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Rare Photo of Harriet Tubman to Be Displayed at African-American Museum

In an announcement on Tuesday, The Library of Congress revealed that it has digitized and conserved a rare photo of Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture will put the recently discovered Tubman portrait on display later this year. The image was acquired in an auction last year.

Lonnie G. Bunch III, the founding director of the museum, spoke about the significance of the picture. “Other iconic portraits present her as either stern or frail. This new photograph shows her relaxed and very stylish.”


The photograph is just one of the small few that exist of Tubman, and it is believed to be the earliest known image of her. The image is considered to be taken between 1867 and 1869 when Tubman was in her mid-40s and lived in Auburn, NY.

The portrait has been missing for nearly a century. It reported by TIME that the image was one of 48 rare photographs included in an album owned by Emily Howland. She was an abolitionist and Quaker schoolteacher who lived near Tubman at the time it was taken.


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