Photobook: Frederick Douglass and Edinburgh, Old and New

Detail of Edinburgh Old and New by David Octavius Hill, 1847, photo by Amy Cools at the Hill & Adamson photography Exhibit at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, September 2017. In this view, the Firth of Forth is in the background, Calton Hill is at the right, Princes Street runs along the center at an angle with the Scott Monument at the center, and the Scottish National Gallery is at left, as seen from Edinburgh Castle.

Frederick Douglass wrote to William White on July 30th, 1846

‘I am now in Edinburgh. It is the capital of Scotland – and it is justly regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. I never saw one with which for beauty, elegance, and grandeur to compare it… The Monument to Sir Walter Scott – on Princes Street, is just one conglomeration of architectural beauties. The Calton Hill – Salisbury Crags and Arthur’s Seat give the city advantages over any city I have visited in this or in your country.’

The Scott Monument was finished just two years before Douglass’ visit. I walk near or among all of these places that Douglass writes of no less than several times a week. Oh, the wonder of it! – In the Main Reading Room of the National Library of Scotland with The Frederick Douglass Papers, Series III: Correspondence. Volume 1: 1842-1852, ed. John R. McKivigan.

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