Fair Use Blog

Volumes I and II of The Liberator now available in facsimile PDFs

To-day I am happy to announce that facsimile PDFs of the entire first and second volumes (1831-1832) of William Lloyd Garrison’s radical Abolitionist newspaper, The Liberator are now available in the Fair Use Repository. 52 full issues per year, 4pp each, in PDF facsimiles of the original papers; a few articles have been transcribed into HTML, with more to come.

See Vol. I and Vol. II of The Liberator online at the Fair Use Repository.

Garrison’s Liberator, running from 1831–1865, was the most prominent periodical of radical Abolition in the united states. Proclaiming, in the first issue, that:

… I am aware, that many object to the severity of my language; but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation. No! no! Tell a man whose house is on fire, to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hand of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; — but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD.

… Garrison, together with the circle of black and white radicals that his paper attracted, helped organize, and offered a forum for, spent the next 35 years arguing for the immediate abolition of slavery, the end of racial prejudice and “American Colorphobia,” and insisting that emancipation could only truly come about by inspiring a radical moral and social transformation — urging a politics of radicalizing conscience, and denying that electoral gamesmanship, partisan politics, or political compromise would ever bring about liberation on their own. In the age of the Fugitive Slave Acts, the Garrisonians denounced the united states Constitution as a weapon of the slavers, “A Compromise with Death and an Agreement with Hell.” Rejecting the use of either political gamesmanship or military force as a means of overcoming the slave system, they argued for Disunion (“No Union with Slaveholders, religiously or politically”), holding that the Northern free states should secede from the Union, thus peacefully withdrawing the Federal economic, political and military support that the Slave Power depended on, and (they argued) driving the slave system to collapse, by kicking out the Constitutional compromises that propped it up. Garrison and his circle, against the condemnation of more conservative anti-slavery activists, also constantly drew parallels and connections between the struggle against slavery and other struggles for social liberation, taking early and courageous stances in defense of women’s rights and international peace.

These first two volumes are part of a project in progress, with the ultimate aim being to make all 35 years of The Liberator available in full on the web. The full-issue PDFs are scanned from the reproductions available on microfilm (American Periodical Series, University Microfilms International, Ann Arbor, Mich.) through the Auburn University Libraries in Auburn, Alabama. Scans from other sources are welcome, if available, in order to supplement the collection when reproductions from the Auburn microform are illegible or defective. All the issues made available so far were scanned by Charles W. Johnson in May–November 2012. A great part of the inspiration for this project came from Shawn P. Wilbur’s magnificent work in producing an online archive for Benjamin Tucker’s Liberty. The reproductions of the issues in the microfilm that I used as my source were of varying quality. I hope to be able to run through soon and mark the issues whose reproductions have significant defects. (And eventually to put up alternate versions from a different microfilm source.) But in the meantime…

Read, cite, and enjoy!

3 Responses to “Volumes I and II of The Liberator now available in facsimile PDFs”

  1. Fair Use Blog » Blog Archive » Volumes 3 and 4 (Jan. 1833 – Dec. 1834) of The Liberator now available in facsimile PDFs Says:

    […] I mentioned in January, these newly-available volumes are part of a project in progress — the ultimate aim is to […]

  2. Fair Use Blog » Blog Archive » Six more volumes of The Liberator (Jan. 1835 – Dec. 1839, Jan. 1851 – Dec. 1851) now available in PDF Says:

    […] I mentioned when I began this project last year, these newly-available volumes are part of a work in progress — the ultimate aim is to make […]

  3. Fair Use Blog » Blog Archive » The Liberator in Full Online for Free: Scanning Project, Week 1 Says:

    […] time to time I have mentioned my ongoing project of making full issues of William Lloyd Garrison’s The Liberator available […]

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