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Declaration of the Anti-Slavery Convention

Contributed by Nick Sherman on Oct 12th, 2019. Artwork published in .
Declaration of the Anti-Slavery Convention 1
Source: License: Public Domain.

From James E. Arsenault & Company:

An exceedingly rare broadside printing on silk of the American Anti-Slavery Society’s inaugural document, establishing the Society as the main activist arm of the American Abolition Movement which pushed for the immediate abolition of slavery in the U.S. […]

Issued by the AASS following their inaugural Philadelphia convention, this remarkable broadside calls for a “National Anti-Slavery Society” through promulgating a “Declaration of Sentiments.” Printed in two columns, the Declaration, written by Garrison, pointedly builds upon the spirit and principles of the American Revolution, and demands the immediate cessation of slavery throughout the entire United States. […]

Garrison’s text is surmounted by a wood-engraving by Reuben S. Gilbert (active 1833–1846). The classical illustration of Hercules and the Nemean lion is here powerfully repurposed to illustrate a verse from Psalm 91: “Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.” […]

Printers Merrihew & Gunn of Philadelphia are known to have published other abolitionist materials

The titling text is set in Caslon’s Italian (or a very similar imitation) accompanied by Meridian Shade(d) for sub-titling, and some kind of Modern/Scotch serif for the body text. There is also an abundance of decorative borders framing and dividing the composition.

The Library of Congress offers a high-resolution image of another copy of the broadside where the type can be inspected in detail (view the full-quality 27.6 MB TIFF to avoid lossy image compression that otherwise makes the type hard to evaluate).

A detail from a high-res image hosted by the Library of Congress
Source: License: Public Domain.

A detail from a high-res image hosted by the Library of Congress

Declaration of the Anti-Slavery Convention 3
Source: License: Public Domain.

1 Comment on “Declaration of the Anti-Slavery Convention”

  1. I had previously mentioned the open-faced serif used in this broadside in generic terms, then later updated the description to mention Thorne Shaded as a similar design, but I’m very satisfied to have now (finally) found what appears to be an exact match: Meridian Shade, in Long Primer size (approximately 10 pt), as offered by the Boston Type Foundry (or another foundry working with nearly identical matrices). The text and font credits have been updated accordingly.

    Comparison of Long Primer Meridian Shade with type from the broadside

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