New Master’s Plantation
    • V. My Master Goes to Washington
    • VI. Sensations of Freedom
    • VII. Cruel Treatment of Slaves
  • Illustrations
  • Abbreviations
  • Correspondence
  • Notes
  • Selected Bibliography
  • Acknowledgments
  • Index
  • * Illustrations
    • Harriet Jacobs in 1894.
    • Title page of the first edition of Incidents.
    • Dr. James Norcom.
    • Amy Post ca. 1861–1864.
    • Lydia Maria Child in the 1860s.
    • Cornelia Grinnell Willis at the Old Mansion, New Bedford, Massachusetts, in 1884.
    • Deathbed codicil of Margaret Horniblow, Jacobs’s first mistress, willing “my negro girl Harriet” and “my bureau & work table & their contents” to her three-year-old niece, Mary Matilda Norcom, July 3, 1825.
    • Petition for the emancipation of Jacobs’s grandmother, Molly Horniblow, signed with an X by Hannah Pritchard, April 10, 1828.
    • Advertisement for the capture of Harriet Jacobs, American Beacon (daily), Norfolk, Virginia, July 4, 1835.
    • Molly Horniblow’s house: reconstruction to scale of elevation and floor plan showing Jacobs’s hiding place.
    • Dr. Norcom’s note repaying his daughter for having sold her “two mulattoe Slaves named Joe & Louisa, the Children of woman Harriet,” by substituting two other children, August 4, 1837.
    • Harriet Jacobs’s receipt acknowledging a payment of $100 “to the purchase of cops. of ‘Linda’” by the abolitionists’ Hovey Fund, February 1, 1861.
    • First page of Harriet Jacobs’s letter to Amy Post [May 1849] (Letter 3).
    • First page of Harriet Jacobs’s letter to Ednah Dow Cheney, April 25 [1867] (Letter 15).
    • Map 1. Environs of Edenton, North Carolina, 1813–1842.
    • Map 2. Edenton, North Carolina, 1813–1842.

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