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Scholarly Editing

The Annual of the Association for Documentary Editing

2013, Volume 34

"Will not these days be by thy poets sung": Poems of the Anglo-African and National Anti-Slavery Standard, 1863–1864

Edited by Elizabeth Lorang and R. J. Weir


According to Junius Henri Browne, a former war correspondent for the New York Tribune, anyone who ventured down New York City's Nassau Street in the mid-nineteenth century would stumble on more nooks and "undreamed of" crannies "than could be found in all of Dickens's novels."[1] A "bewildering number of signs" for professions and services competed for attention at street level. Those who sought the inhabitant of an upper story would "begin to have a realizing sense of what the Egyptian and Cretan labyrinths might have been," and "No where [sic] else in New-York are as many persons in business crowded together."[2]
The labyrinthine region surrounding Nassau Street absorbed the stretch of Beekman Street, where from late 1858 until May 1864 Thomas Hamilton (1823–1865) was a "person in business." Today, Hamilton is known to literary historians as the publisher of the monthly Anglo-African Magazine—"the first literary magazine produced by and for the black community"—which attracted such distinguished contributors as Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Martin R. Delany, and James McCune Smith before it closed in March 1860.[3] Hamilton's Weekly Anglo-African newspaper (established July 1859) is also routinely consulted as a vital African American serial of the Civil War era. Yet the home of these Anglo-African titles, No. 48 Beekman Street, is rarely mentioned in critical discussions of the periodicals or of the texts published therein. Hamilton's place of work has been bypassed with the ease that carried Browne's pedestrians past the right street door.

Figure 1: Beekman Street and Printing House Square

A cropped view of lower Manhattan from 1862, with Beekman Street and Printing House Square highlighted in orange. The orange square on Beekman Street identifies the approximate location of Nos. 48 and 50 Beekman Street.[4]

No. 48 Beekman Street was a hub of antislavery activity in New York City. The site was at the center of a web of Civil War–era alliances and affiliations between publishers and editors, abolitionist and otherwise. Everyday encounters in or around an office, the availability of exchange papers from offices in the same building or across the street—such routine matters shaped newspaper content in ways we have barely begun to explore. The physical proximity of the Hamilton brothers' weekly Anglo-African and the American Anti-Slavery Society's National Anti-Slavery Standard suggests that we can locate nineteenth-century literature, including African American literature, in "unexpected places" by looking afresh at some of the places we think we know.[5]
Poetry featured regularly in both the National Anti-Slavery Standard and the weekly Anglo-African, and as we will show, reprinted poems formed a link between the titles during the Civil War. The first edition of its kind, "'Will not these days be by thy poets sung': Poems of the Anglo-African and National Anti-Slavery Standard, 1863–1864," builds on and extends the emerging scholarship that examines the role and importance of newspapers in nineteenth-century American literature, reevaluates decades-long assumptions about Civil War poetry, and recovers a fuller narrative of American literary history.[6] The edition sets out connections between the black press and the white abolitionist press, in response to Eric Gardner's recent and provocative challenge to scholars that "there has been no in-depth examination of how members of the black press traded copies with each other and with white entities, much less how they borrowed texts from the periodicals they read, an act both physical (tied to clipping and readying a piece to be reset in type) and textual (given the possibilities for revising and framing a clipped piece)."[7] Indeed, although the Anglo-African was one of the most important African American newspapers in the Civil War era, surprisingly little critical attention has been paid to its content and format, to its readers and editors. Nor have its links with other antislavery titles, such as the American Anti-Slavery Society's National Anti-Slavery Standard, been explored.
The weekly Anglo-African and the National Anti-Slavery Standard were involved with each other in telling and surprising ways. Our comparative approach at once reveals connections between titles and extends contemporary recovery projects into the neglected realm of newspaper verse. Working on the premise that newspaper verse had a fluid existence in transformative publication contexts, we seek to establish the significance of poems that mid-nineteenth-century editors and their colleagues routinely borrowed from accessible titles and reprinted in their own newspapers, often alongside "original" pieces (that is, poems signposted as having been written "for" the title in which they appeared). In addition to making these "original" and "selected" newspaper poems newly accessible, our edition elucidates poetic engagements with important wartime debates about military service, citizenship, race, and gender. For the most part, these debates are addressed in footnotes for individual poems. This essay introduces the Anglo-African and the National Anti-Slavery Standard ("On Beekman Street") before turning to one of the poems that both newspapers published. A detailed reading of "Autumn Days in South Carolina" by Frances Dana Gage ("A South Carolina Incident") provides the basis for an extended discussion of the particularities of both newspaper poetry and our editorial policy ("About This Edition"). We close with a user's guide to the edition ("Using This Edition").

On Beekman Street

The Anglo-African

Thomas Hamilton launched the Weekly Anglo-African from No. 48 Beekman Street, a stone's throw from New York City's Printing House Square, in July 1859. With the help of his good friend and fellow New Yorker James McCune Smith (1813–1865), Hamilton had established the Anglo-African Magazine earlier in the year. The newspaper's inaugural editorial—like the Magazine's "Introductory" (January 1859)—defined the publication's mission in terms of political advocacy and cultural self-representation. Hamilton spoke for and to African Americans in and beyond New York: "We need a Press—a press of our own. We need to know something else of ourselves through the press than the every-day statements made up to suit the feelings of the base or the interests of our opponents. . . . Our cause (for in this country we have a cause) demands our own advocacy."[8] Apparently Hamilton was among those who did not consider Frederick Douglass's papers to be representative.[9]
Thomas Hamilton filled his four-page sheet with editorials and essays; with correspondence from a host of northern and western cities; with news items and material from exchanges; and with fiction, advertisements, notices, and poetry. The title provided black communities across the North with a vital forum for public dialog and debate. Toward the end of 1860, discussion increasingly focused on African and Haitian emigration movements, and when financial difficulties threatened to sink the Anglo-African in March 1861, Hamilton sold the paper to James Redpath, director of the Haytian Emigration Bureau.[10] Redpath reportedly paid Hamilton $1,100 and secured his pledge "not to issue another paper for circulation among the colored people."[11] To the chagrin of African American readers who opposed the emigration bureau's schemes, such as Mary Ann Shadd Cary and Hamilton's supporter James McCune Smith, the Weekly Anglo-African became a vehicle for bureau propaganda. Not long after Redpath restyled the title as the Pine and Palm, Smith joined forces with Thomas's elder brother Robert (1819–1870) to revive the Anglo-African on its original principles.[12] Robert dealt with the Redpath episode tactfully: "In compliance with the urgent solicitations of many of the former patrons of the late Weekly Anglo-African, . . . we commence to-day the publication of a weekly journal which shall be devoted specially to the best interests of the colored people in this and other countries. . . . We alone are able to tell our story. Under the circumstances it is not necessary for us to specify our objects, but would only state that the free discussion of every subject of interest to our people will form one of the most prominent features of the paper."[13]
With invaluable assistance from his brother, Robert kept the title afloat throughout the war, in spite of rising paper costs which necessitated increases in the subscription price, and crises like the Draft Riots which scattered the title's city-based readership in July 1863.[14] African Methodist Episcopal minister James Lynch testified to the Anglo-African's national reach at the end of the Civil War: "We have felt [its influence] on the banks of the Mississippi, during our ministry at Galena, Illinois, in Maryland, and the District of Columbia, on the sea islands of South Carolina, in the cities of Charleston and Savannah, and even in the interior of Georgia."[15]
During Robert's editorship, Thomas continued to advertise a stock of books and sundries as available for purchase at the Beekman Street office of the paper, but his name did not appear in connection with the Anglo-African's management after the Redpath sale. Still, he took over the entire business during Robert's long investigative fundraising tours in the occupied South and the West.[16] Obituaries published upon Thomas's death make the extent of his involvement clear, and offer a suggestive glimpse of editorial routine in the Anglo-African office. One friend wrote that, in addition to managing the paper's accounts,
[Thomas] read all the correspondence selected and prepared for the press what was best suited for publication. This was no easy task; there was always four or five times as much as the paper could hold, and selections had to be made with an eye to merit and an eye to business. He arranged the paper, read proof, etc. He answered the numerous letters which poured into the office daily. He received and entertained numerous callers from all parts of the country, and on every possible business.[17]
Robert's own tribute to his brother underscored the job's pressures and the central role Thomas played in the newspaper's production, even when his name did not appear on the masthead: after Robert embarked on his latest tour, his brother's letters had "[begun] to indicate great want of help, and one, received about the first of April, informed us that he did not think that he could stand the labor much longer."[18]
As Debra Jackson suggests, the brothers' unswerving commitment to the Anglo-African should be placed in the context of their prewar activism and their family history.[19] Robert and Thomas were sons of William G. Hamilton (1773–1836), one of the founders of Mother Zion and the New York African Society for Mutual Relief. Prior to the outbreak of the Civil War, they established themselves as members of New York's next generation of black activists.[20] The brothers worked for the Colored American newspaper and campaigned for black suffrage in New York state.[21]

Figure 2: Anglo-African Nameplate

The Anglo-African nameplate declared, "Man must be Free!—If not through the law, why then above the law." (Nameplate depicted here from the Anglo-African of May 23, 1863.)

Robert was a member of the "Committee of Thirteen," a local group formed by black abolitionists to protect African Americans from the seizures all but sanctioned by the Fugitive Slave Law and to counter the schemes of the American Colonization Society.[22] Unlike his fellow committee member James McCune Smith, Robert supported Henry Highland Garnet's African Civilization Society (established 1858), which encouraged selective emigration to West Africa and, partway through the war, refocused its attention on the education of the freedpeople.[23] Robert was a member of the African Civilization Society until at least November 1861, and between January and June 1863 he gave column space to the society's "African Civilization Department." The department, containing the society's constitution and a list of officers, often appeared on the Anglo-African's back page, next to or near the poetry column. A renowned singer, Robert had also served as choirmaster at St. Philip's Episcopal Church in the 1840s and often performed at community events.
Poetry and song played a particularly important role in Robert Hamilton's public discourse during the 1860s. During his wartime tours, he sang and distributed broadsides.[24] When Thomas's death in 1865 compelled Robert to cut short his western tour, Robert told readers he had hoped to visit that he had intended to use "word and song" to "strengthen [the people] for the great contest that lies before us."[25] He also contributed at least one song to his newspaper, "Our Country's Flag," on January 16, 1864, as did his daughter, Addie M. Hamilton. Although the Anglo-African poetry column occupied a conventional position on the newspaper's back page, Robert's emphasis on song and verse and his own contributions to the paper suggest that he was particularly aware that these texts held significance. Hamilton's preference coincided with a contemporary tendency to respond to the events of the war in verse and song, which Anglo-African readers embraced.
Long before President Lincoln made abolition a war aim, the Hamilton brothers welcomed the Civil War as an opportunity for black and white revolutionaries to destroy slavery. "We want Nat Turner—not speeches; Denmark Vesey—not resolutions; John Brown—not meetings," an editorial declared after Sumter.[26] As early as August 1861, the Anglo-African assured readers that the government would be "obliged to decree the emancipation of the slaves."[27] Such editorial optimism was short-lived; nonetheless, when the War Department finally authorized the formation of African American regiments in the North, the Hamiltons threw their weight behind the enlistment effort and, in early March 1863, urged readers to seize their "first best chance" to secure the full rights of American citizens on the battlefield.[28] Thomas published notices inviting would-be volunteers to visit the office for information about the Fifty-Fourth and Fifty-Fifth Massachusetts Regiments and the Rhode Island Heavy Artillery.[29] Fanny M. Jackson ("The Black Volunteers"), Alfred P. Smith ("The Louisiana Native Guard at Port Hudson," "A War Song for the Black Volunteers"), and Frances Ellen Watkins Harper ("The Massachusetts Fifty-Fourth") were among the Anglo-African contributors who championed African American enlistment and heroism in verse.
The newspaper had especially close links with the Massachusetts regiments. Indeed, soon after enlisting in the Fifty-Fourth, the Hamiltons' long-time correspondent George E. Stephens announced that the newspaper would be "the medium through which all of the affairs of the regiment of public interest shall be made known. When any sickness, accident or anything else shall take place, the friends and relatives of those in it can know all, learn all, through the columns of the Anglo-African."[30] Letters from soldiers became one of the title's most conspicuous features in 1864. Not only did they supply civilians with war news from the front, they also provided the soldiers themselves with a precious link to home and a much-needed platform for public protest.
Contemporary prejudice defined the War Department's attitude toward African American volunteers. Discriminatory policies regarding promotion, protection, and most notoriously, pay outraged men who had been promised the same basic monthly rate as other US soldiers only to be offered the lower wage of "contraband" laborers. Taking a principled stand, the men determined to accept equal pay or nothing; months dragged on, and the crisis worsened as soldiers received letters from families "suffering for the aid we might render them if we could only get our hard-earned and just dues."[31] "Just think of it, Mr. Editor," wrote "Mon" of the Fifty-Fifth in April 1864, "nearly a year has passed since the government at Washington authorized Gov. Andrew to enlist this regiment, assuring him that we should receive the same pay as other Massachusetts soldiers, and still we are slaves; still that precious principle—manhood—for the attainment of which we consider no hardship too great to be borne, is withheld from us."[32]
"Mon" and "De Waltigo" identified the Anglo-African as the soldiers' advocate. It is important to note that the writers framed their protests with accounts of their activities in the field and reaffirmations of their commitment to their cause ("justice and liberty," "MANHOOD"); the letters gave little indication of "how close the black troops came to full mutiny" over the issue of pay.[33] Such narrative choices must have been rooted in a host of concerns, including the desire to maintain their status as representative men and to avoid disciplinary action under martial law. Even so, their narratives of unacknowledged manhood offer a provocative counterpoint to the Anglo-African poems that center on and celebrate African American soldiers' heroism on the battlefield.
One of the Anglo-African editors' initiatives to help the soldiers boosted their own subscription list. In the winter of 1863–64, they began to invite readers to purchase copies of the Anglo-African to send to soldiers who could not pay for it themselves, "as they are receiving but Ten Dollars a month, less three dollars for clothing."[34] The notice was installed as a weekly fixture above the lead editorial. Unlike the Christian Recorder, the Anglo-African was not in the habit of acknowledging subscriptions received in its columns, but as of January 1864, it printed lists of donations for the soldiers. These lists—together with lists of readers who responded to the Anglo-African's later appeal for new subscribers—provide our best indicators of the Anglo-African's actual readership.[35] Donations were made by individuals and groups including literary associations and soldiers' aid societies. Tellingly, once African American soldiers won their battle for equal pay, they dominated the subscription appeal lists. In the "New Subscribers" list printed on November 5, 1864, for example, "Lieut. Jas. M. Trotter, 55th Mass. Vols." is credited with collecting no less than twenty-two subscriptions. Little wonder that the Anglo-African's fortunes looked up briefly before Thomas Hamilton's death in May 1865.

The National Anti-Slavery Standard

Figure 3: Nameplate of the National Anti-Slavery Standard

Nameplate of the National Anti-Slavery Standard from the issue of May 16, 1863.

Unlike the Anglo-African, the National Anti-Slavery Standard could draw on its organizational affiliation for a pool of subscribers. Although the Standard and the Anglo-African shared common ground, they were distinctively shaped by very different associations and ideologies. Launched in June 1840, the New York–based National Anti-Slavery Standard originated in the strife that plagued the American Anti-Slavery Society at the end of the 1830s. The May anniversary meeting of 1840 saw friction between the society's "orthodox" and "Garrisonian" factions turn into full-blown schism; opposed to the appointment of women officers, influential New Yorker Lewis Tappan and a host of like-minded delegates withdrew from the society when a majority voted to seat Abby Kelley on the Business Committee. The group then organized as the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society (known in abolitionist circles as the "New Organization"). As ownership of the American Anti-Slavery Society's weekly, the Emancipator, had been transferred to a local New York society immediately prior to the break, William Lloyd Garrison's supporters lacked this vital channel of communication at a crisis moment. The National Anti-Slavery Standard was established as the society's official organ. The first number of the Standard, edited by James C. Jackson for Nathaniel P. Rogers, at once trumpeted the paper's official connection with the society and declared that it would be conducted "on the broad principle of the universal fraternity of the human race, irrespective of sect, party, sex, color or country."[36]
A permanent editor for the new title proved hard to find. After a series of editors from May 1841 through May 1853 (including Lydia Maria Child, David Lee Child, and Sydney Howard Gay), Oliver Johnson joined Gay as co-editor in May 1853. The son of Vermont farmers, Johnson (1809–1889) trained as a printer and made a career of reform journalism. When the American Anti-Slavery Society Executive Committee offered him the Standard position, he had completed an editorial stint at the Ohio Anti-Slavery Bugle (1849–1851) and was engaged as editor of the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society's Pennsylvania Freeman. He and Garrison had formed a strong friendship in the early 1830s, when they shared close quarters in Boston as editors of the anti-Universalist Christian Soldier and the Liberator, respectively. They were founding members of the New England Anti-Slavery Society (est. 1832) and American Anti-Slavery Society colleagues. Johnson had also stood in as Liberator editor when illness or travel prevented Garrison from issuing his paper.[37] Johnson would consult Garrison on matters pertaining to the Standard throughout the war years, going so far as to suggest a merger of the Standard and the Liberator in November 1864, when financial crisis loomed (again).
In 1853 Johnson introduced himself as Sydney Gay's associate in terms that underscored his loyalty to the American Anti-Slavery Society: "It will be quite sufficient for me to say [by way of a statement of editorial principles], that with my whole heart I sympathize with the American Anti-Slavery Society in the issues it makes with the American Government and the American Church, and that I shall endeavor, in all rightful ways, to make those issues effective as a means of moral, political and religious agitation throughout the land."[38] Garrisonians and "political abolitionists" adhered to fundamentally opposed ideas about effective "political" means; the difference was one of the most important issues at stake in the 1840 schism. Whereas Garrisonians "interpreted the Constitution as proslavery and advocated nonviolent disunion from the corrupt government," non-Garrisonian "political" abolitionists believed in an antislavery Constitution and in the ballot box's potential as an antislavery weapon.[39] Ideological differences and racial tensions fueled public feuds between the Standard and both Frederick Douglass and James McCune Smith; in the mid-1850s Johnson emerged as a partisan devotee of the society and its leaders. Johnson secured the trust of the American Anti-Slavery Society Executive Committee, who appointed him senior editor after Gay resigned in March 1858. He would manage the Standard for the duration of the war.
The conflict prompted dramatic shifts in the society's position. "Dissolution at Last!," declared the Standard after South Carolina's secession; however, the title quickly committed to a war "virtually waged for the abolition of slavery," and in early January 1863 urged the "Abolitionists of America" to "thank God and take courage in view of the Proclamation of the President."[40] "We have all of us undergone, not 'a sea change,' but a change by fire," Johnson marveled in October 1863; "we find the elements of our opinions and actions strangely modified and mixed."[41] This did not mean, however, that the society's position was inconsistent: "The metal is not changed in its nature by the process it has gone through, it has only taken upon itself new forms."[42]

Figure 4: Without Concealment—Without Compromise

On page 2, the National Anti-Slavery Standard weekly declared its motto: "Without Concealment—Without Compromise." (The image here is from page 2 of the May 16, 1863, issue of the paper.)

Those "new forms" meant that the Standard editor had to manage a delicate balancing act in the latter half of the war. On the one hand, Johnson sought to distinguish the patriotic criticism of "Abolitionists" from "Copperhead" attacks on the administration's war policies. On the other hand, he took pains to distance the Standard from Republican Party politics. Soon after celebrating the Emancipation Proclamation, he reaffirmed the Standard's affiliation to the American Anti-Slavery Society alone: "We have considered ourselves as representing, not the Republican party, not even the American nation, primarily, but the American slave."[43] This did not prevent Wendell Phillips, Radical Republican and American Anti-Slavery Society leader, from condemning the Standard as a "partisan Lincoln sheet" in June 1864. The Executive Committee dismissed the charges, concluding that the Standard had been "conducted with remarkable fairness and impartiality."[44]
Even as he negotiated the American Anti-Slavery Society's new position, Johnson wondered how much longer the American Anti-Slavery Society and its organ would be needed. "When are the Anti-Slavery Societies to be disbanded?" was one of the questions he addressed in early 1864.[45] While slavery had a "legal existence," he suggested, the antislavery work of "reforming public opinion" was "hardly finished." The wartime Standard continued to facilitate this work by maintaining and mobilizing antislavery networks across the free states, in the occupied South, and in Great Britain. Contributions written for the title, as well as some selections, were so many material indicators of a common cause, if not shared sympathies. Reports of state and national meetings; regular letters from antislavery correspondents in Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, London, and Dublin; lengthy transcripts of speeches and sermons deemed important to the cause; selected items of war news of particular interest or concern; and poetry circulated in the Standard on a weekly basis. In May 1863 an editorial notice encouraged civilian readers to buy copies of the Standard for family and friends in the army, and thus spread the antislavery message further still.[46] Unlike the Anglo-African, the Standard carried little in the way of soldier correspondence, but once Northern antislavery missionaries established themselves on South Carolina's occupied Sea Islands, Johnson began to receive and publish pieces of "South Carolina Correspondence" with his city letters. He also introduced two new columns on page 3, full of brief items gathered under the broad headings "Chronicles of the War" and "The Army and the Negroes." (The latter column contained everything from anecdotes about "contrabands" to news about the formation of African American regiments.)
Johnson eventually left the paper in May 1865, after the annual meeting of the American Anti-Slavery Society voted down William Lloyd Garrison's proposal to dissolve the society and appointed Wendell Phillips to the presidency after Garrison's resignation. The National Anti-Slavery Standard closed five years later, after the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment.


How did Oliver Johnson and the Hamilton brothers end up in the same building—perhaps even sharing type or a press, as part of a heretofore unsuspected collaborative routine? In the first instance, Thomas Hamilton's connections in the Radical Abolitionist Party probably helped him secure an office location on Beekman Street. William Goodell, American Anti-Slavery Society leader turned political abolitionist, served as the party's corresponding secretary and issued its monthly Radical Abolitionist from No. 48 Beekman Street between August 1855 and the fall of 1858. Meanwhile, months before he launched the Anglo-African Magazine, Hamilton served as the party's recording secretary,[47] and the launch of Hamilton's monthly Anglo-African Magazine roughly coincided with the Radical Abolitionist's discontinuation. Significantly, the New York Herald correspondent who paid Hamilton a call at "the headquarters" of "the metropolitan colored press" in April 1860 noted that the door of the editor's second-floor office bore an outdated sign: "Radical Abolitionist. Anti-slavery book Depository."[48]
According to Wilson's Directory for 1859–60, no less than three publications were housed in No. 48's four stories: the Anglo-African, George Whipple's American Missionary, and Benjamin H. Day's Brother Jonathan. Whipple was a former member of the Radical Abolitionist Party (he had served on the executive committee with James McCune Smith and Henry Highland Garnet), and in the war years he would coordinate the American Missionary Association's efforts among the freedpeople. Penny press innovator Day owned the building and its neighbor, No. 50.[49] No one would guess from Brother Jonathan that its bookseller-editor rented his building to abolitionist editors. On February 19, 1853, Day defended his decision to sell Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin: "It is idle to call us abolitionists because we sell a book that there is a great public curiosity to read. We transact business for the whole Union; advancing or advocating no opinion on the polemical merits of any book we sell."[50]
In spite of his concern about the financial consequences of associations with abolitionists and abolitionism, Day rented office space to antislavery editors and publishers throughout the war era. In addition to Goodell, Whipple, and the Hamiltons, Lewis Tappan and Oliver Johnson also took rooms. Tappan's office was based in No. 48 throughout 1856. On May 1, 1862, the National Anti-Slavery Standard moved down Beekman Street from No. 5 to No. 48. Johnson remained there throughout his time as editor.

Figure 5: Mastheads of the Anglo-African and National Anti-Slavery Standard

The mastheads of the Anglo-African and National Anti-Slavery Standard from issues of May 23 and May 16, 1863, respectively, identify their No. 48 Beekman Street location. By the end of May 1863 the Anglo-African had moved one door down, to No. 50 Beekman Street, but the change of address did not appear in the newspaper's masthead until June.

Under Robert Hamilton's editorship, the weekly Anglo-African also continued to occupy Beekman Street quarters. The title kept its base at No. 48 during the Redpath episode: Robert began his editorship there in July 1861 and was still in residence in January 1863. In May 1863 the Hamilton brothers moved next door to No. 50. The following year, the Anglo-African moved again, this time across Broadway to No. 184 Church Street, only a few blocks away from the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Financial pressures probably prompted the change of location: on increasing their annual subscription rate from $2.00 to $2.50, the editors remarked that they began their new volume under "rather discouraging circumstances"—"discouraging only from the constantly increasing cost of publishing our paper."[51] It is tempting to speculate that Johnson's 1862 move was motivated by the same need to economize. In accordance with the American Anti-Slavery Society executive committee's instructions, he announced that the price of an annual subscription would rise from $2.00 to $2.50 on January 1, 1863.[52] Although the Standard was subsidized by the American Anti-Slavery Society, the treasury was in no state to absorb the soaring costs that prompted Benjamin Day to close Brother Jonathan in 1862, and later depressed the Hamiltons.[53] Johnson might well have decided to take a cheaper room—perhaps the very room vacated by Brother Jonathan—at No. 48 as a result. By the time the Hamilton brothers left Beekman Street, the Anglo-African and the National Anti-Slavery Standard had shared close quarters for two years.
Neither Johnson nor the Hamilton brothers highlighted the physical proximity of their titles during this period. However, poems occasionally appeared in the Standard after appearing in the Anglo-African, although Oliver Johnson did not acknowledge reprint material from the Anglo-African with any frequency during the latter half of the war. The Anglo-African, on the other hand, reprinted poetry and prose attributed to the Standard on a suggestive basis. As our work makes clear, poems regularly appeared in the Anglo-African one week after appearing in the Standard. Of course, the Hamilton brothers may have reprinted Standard poems from other newspapers, but in many cases the short amount of time that elapsed between printings makes it all but impossible that the Anglo-African reprinted from an intermediate text. Further, the Anglo-African expressly acknowledged the Standard as the source of poems at a time when popular convention dictated that reprints of reprints need not be acknowledged. (That is, if the Anglo-African was reprinting from intermediate texts, it was under no obligation to credit the Standard.) The pattern of reprinted poems and the proximity of the newspaper offices therefore suggest that the Standard was, at the least, one of the titles that the Hamiltons scanned for selected verse.
On at least one occasion, a poem original to the Standard—Frances Gage's "Autumn Days in South Carolina"—appeared in both papers on the same day, with the Anglo-African crediting the Standard. And perhaps even more remarkable is the fidelity with which the Anglo-African reprinted the text and adhered to the layout of Standard poems. In nineteenth-century practice, the process of reprinting commonly introduced changes to a poem, whether at the direction of an editor or at the whim or error of a compositor. Yet, Anglo-African reprints of Standard poems are almost always identical, including the perpetuation of clear errors in the Standard version. In one instance, the Anglo-African even preserved the "For the Anti-Slavery Standard" note that preceded a poem ("Olustee," published in the Standard on December 17, 1864, and in the Anglo-African on December 24, 1864). These details raise the tantalizing possibility that the newspapers' editors or staffs may have actively collaborated, with the Standard perhaps going so far as to share set type with the Anglo-African.[54]
Such collaboration would be in contrast to the public persona each paper projected and the ways in which they defined themselves against one another. Johnson's apparent blind eye for the Anglo-African in the pages of the Standard, for example, may have been to maintain the Standard's public image as the official organ of the American Anti-Slavery Society. When the weekly Anglo-African appeared in the summer of 1859, the Standard implied that the "highly praiseworthy" enterprise marginalized the antislavery cause.[55] In the Anglo-African, correspondent "S" responded by challenging the Standard's inference that the abolition of slavery was not among the "praiseworthy objects" of the paper. In doing so, "S" implicitly contrasted the Anglo-African's expansive commitment to equal rights for all African Americans with the American Anti-Slavery Society's narrow focus on abolition alone. The Standard defined its audience as abolitionists, first and foremost. The Hamilton brothers, by contrast, addressed a readership defined by race: in their introductory editorials, "we" simultaneously addressed and projected an African American collective. These projections did not necessarily tally with the reality of subscription lists, however. To date, no statistical work has been done on either Anglo-African or National Anti-Slavery Standard subscribers. Eric Gardner's pathbreaking analysis of the Christian Recorder's wartime readership suggests that such work will enrich our understanding of these publications,[56] but such analysis is beyond the scope of this edition. Whether or not actual readerships overlapped, the Hamilton brothers' reprints of Standard poems linked the titles within a field of common interest.

A South Carolina Incident

Following the Battle of Port Royal in November 1861, South Carolina's planters abandoned the state's Sea Islands to federal troops, leaving behind them significant infrastructure and a population of former slaves. Many Northerners went to the Sea Islands and established societies for the relief and education of the newly free islanders, making use of the abandoned mansions and plantations. Women were crucial to the relief efforts on the Sea Islands, among them white Ohioan Frances Dana Barker Gage (1808–1884). In 1863 Gage left Ohio, where she had established a reputation as a leading advocate of women's rights and abolition, for Parris Island, South Carolina. Gage stayed on the island for over a year, working with its population of freed men, women, and children. During this period, she communicated regularly with the New York Independent, New York Tribune, and the National Anti-Slavery Standard, and her letters and poems about life on the Islands circulated in the Northern press.
In an August 29, 1863, letter written for the New York Tribune and reprinted in the National Anti-Slavery Standard of September 26, 1863, for example, Gage wrote about being compelled to ask the freedpeople of Parris Island to contribute "vegetables and garden products" for the benefit of sick and wounded soldiers in Beaufort hospitals, after laborers on other of the Sea Islands had done the same. As Gage tells it, "I did not urge the matter much; I could not have the heart to do it, for our whole island seemed like a hospital—small-pox, chicken-pox, fevers, and all manner of diseases incident to the extreme hot month of August, prostrating them."[57] Gage's letter holds up the charity of the newly freed people, who surprise Gage with their generosity despite their own suffering, to cynical, unsympathetic, or hateful Northerners—she points a finger most directly at participants and promulgators of the draft riots of 1863. The letter then turns to an anecdote about "Old Flora," who recalls her previous life working in the "nurse house" of her old master, the same building where she now lives as a free woman. In contrast to Flora's matter-of-fact description of the nurse house, Gage conjures a harrowing scene from the recent past:
the nurse house, where the child of three weeks old was thrown, when torn from its mother, while she was driven to the cotton field; the nurse house, where these human animals were to be reared for the auction-block, infants to cry themselves into ruptures and deformity, to gulp down sour hominy soup instead of their mother's milk, and to suck at a moldy bacon rind instead of the breast provided by nature. The nurse-room, where one-half of the stock died and was carried out at night, and buried in the "live oak bush" by the light of the pine-knot torch, by those who doubtless uttered a prayer and a thanksgiving to the good God for the deliverance of the little one, with every spadeful of earth thrown over its body.
Relaying both stories—about Flora's two lives in the nurse house and the generosity of the newly freed people—Gage identified herself as "a chronicler" who through her newspaper voice would affect change.
Gage's late-August Parris Island letter provides a useful context for situating her poem "Autumn Days in South Carolina," which was written for the National Anti-Slavery Standard and appeared in the paper on November 14, 1863 (see Figure 6). Gage's poem participates in a long tradition of newspaper poems ushering in new seasons. Simple on the surface, these poems would often use the changing of seasons as a metonym for more abstract changes in love (into or out of love) or as a stand-in for the human life cycle. On its most literal level, "Autumn Days in South Carolina" expresses gratitude for the departure of summer. Its opening lines welcome the advent of fall and the passing of the "fierce, hot suns of Summer days, with all their train of ills."[58] The lines recall Gage's August letter where "small-pox, chicken-pox, fevers, and all manner of diseases incident to the extreme hot month of August" brought great suffering.[59] The South Carolina autumn revitalizes where summer had killed, and the respite provided by autumn is in contrast to the experience of the season in the North, where the coming of fall means impending death. In the North, the dying leaves of fall give away the location of hunted animals when they move; in the South, the rabbit can move quietly as the grass gives silently under her feet, and she goes unnoticed by the hunter. Similarly, autumn winds, frosty in the North, "woo to life with gentlest touch the heather's purple bells" in South Carolina. This reversal, where the North is a place of death and the South is a place of life, may seem odd until set against the historical and geographic backdrop of the poem: South Carolina's free laborers are safer than many of their Northern counterparts. Gage had, after all, addressed her August letter to those Northern readers "who apologize for New York mobs, you who help to burn down colored orphan asylums and murder and hang negroes; you who hate and despise the black man, who slander and would herd him with the brute, divest him of every right."

Figure 6: "Autumn Days in South Carolina"

The first stanza of Frances D. Gage's poem "Autumn Days in South Carolina" as it appeared in the National Anti-Slavery Standard of November 14, 1863.

Finally, the advent of the new season in "Autumn Days in South Carolina" stands in for the passing of American slavery. This year, while the laborers gather their crops of white cotton, there "are found no blood-stains, black and grim." The live-oak bush that marked the burial ground for infant slaves in the nurse house scene from Gage's letter emerges in the poem "[wearing] its brightest green." The freedom of the Sea Islands' former slaves, however, is not universal, and the poem wonders whether the present season is in fact winter, not autumn at all. Apostrophizing the "sunny South," the poem's speaker asks
Is this the winter of thy years? Will war renew thy youth? And when its withering days are past, and treason's work is done, And every slave a freeman stands to shout a victory won; Oh sunny South! will not these days be by thy poets sung, And thousand harps to sing thy praise in numbers sweet be strung?
The literal autumn, which has brought so much relief to South Carolina, is part of a larger figurative winter for the South, the winter of war, and also the winter of slavery. By its end, the poem looks forward to spring—the beginning of life after slavery and after war and the coming perpetual spring of heaven. At first glance, it appears to be "these days"—particularly the end of slavery—that poets will sing. There is a lingering ambiguity in the reference to "these days" in Gage's lines, however. In fact, poets sang all the days of war in verse. They did so prolifically, and like "Autumn Days in South Carolina," much of the poetry of the war found a place in newspapers.

About This Edition

The example of "Autumn Days in South Carolina" raises many of the issues central to this edition. Although "Autumn Days" was written for the Standard, it appeared on the same day in the Anglo-African; the latter had also published "Letters from Mrs. F. D. Gage" a week after the correspondence appeared in the Standard.[60] To be sure, the reprinting of content among nineteenth-century newspapers is not irregular or uncommon by any stretch of the imagination. That "Autumn Days" was published on the same day in both papers, even as it was original to the Standard, however, suggests the possibility of a close relationship between the newspapers—the type of relationship Gardner seems to imagine, but which has gone heretofore unexplored. At the least, it provides evidence about reprint pathways and connections between the African American press and the abolitionist press during the Civil War period.
In a related fashion, "Autumn Days" invites exploration of original verse written "for" a given title—in this case, for the Standard—and of "borrowed" or "selected" text. Those poems that editors borrowed from books, periodicals, and newspapers form part of our edition's story, a story that highlights poetry in transformative publication contexts and reads poetry as created in part by those contexts. That is, the Anglo-African and National Anti-Slavery Standard versions of "Autumn Days in South Carolina" are each a unique expression of the poem, despite the fact that they share exactly the same words, grammar, and syntax. Traditionally, all that has been conceded is that such printings are marked by different material manifestations;[61] at the level of expression, they have been flattened into a single entity, unless "meaningful" textual differences are apparent. To this end, anthologies and editions identify one instance of a poem to reproduce, sometimes without making clear the source of the text.[62] Less often, an anthology may offer multiple expressions of a poem, if the expressions are markedly identifiable as different. In pointed contrast to this paradigm, which elides, flattens, and distorts the American literary record, the present edition offers to readers nearly two dozen poems that appeared in both the Anglo-African and the National Anti-Slavery Standard, complete with transcriptions of the poem text in each instance and access to page images of the entire issues in which the poems appear.
"Autumn Days in South Carolina" also raises issues related to authorship central to this edition. In the pages of both the National Anti-Slavery Standard and the Anglo-African, Gage was an identifiable author to contemporary readers: regular readers of the papers would have a sense of who Gage was, according to the identity that had been constructed around her in the papers' pages, and their reading of her poetry and prose was no doubt informed by this understanding of Gage as the author. Other poems published in the Anglo-African and Standard carried both the cachet and the meaning attached to the names of major American authors, among them John Greenleaf Whittier. But in contrast to Whittier and Gage, many of the newspapers' poems were published anonymously, with authorship masked by a missing byline, a pseudonym, or untraceable initials.[63] Literary and cultural scholars have tended to regard anonymous publication as a stop along the way to professional authorship, as a mark of inconsequential or ephemeral literature, or as only a puzzle to be solved. Anonymity, however, was a fundamental characteristic of nineteenth-century American literary culture. Within this edition, then, readers will find poems by leading nineteenth-century poets, poems by poets well known in their own time but only recently recovered in ours, and poems by writers unknown then as well as today. One of the aims of our edition is to expose and problematize the unit of the author as the primary organizational model and as the requisite point of access for this body of work.[64]
Our edition, like the January 30, 1864, issue of the Anglo-African, for example, features both Frances Ellen Watkins Harper's "The Dying Mother" and John Randolph, Jr.'s, "Emancipation Song." The Anglo-African carried "The Dying Mother," attributed to "Frances E. W. Harper," a household name for readers of the paper, on page 1 and the longer "Emancipation Song," attributed to "J. R.—— J.," on page 4. Both Harper's poem and the "Emancipation Song" were labeled as having been written "For the Anglo-African." Editors and compositors routinely placed such signposts at the head of original poems—before titles, authorial attributions, datelines, and publication attributions—but these markers rarely feature in critical discussions or anthologies of nineteenth-century newspaper poetry, which tend to disregard them as part of a textual frame so familiar as to be invisible. The transcriptions in our edition treat such labels as part of the poem or song text, which advertised novelty and an affiliation with a particular newspaper. In the case of a well-known author like Harper, this affiliation might consolidate the publication's status. But the labels also helped nineteenth-century readers to situate anonymous texts within meaningful frames of reference. For Anglo-African readers who did not recognize "J. R.—— J." as a reference to John Randolph, Jr.,[65] and thus encountered "Emancipation Song" as an anonymous text, the subject, dateline, and "for the" label must have been as significant as the authorial attribution. "Washington, N. C., Jan. 1, 1864" situated the song as a Southern response to the first anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. Like the letters that touring editor Robert Hamilton dated from occupied towns in Virginia and North Carolina, the song had traveled north and comprised a variety of reportage. Here, and elsewhere in our edition, originality and anonymity emerge as concepts at once significant and flexible. The printed song "for" Anglo-African readers was also written for a community celebration in North Carolina; the point here is not to challenge the song's "originality" but rather to recognize that the song could be both at once.
The poems in this edition represent a sampling of poems from the Anglo-African and the National Anti-Slavery Standard over a yearlong period, May 1863 through April 1864. Like many Civil War–era newspapers, the Anglo-African and the National Anti-Slavery Standard did not distinguish between poems and song lyrics (as in the case of "Emancipation Song" above); both forms found place in their poetry columns. Our edition follows the same practice. The close relation of poetry and song makes distinctions "problematic," as described by Christian McWhirter;[66] lyrics intended to be set to music did not always carry telltale markers like references to tunes or a chorus, because many contemporaries would have recognized the tunes without such cues. "John Brown's Body" was one of the most popular—and recognizable—Union songs. Associated with abolitionist martyr John Brown and his militant antislavery message, the tune lent itself to narratives of African American emancipation and military triumph. Randolph was one of a host of writers who produced new lyrics for the march—among them, A. P. Smith ("A War Song for the Black Volunteers," Anglo-African, October 10, 1863), D. W. ("John Brown's March," Anglo-African, November 14, 1863), and Capt. Lindley Miller ("Marching Song of the First Arkansas," Anglo-African, March 5, 1864). Their verses involve much less repetition and much more narrative detail than the "original" lyrics, which emphasize refrain lines.[67]
The time frame of the edition enabled the presentation of several poems per month per title and framed a temporal perspective, one that reveals patterns in reprint pathways, regular contributors, and thematic concerns. These patterns may themselves be suggestive of editorial—and possibly readerly—practices. In addition to poems from May 1863 to April 1864, the edition includes several later poems through the end of the war and its immediate aftermath that are significant in the contexts of the patterns described above. These later poems therefore invite readers to read across the edition's temporal boundaries and to recognize the artificiality of such periodization. Readers should keep in mind that a fundamental aim of the edition is to illuminate connections and continuities between the newspapers, rather than to focus on disruptions or to attempt a comprehensive overview of the type of poems and range of verse published in the newspapers. This aim shapes the narrative that emerges in our edition about the newspapers and their poems, but this story is not the only one to be told about the newspapers or their poems. We hope our edition will invite further exploration of poems published in the Anglo-African and National Anti-Slavery Standard. The page images of complete issues included in our edition provide one place to start this work, as all the issues represented in the edition include more poems than we have been able to treat.
Verse appeared in the Anglo-African and the National Anti-Slavery Standard in a variety of contexts, including in columns devoted to poetry, within correspondence, editorials, and articles, and within obituaries. For the purposes of this edition, we have focused on complete, full-length poems that were not part of larger articles or editorials and specifically on those poems that appeared in established poetry columns (typically on pages 1 and 4 of an issue). Across these poems, we have sought a balance between pieces identified within the paper as "original" (written for a specific newspaper) and "selected" (reprinted from another newspaper or other source). Our focus on full-length "stand-alone" poems emerges from practical and theoretical concerns, which are not exclusive of one another. A single issue of either newspaper might include as many as four or six pieces of poetic content. These numbers mean that somewhere between two and three hundred poems were published in each newspaper over the course of a single year. Focusing on "stand-alone" poems usefully narrows the field of possibilities and brings a sense of cohesiveness to the edition. Poetic content published in other textual circumstances, such as in death notices or within larger articles, performed different work and is differently framed for interpretative acts. Attempting to capture the full range of possibilities in this edition would have been to choose breadth over depth and would have become unwieldy. Texts embedded within articles, editorials, correspondence, obituaries, and advertisements certainly count as poetry, and they should be part of the critical discussion about public poetry, the cultural work of poetry, and the relationship of newspapers and poetry in the nineteenth century. Again, we encourage readers to identify other poems in the page images presented here and to undertake their own analyses of these poems, both within the context of our edition and beyond.

Transcription and Encoding

This edition has been encoded according to the P5 guidelines of the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI). Each poem in the edition is represented in a TEI file, which also represents a single issue of a newspaper (the issue in which the poem appears). The basic architecture of each file is a TEI header, followed by a facsimile section, followed by a text section. The TEI header offers bibliographic information about the newspaper issue and the poem represented in the facsimile and text sections, respectively. In addition, the header includes standardized references to the authors and publishers of the newspaper and poem, as well as keywords relevant to the poem, using Library of Congress name authorities and subject headings whenever possible.[68]
Within our edition, the purpose of the facsimile section of each file is to represent, on a very basic level, the entirety of a newspaper issue. Implicit in this file architecture and encoding is an argument that the textual contexts in which newspaper poems appear are fundamental to understanding and interpreting these texts. Ideally, readers of newspaper poems would have access to accurate transcriptions of entire issues, in order to more easily study the textual environment of the poems. Completing accurate transcriptions of entire newspaper issues, however, is impractical—impossible—for the current edition and, indeed, for most imagined editions. In a future expanded project we aim to offer descriptive summaries of complete newspaper issues as part of the facsimile section of a TEI file, potentially including an index to the issue. In this edition, the facsimile section of a file documents each page of a newspaper as a textual "surface" and includes encoding to link each surface to a digital image of that page (thus, a facsimile edition). Finally, following the facsimile section, the text section represents the encoded transcription of the poem.[69] This framework thus situates each poem within its newspaper context and, while documenting and facilitating access to page images of the larger issue, prioritizes the poem as the edited text.
Our poem transcriptions are semi-diplomatic transcriptions of the source texts. We have retained lineation—including line breaks ostensibly necessitated by a column's width—hyphenation, punctuation, variant spellings, and errors present in the source text. We have not, however, attempted to capture all aspects of the original formatting or layout, such as typeface or type size. For each poem, we have transcribed all text that we regard to be part of the poem as presented in the newspaper, including notes by newspaper editors and poem authors, headlines and multiple titles, and other prefatory material, such as details about the composition of a poem. In making decisions about the transcription of such paratexts, we have relied on our understanding of nineteenth-century newspaper conventions. Nineteenth-century newspapers include a variety of visual cues, among them horizontal bars of varying lengths and headlines of various sizes, to both group and partition textual content. Our decisions about what to transcribe have been informed by these visual cues, in addition to evidence gleaned by reading the poems and surrounding text. If the relationship of a paratextual element to a poem is unclear or questionable, we have included the paratext, preferring to err on the side of including too much (and believing that the entirety of the newspaper is, essentially, paratext to the poem) rather than excluding significant information.
Our encoding within the text section of a TEI file extends to the level of the poetic line, and we have not encoded linguistic or metrical features within poetic lines. Yet certain in-line features are encoded: idiosyncratically, archaically, and erroneously spelled words; text that is missing or unclear; words that are graphically emphasized in some way, such as with italics or with small capital letters; and foreign words. In the case of idiosyncratic, archaic, and erroneous spellings, the encoding offers a choice in readings, presenting both the word as it actually appears in the text and a regularized or corrected version of the word. We have not, however, encoded British spellings or words used in a contracted form for poetic effect (such as o'er and where'er) in this fashion, unless the spelling or poetic rendering is obscure or potentially confusing. Our motivation in identifying idiosyncratic, archaic, and erroneous words is to signal errors in the original and to provide the reader with helpful glosses of antiquated terms or less common word forms. Likewise, if individual characters, complete words, or phrases are obscured or missing, whether due to damage of the original or microfilm, or to some other cause, we have encoded missing text as a "gap" in the transcription and have identified unclear text as such. In some instances, we have been able to supply missing text from another source (another version of the poem, such as a book publication or other periodical printing). Supplied text has always been encoded as supplied, with the source of the supplied text identified in the TEI header. We acknowledge, and readers should keep in mind, that the supplied text may not accurately reproduce the text as it actually appeared in the Anglo-African or National Anti-Slavery Standard version. Acknowledging this possibility and offering as complete a transcription as possible, however, is preferable to frustrating readers with missing words and lines.

Using This Edition

Poem Index

The poems in this edition are accessible via the "Poem Index" link at the top of this page and directly here. By default, the poems are presented in chronological order by date of publication. Several alternative sorting options are also available:
  1. alphabetically by title of poem
  2. grouped by newspaper and then sorted chronologically (Thus, all poems in the Anglo-African are in chronological order by date of publication, followed by all poems in the National Anti-Slavery Standard in chronological order by date of publication.)
  3. alphabetically by author
  4. alphabetically by attribution
The difference between sorting by author and sorting by attribution is significant, both intellectually for the work of our edition and practically. The distinction is meant to distinguish between the information available on the newspaper page at the time a poem was published—thus the information about authorship every reader of the poem in the newspaper would have had—and what we know today about the authorship of a poem. Sorting by attribution lists the poems according to the name, initials, or pseudonym under which the poems were actually published in the newspapers; poems that were unattributed in their newspaper printing are identified with "[Unsigned]." Hovering over the attribution (which appears with a subtle dashed underline) with the computer pointer will provide further information about the author of the poem, including an authority version of the author's name from the Library of Congress, if available, a standardized version of the author's name, or the fact that the name of the author is unknown (see Figure 7).

Figure 7: Poems Sorted by Attribution

Screenshot showing a selection of poems sorted by attribution and demonstrating the point and hover technique for viewing additional information about a poem's author.

Conversely, sorting by author sorts the poems according to authority versions of the authors' names, as encoded in the TEI files. For example, Frances E. W. Harper's poems in the Anglo-African and National Anti-Slavery Standard were published with several attributions: Frances E. W. Harper, Frances E. Watkins Harper, F. E. W. Harper. Sorted only by attribution, these poems would not group together. Sorting by author, however, relies on the authority version of Harper's name, established by the Library of Congress: "Harper, Frances Ellen Watkins, 1825–1911" (see Figure 8). The author sort uses this standardized name information as a means to group poems by the same author, regardless of how a poem was attributed in its newspaper printing. In this presentation, the bibliographic information includes the attribution of a poem as it appeared in the newspaper as well as standardized name information about the author, as we know it today.

Figure 8: Poems Sorted by Author

Screenshot showing a selection of poems sorted by author (the bracketed information in each entry).

For the purposes of this edition, we have not provided a thematic or keyword sort feature, despite our encoding of Library of Congress subject headings in each file. Presently, the subject headings included in each file are too broad to make them useful for sorting poems within this edition. A broad swath of poems in the edition, for example, are identified with the subject heading "Slavery--United States--History--19th century." The fact that so many poems within the edition have this subject heading means that the utility of this heading as a way to identify select poems on a specific theme is not great. At this stage, our inclusion of these headings or keywords within the edition actually looks outward from the edition, to the possible inclusion of specific poems represented here in other projects, such as in future electronic editions or online public access catalogs.

Reading the Newspapers and the Poems

Once a user has clicked through to read a poem from the Poem Index, she has the opportunity to view digital images of the complete issue of the newspaper in which the poem appeared; a digital image of the poem as it appeared in the newspaper; and our transcription of the poem, complete with annotations. See Figure 9 for details on viewing these different pieces of the edition.

Figure 9: Poem Interface

Annotated screenshot highlighting image and textual content available for each poem in the edition.

Our aim has been to keep the scholarly apparatus of the edition as unobtrusive as possible. In the graphical interface (as opposed to the TEI files), footnotes constitute the bulk of the editorial/scholarly apparatus. In some instances, however, color coding or other such cues convey important information about the poem text as presented in this edition.
In our transcription of the poems, where we have encoded text within the TEI "choice" tag as a means of providing an alternate reading of individual characters or entire words, such text appears with a subtle dashed underline. For example, John Greenleaf Whittier's poem "Mithridates at Chios," published in the National Anti-Slavery Standard of May 16, 1863, uses an irregular spelling of "Mithridates," which is more regularly spelled "Mithradates." We have encoded Whittier's spelling within the TEI "choice" tag in order to offer both Whittier's original spelling and the more regular spelling. "Mithridates" thus appears with a dashed underline, and hovering over the word presents the reader with the regularized spelling (in the same fashion as hovering over an attribution on the Poem Index provides the authority version of the author's name).
Sometimes part of a poem's text is unclear and we have not been able to transcribe a text with 100 percent certainty. In the case of unclear text, our encoding marks such text as unclear, and we have declared a level of certainty for our proposed reading (either "low," "medium," or "high"). In the web browser, text that we have encoded as unclear is presented in shades of gray. Text for which we have a low degree of certainty about our reading appears in light gray, text for which we have a medium degree of certainty about our reading appears in a slightly darker shade, and text for which we have a high degree of certainty about our reading appears in dark gray. The figure below (Figure 10), a screenshot of "Our Dark-Brown Mother," illustrates this color coding for representing unclear text.

Figure 10: Unclear Text

Gray color coding of unclear text, signaling degree of certainty of proposed reading.

Here, we offer the words "heirs" and "toiled" with a low degree of certainty, while we offer the word "bronzed" with a medium degree of certainty.
In some cases, we have had to rely on external primary texts in order to offer as complete a transcription of a poem as possible. In instances where we have relied on an external text, we have used the TEI "supplied" tag. In the web browser, text encoded as supplied is rendered in red, and the first note in the "Notes" section for the poem offers the source of the supplied text. (See Figure 11, from John Greenleaf Whittier's "In War-Time," published in the Anglo-African of June 27, 1863.)

Figure 11: Supplied Text

Screenshots showing text encoded as "supplied" rendered in red in the browser and giving the source of the supplied text in the "Notes" section.

In some poems, text is illegible or missing altogether, and we have not been able to supply a reading of the text from an outside source. In these cases, we have encoded a gap in the transcription, with a description of the reason for the gap and the extent of the missing text. "Our Dark-Brown Mother" illustrates this feature as well. In the line beginning "She sits there, with her long," we have been unable to make out one word, because of the illegibility of the printed text in the microfilm consulted. Therefore, in this edition, the full line reads, "She sits there, with her long and [one word illegible] fingers." Whenever possible, we have identified alternate printings of a text, in order to supply missing characters or words and avoid the awkward reading experience such apparatus presents. As we have warned above, however, readers should keep in mind that the supplied text may not accurately reproduce the text as it actually appeared in the Anglo-African or National Anti-Slavery Standard version.

Doing More with the Edition

"'Shall not these days . . .'" is part of a larger ongoing editorial project on newspaper poetry. Mid-nineteenth-century poetic texts existed in flux; so, too, will our editorial project. We aim to develop its comparative aspect with a supplement comprised of "original" and "selected" poems published in the weekly Christian Recorder in the same year during the Civil War. As Eric Gardner has noted, the Anglo-African and the African Methodist Episcopal Church's Philadelphia-based Recorder figured prominently in each other's exchange lists, and personal notices in one title often requested the other to "copy."[70] The Recorder's poetry column offers a new perspective on this relationship and prompts important questions.
This edition is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. This license enables others to derive copies of and distribute the edition, so long as the copies and distribution are for noncommercial purposes, credit this edition, and are created and disseminated under the same terms. Likewise, the license enables others to remix and build on the work we have begun in this edition—and we encourage transformative reuse—provided any derivative projects are noncommercial, shared under the same terms, and credit this edition.


We are grateful for the encouragement and support we have received in the creation of this edition. We simply could not have completed the project without Kristen Treen, PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge and assistant editor extraordinaire. We also wish to thank, for assistance of all kinds, Susan Belasco, Department of English, University of Nebraska–Lincoln; Anthony Bowen of Jesus College; Amanda Gailey and Andrew Jewell, editors of Scholarly Editing; Abigail Lien, undergraduate research assistant, University of Nebraska–Lincoln; Dr. Sarah Meer of Selwyn College, Cambridge; Elizabeth Watts Pope of the American Antiquarian Society; Kenneth M. Price, Department of English, University of Nebraska–Lincoln; John Schwaninger, undergraduate research assistant, University of Nebraska–Lincoln; the interlibrary loan departments of Cambridge University Library and Love Library, University of Nebraska–Lincoln; and the staff of the British Library. To our families, we owe a tremendous debt of gratitude for their forbearance.


  1. Junius Henri Browne, The Great Metropolis; A Mirror of New York (Hartford: American Publishing Company, 1869), 382.Go back
  2. Browne, Great Metropolis, 383, 384.Go back
  3. Elizabeth McHenry, Forgotten Readers: Recovering the Lost History of African American Literary Societies (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2002), 137.Go back
  4. This figure has been derived from Matthew Dripps, Map of New York and Vicinity. Published by M. Dripps, New York. 103 Fulton St. 1863. Entered . . . 1862, by M. Dripps . . . New York (1863). Original digital image of entire map courtesy of the David Rumsey Map Collection (, image number 3428001), made available under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0 license.Go back
  5. The phrase is taken from Eric Gardner, Unexpected Places: Relocating Nineteenth-Century African American Literature (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2009).Go back
  6. Interest in newspapers as sites of American literature has grown steadily since the early 2000s, with an increasing emphasis in recent years. Paula Bernat Bennett, Charles Johanningsmeier, and Meredith McGill established the newspaper as an area of study for American literature scholars in their foundational works. See Bennett, Poets in the Public Sphere: The Emancipatory Project of American Women's Poetry, 1800–1900 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003); Johanningsmeier, Fiction and the American Literary Marketplace: The Role of Newspaper Syndicates in America, 1860–1900 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002); and McGill, American Literature and the Culture of Reprinting, 1834–1853 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003). Significantly, the nineteenth-century newspaper has become an important site for recovery work. See also Eric Gardner, Unexpected Places: Relocating Nineteenth-Century African American Literature.
    Much of the discussion surrounding newspapers has centered on the Civil War years and Civil War poetry, no doubt in part because of the sesquicentennial of the war, but also because of the rich textual and material record produced during the period. See Faith Barrett, To Fight Aloud Is Very Brave: American Poetry and the Civil War (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2012); Faith Barrett and Cristanne Miller, Words for the Hour: A New Anthology of American Civil War Poetry (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2005); Michael Cohen, "Contraband Singing: Poems and Songs in Circulation During the Civil War," American Literature 82, no. 2 (June 2010): 271–304; Alice Fahs, The Imagined Civil War (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001); Ellen Gruber Garvey, Writing with Scissors: American Scrapbooks from the Civil War to the Harlem Renaissance (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012) and "Anonymity, Authorship, and Recirculation: A Civil War Episode," Book History 9 (2006): 159–75; and Eliza Richards, "Correspondent Lines: Poetry, Journalism, and the US Civil War," ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance 54, nos. 1–4 (2008): 145–70.
    Likewise there is developing critical study of the public presence and uses of poetry in the nineteenth– and twentieth-century United States. See Mike Chasar, Everyday Reading: Poetry and Popular Culture in Modern America (New York: Columbia University Press, 2012), and Joan Shelley Rubin, Songs of Ourselves: The Uses of Poetry in America (Cambridge: Belknap Press, 2007).
    Go back
  7. Eric Gardner, "Remembered (Black) Readers: Subscribers to the Christian Recorder, 1864–1865," American Literary History 23, no. 2 (2011): 247.Go back
  8. "Our Paper," Anglo-African, July 23, 1859, p. 2.Go back
  9. Hamilton may have drawn on debates about the desirability of a national black press that took place at the "National Convention of Colored People and Their Friends" in Troy, New York (1847). See The Frederick Douglass Papers: Correspondence, 1842–1852, ed. John R. McKivigan (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), 1:261n.Go back
  10. John R. McKivigan, Forgotten Firebrand: James Redpath and the Making of Nineteenth-Century America (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2008), 69; The Black Abolitionist Papers: The United States, 1859–1865, ed. C. Peter Ripley (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1992), 5:39–40n.Go back
  11. Christian Recorder, May 25, 1861, p. 2Go back
  12. The Black Abolitionist Papers: The United States, 1859–1865, ed. C. Peter Ripley (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1992), 5:28.Go back
  13. "Introductory," Anglo-African, July 27, 1861, p. 2.Go back
  14. "An Appeal," National Anti-Slavery Standard, August 1, 1863, p. 3.Go back
  15. Christian Recorder, July 29, 1865, p. 3.Go back
  16. Seeking to secure new subscribers, Robert toured the region around Washington, DC, and Norfolk, Virginia, during the period September 1863–February 1864. After attending the National Convention for Colored Men at the beginning of October 1864, he set out again—this time headed for the West and Southwest. His second tour (October 1864–June 1865) took him from New York to Tennessee, via Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky. Thomas's death brought him home.Go back
  17. "Obituary," Anglo-African, June 10, 1865, p. 3.Go back
  18. "To Our Western, South-western, and Southern Readers," Anglo-African, June 17, 1865, p. 2.Go back
  19. Debra Jackson, "A Black Journalist in Civil War Virginia: Robert Hamilton and the Anglo-African," Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 116 (2008): 45. Jackson's article offers the fullest biographical treatment of Robert Hamilton to date.Go back
  20. Jackson, "Black Journalist in Civil War Virginia," 44–47; Ripley, Black Abolitionist Papers, 5:27–28.Go back
  21. Donald F. Joyce, Black Book Publishers in the United States: A Historical Dictionary of the Presses, 1817–1990 (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1991), 117; Colored American, July 1, 1837, p. 2; "A Call for a State Convention to Extend the Elective Franchise," Colored American, July 17, 1841, p. 3.Go back
  22. McKivigan, "To the Colored Citizens of the State of New York," Frederick Douglass Papers, January 15, 1852, p. 3; Craig Steven Wilder, A Covenant with Color: Race and Social Power in Brooklyn (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000), 73.Go back
  23. Ripley, Black Abolitionist Papers, 5:9; Anglo-African, November 16, 1861, p. 2.Go back
  24. Anglo-African, December 12, 1863, p. 1.Go back
  25. Anglo-African, June 17, 1865, p. 2.Go back
  26. Editorial, Weekly Anglo-African, April 27, 1861, quoted by Donald Yacovone, ed., in A Voice of Thunder: A Black Soldier's Civil War (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998), 14.Go back
  27. Anglo-African, August 17, 1861, p. 2.Go back
  28. Editorial, Anglo-African, March 7, 1863, p. 2.Go back
  29. For the Fifty-Fourth and Fifty-Fifth Massachusetts Regiments, see "To Colored Military Men," Anglo-African, May 2, 1863, p. 3, and June 20, 1863, p. 3. For the Rhode Island Heavy Artillery (Colored), see "A Grand Opportunity For Colored Men to Enlist!," Anglo-African, October 10, 1863, p. 3.Go back
  30. "From the 54th Mass. Regiment," letter dated May 1, 1863, Anglo-African, May 9, 1863, p. 3.Go back
  31. De Waltigo, "Letter from the Fifty-Fifth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers," Anglo-African, April 30, 1864, p. 1.Go back
  32. Mon, "From the Fifty-Fifth Massachusetts Volunteers," Anglo-African, May 21, 1864, p. 1.Go back
  33. De Waltigo; Mon; Yacovone, Voice of Thunder, 59.Go back
  34. See "Our Paper for the Colored Soldiers," Anglo-African, January 16, 1864, p. 2. Eric Gardner notes that the Christian Recorder issued a similar appeal. See "Remembered (Black) Readers," 248.Go back
  35. There has been no detailed study of the names in the Anglo-African's lists; this work is being completed by Rebecca Weir, on the model Eric Gardner outlines in "Remembered (Black) Readers: Subscribers to the Christian Recorder, 1864–1865." There are suggestive similarities between the titles' lists; see, for example, the large number of group subscriptions associated with USCT regiments.Go back
  36. National Anti-Slavery Standard, June 11, 1840, p. 2. Carolyn L. Karcher has pointed out that this position gave the Standard a split identity: "Neither the paper's sponsors nor its editors could seem to agree on whether its mission was to reunify abolitionists around their original ideals or to attack deviations from what Garrisonian radicals considered the correct line." See Karcher, The First Woman in the Republic: A Cultural Biography of Lydia Maria Child (Durham: Duke University Press, 1994), 268.Go back
  37. John R. McKivigan, "Johnson, Oliver," in American National Biography Online.Go back
  38. National Anti-Slavery Standard, May 28, 1853, p. 2.Go back
  39. John Stauffer, ed., The Works of James McCune Smith: Black Intellectual and Abolitionist (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 114.Go back
  40. National Anti-Slavery Standard, December 29, 1860, p. 2; May 11, 1861, p. 2; January 10, 1863, p. 2.Go back
  41. "Anti-Slavery Patriotism," National Anti-Slavery Standard, March 14, 1863, p. 2; "One Thing Needful,"National Anti-Slavery Standard, May 30, 1863, p. 2.Go back
  42. Ibid.Go back
  43. "The Office of Abolitionists," National Anti-Slavery Standard, February 28, 1863, p. 2.Go back
  44. Letter dated June 20, 1864, William Lloyd Garrison to Oliver Johnson, in The Letters of William Lloyd Garrison: Let the Oppressed Go Free, 1861–1867, ed. Walter M. Merrill (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1979), 5:214.Go back
  45. "When Are the Anti-Slavery Societies to Be Disbanded?," National Anti-Slavery Standard, February 6, 1864, p. 2.Go back
  46. "The Standard for the Soldiers," May 30, 1863, National Anti-Slavery Standard, p. 2.Go back
  47. Radical Abolitionist, October 1858, p. 1.Go back
  48. New York Herald, quoted in the Anglo-African, April 14, 1860, p. 2.Go back
  49. Record of Assessment, Manhattan, 2nd Ward, 1842–64.Go back
  50. Brother Jonathan, February 19, 1853, p. 1.Go back
  51. Anglo-African, August 6, 1864, p. 2.Go back
  52. "Advance in Price," National Anti-Slavery Standard, December 29, 1862, p. 2; letter from William Lloyd Garrison to Oliver Johnson, dated December 14, 1862, in Merrill, Letters of William Lloyd Garrison, 5:129.Go back
  53. Clarence Day, "Mr. Day Viewed by a Grandson," New York Sun, September 2, 1933, p. 31.Go back
  54. Following Thomas Hamilton's death, one of his obituaries indicated, "It had long been the hope of Mr Hamilton to have a well-stocked printing–office attached to the Anglo-African, in which colored youth might learn the art of printing." This detail suggests that the Anglo-African did not have its own press and must have shared another one. See the Anglo-African, June 10, 1865, p. 3.Go back
  55. Anglo-African, August 13, 1859, p. 3.Go back
  56. See Gardner, "Remembered (Black) Readers."Go back
  57. "Letters from Mrs. F. D. Gage," National Anti-Slavery Standard, September 26, 1863, p. 1.Go back
  58. Frances D. Gage, "Autumn Days in South Carolina," National Anti-Slavery Standard, November 14, 1863, p. 4.Go back
  59. The dedication of "Autumn Days in South Carolina"—"to Miss Clara Barton, the heroine of the Potomac"—further underscores the connection between the coming of autumn and relief from summer's illnesses.Go back
  60. Lest one think the seeming simultaneous publication of the poem can be explained by one of the papers postdating its issues (in which the issue would bear the date of the following week, rather than that of the week in which it was published), the date on the front page of both the Anglo-African and the National Anti-Slavery Standard matched the date of their actual week of publication. This fact can be gleaned from internal evidence in each of the papers, including birth, death, and marriage announcements, news reportage, and dates of correspondence. The issue of the Anglo-African dated October 3, 1863, for example, includes a death announcement for September 27. If the paper were dated October 3 but actually published the previous week (September 26), it could not have carried this announcement. Similarly, the issue of the National Anti-Slavery Standard dated November 14, 1863, includes correspondence dated November 9. If the Standard were dated November 14 but actually published the previous week (November 7), it could not have carried correspondence dated to November 9. These facts leave open the possibility that one or both newspapers were available earlier in the week than Saturday, but even if the Standard was available on, say, Thursday, while the Anglo-African went to press later in the week, the timing of the publication of "Autumn Days in South Carolina" in both papers is unusual and suggests some form of cooperation.Go back
  61. The vocabulary here, of expression, manifestation, and work, draws on the language of the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records, established by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. See We do not, however, employ the terms in the sense of cataloging. Rather, the terminology provides a way for getting at the complicated issues present in framing newspaper poems.Go back
  62. The failure to identify a source text is more common in anthologies than in editions.Go back
  63. Robert J. Griffin has defined anonymity as "the absence of reference to the legal name of the writer"; see "Anonymity and Authorship," New Literary History 30, no. 4 (1999): 882.Go back
  64. As Lara Langer Cohen and Jordan Alexander Stein recently observed, "critical investigation into the idea of authorship complicates—and therefore does not and should not displace"—attention to racialization or its historically lived experience." Cohen and Stein, introduction to Early African American Print Culture (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012), 14.Go back
  65. The issue also included a detailed account of the anniversary celebrations in Washington, North Carolina. Writing about the celebrations, "Freedman" reported that "Randolph's Emancipation Song" had featured in the program, and that the proclamation had been read by "Miss Randolph, a little girl five years old." Washington's black community knew that "Randolph" was John Randolph, Jr., (1827–1890?). Born into slavery near Washington, he became one of New Bern's political leaders during the war. The Anglo-African files suggest that song and the newspaper played a notable role in Randolph's activism: two more "original" political songs attributed to "J. R. Jr." appear in issues dated February 6, 1864 ("The Union") and March 11, 1865 ("Equal Rights League Song").Go back
  66. Christian McWhirter, Battle Hymns: The Power and Popularity of Music in the Civil War (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2012), 215.Go back
  67. "John Brown's Song," in The Rebellion Record: A Diary of American Events, With Documents, Narratives, Illustrated Incidents, Poetry Etc., ed. Frank Moore (New York: G. P. Putnam, 1862), 2:105.Go back
  68. Name authorities and subject headings have been derived from If the Library of Congress does not maintain an authority record for an author or other individual, we have standardized the name according to the convention last name, first name, and middle initial (e.g., Smith, Alfred P.). In some cases, only partial information about the name of an author is known, and in others, initials or a pseudonym comprise all that is known. In these cases, the authority version of the name is given as "Unknown."Go back
  69. Where we have selected and edited more than one poem from an issue, that issue is itself represented in multiple files (all of which point to the same page images).Go back
  70. Gardner, "Remembered (Black) Readers."Go back