Scope and arrangement
The Earl Conrad/Harriet Tubman Collection represents the results of several years of research by historian-journalist Earl Conrad into the life and activities of Harriet Tubman, known as the Moses of her people because of the over 300 slaves she lead to freedom via the Underground Railroad. The Collection consists of correspondence between Conrad and potential sources of relevant information and documentation, research notes from published works, statements and texts of interviews with members of Harriet Tubman's family as well as with persons who knew or worked with her, and the various typescripts and drafts preceeding Conrad's completed publications. A number of photographs are included but many others have been transferred to the Schomburg Collection's Photograph and Prints Division for greater accessibility.
The collection was assembled while the research was being done, generally in 1939 and 1940, and therefore reflects the documents and resources available at that time.
The Harriet Tubman research material is arranged in eight series:
The series consists of letters from Earl Conrad to potential sources of information relating to the life and activities of Harriet Tubman, and their responses. The potential sources included historians specializing in the abolitionist movement and the post-Civil War years, librarians in the various communities in which Harriet Tubman had lived or based her operations at one time or another, and such national repositories as the Library of Congress, National Archives, and the British Museum where the official records documenting her life and activities were kept.
RESEARCH NOTES is composed of Earl Conrad's notes taken from relevant published works. These works include histories of the period in which Harriet Tubman was active, biographies of contemporary figures, articles in various newspapers and magazines (especially those which focused their attention on social movements, i.e. Abolition and Women's Suffrage) such as the National Anti-Slavery Standard, Liberator, and Boston Commonwealth. Notes were also taken from the general press (New York Times and New York Herald), the black press (Frederick Douglass' Newspaper) and local newspapers (Auburn Citizen, Post-Standard).
PUBLISHERS' CORRESPONDENCE includes Conrad's correspondence with various publishers in an attempt to get his completed manuscripts on Tubman published. The letters are important in that they illustrate the strong resistance put forth by the publishing industry against anything relating to the Black Experience, even where it dealt with an historical figure of Harriet Tubman's stature. These letters also document the results of an attempt to have the work published in serial form in magazines and newspapers.
STATEMENTS AND INTERVIEWS consists of notes and transcripts of interviews with people who knew or worked with Harriet Tubman and members of her family. These were important sources which gave direction toward further documentation of her activities. They also illustrate the impact she had had on those around her and the high regard in which she was held even into her later years and after her death.
The series consists of other materials which were deposited in the Schomburg Collection by Earl Conrad. Most are related to Tubman, though some are not. Included are programs distributed at the unveiling of a bronze tablet dedicated to her memory in Auburn New York.
The series consists of other materials which were deposited in the Schomburg Collection by Earl Conrad. Most are related to Tubman, though some are not. Included are newspaper clippings on specific events in her life, pamphlets about her, and articles which appeared shortly after her death.
The series consists of other materials which were deposited in the Schomburg Collection by Earl Conrad. Most are related to Tubman, though some are not. Included are a number of photographs which are identified in the inventory.
The series consists of various drafts and typescripts of the books and articles about Harriet Tubman which developed out of the research represented in the preceeding six series. In processing the papers an attempt was made to reconstruct the drafts as they progressed to the final stage. Where this was not possible an attempt was made to key the bits and pieces to the chapters in the publication Harriet Tubman(Washington, D.C., The Associated Publishers, Inc., 1943). Unfortunately, some fragments remained which could not be related to specific parts of the books, therefore these appear at the end of the series in a number of folders labeled “Unidentified Fragments.”