America during the 1800s: slavery, western expansion, war, immigration, progress. Here is a sampling of first person accounts by people who experienced life during those turbulent times.
Calls #s: 800s and 900s
Complete Poetry and Collected Prose by Walt WhitmanThis edition of Whitman's writings includes the autobiographical Specimen Days. It is also the only collection that includes, in exactly the form in which it appeared in 1855, the first edition of Leaves of Grass.
Call Number: 818 Whi
Publication Date: 1982-05-06
Two Years before the Mast and Other Voyages by Richard Henry Dana, Jr.This volume collects three sea-going travel narratives by Richard Henry Dana, Jr., that span 25 years of maritime history, from the age of sail to the age of steam. Suffering from persistent weakness in his eyes, Dana left Harvard at age 19 and sailed from Boston in 1834 as a common seaman.
Robert Whyte's 1847 Famine Ship Diary: The Journey of an Irish Coffin Ship by Robert WhyteThe voyage of the 'coffin ship' Ajax, from Dublin to Grosse Île, the Canadian quarantine station as described in the contemporary diary of one of the passengers, Robert Whyte. Whyte was a Protestant gentleman of education and position, as well as being a professional writer who intended to publish his diary. The diary appeared in 1848. It is signed in the author's own handwriting and features vivid descriptions of the spectacular scenery along the way and the striking delineations of the passengers, the crew and the suffering travelers.
Call Number: 941.5 Why
Publication Date: 1994-03-01
Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux by John G. NeihardtBlack Elk met the distinguished poet, writer, and critic John G. Neihardt in 1930 on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota… Neihardt understood and conveyed Black Elk's experiences in this powerful and inspirational message for all humankind. When Black Elk received his great vision, white settlers were invading the Lakotas' homeland, decimating buffalo herds, and threatening to extinguish the Lakotas' way of life. The Lakotas fought fiercely to retain their freedom and way of life, a dogged resistance that resulted in a remarkable victory at the Little Bighorn and an unspeakable tragedy at Wounded Knee.
Autobiographies by Frederick DouglassWriting with the eloquence and fierce intelligence that made him a brilliantly effective spokesman for the abolition of slavery and equal rights, Frederick Douglass shapes an inspiring vision of self-realization in the face of monumental odds.
Call Number: B Douglass
Publication Date: 1994-02-01
Call #s: Biography and Fiction
Geronimo's Story of His Life by GeronimoThis chronicle, recorded and edited by Stephen Melvil Barrett, details the life of the Apache Indian Geronimo. It is an important document in Native American history that allowed a chance for the voice of an oppressed people to be heard.
Call Number: B Geronimo
Publication Date: 2017-12-10
Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon NorthupA harrowing memoir about one of the darkest periods in American history. Born a free man in New York, Solomon Northup was abducted in Washington, D.C., in 1841 and spent the next twelve years of his life in captivity as a slave on a Louisiana cotton plantation. After his rescue, he published this exceptionally vivid and detailed account of slave life — perhaps the best written of all the slave narratives.
The Rough Riders: An Autobiography by Theodore RooseveltReformer, rancher, conservationist, hunter, historian, police commissioner, soldier, the youngest man ever to serve as President of the United States — no other American public figure has led as vigorous and varied a life as Theodore Roosevelt.
Novellas and Other Writings by Edith WhartonSix of the works of Edith Wharton: novels, novellas, and her renowned autobiography, A Backward Glance. Together they represent nearly a quarter century in the productive life of one of the most accomplished and admired of American writers.