"Slave Boy Brought to Waterbury from Bucks Hill by Aunt Ella Johnson's Second Husband (Whelan)"

Ninth-plate ambrotype, circa 1855


The identification is from a pencil inscription found behind this small but powerful portrait. A community named Bucks Hill is located in Pennsylvania, where this ambrotype was found. The inscription suggests this lad was freed and brought North, perhaps by abolitionists in Pennsylvania or Connecticut.

Documented photographs of slaves are very rare. Because ambrotypes are each made individually in the camera, this photograph is unique. It has never been published.



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