ABAC Member Highlights - Greenfield Books
[BROWNE, MARTHA GRIFFITH] [MATTIE GRIFFITH] . AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A FEMALE SLAVE
New York City, J. S. Redfield 1857, 1st edition, hb. Bound in original brown cloth with gilt spine lettering. Small 8vo, pp. 401, ads. Bds. heavily worn & bumped, with noticeable soiling. Rear hinge cracked, binding a bit sprung, ffep removed; still a good copy.
Martha Griffith Browne (also known as Mattie Griffith) was a white woman who, prior to her conversion to abolitionism, had owned slaves. She wrote sketches and poems for "The National Anti-Slavery Standard", before writing this fictionalized slave narrative in 1856. "Autobiography of a Female Slave" is one of several noteworthy antebellum novels about slavery that were written by abolitionist authors. In some cases these novels reflected the storytelling style and conventions of the slave narrative so convincingly that they were mistaken for actual autobiographies of former slaves. The effectiveness of these novels in representing slavery, and the point of view of slaves, made them useful weapons in the antislavery struggle. (See: "Documenting the American South. North American Slave Narratives", University of North Carolina [Chapel Hill] - available online; also "Black Slave Narratives", John F. Bayliss (ed.) Macmillan, 1970). The title has recently been reprinted a number of times. Although the copyright page shows the date of 1856, when the novel was written, it was not published until 1857. This is the first edition, and a very scarce title, in its original, unsophisticated, binding.