Unidentified Photographer, I Sell the Shadow to Support the Substance. Sojourner Truth, 1864 (182.2003)
Unidentified Photographer, I Sell the Shadow to Support the Substance. Sojourner Truth, 1864 (2007.113.1)
Noel B. Baker, I sell the Shadow to Support the Substance. Sojourner Truth, 1864 (2006.16.7)
Sojourner Truth (1797-1883), born Isabella Baumfree to a family of slaves in Ulster County, New York, escaped with her daughter in 1826, a year before New York state’s emancipation. After living in a commune, she converted to Christianity, changed her name in 1843, and became an itinerant preacher. The publication of the Narrative of Sojourner Truth, recorded in 1850 by her friend Olive Gilbert, and “Sojourner Truth: The Libyan Sibyl,” written by Harriet Beecher Stowe for the Atlantic Monthly in 1863, raised Truth’s national profile. She toured with abolitionists Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison and earned money from these speaking engagements as well as from the sale of images. As demonstrated by the inclusion of text on her cartes-de-visite, Truth actively controlled the dissemination of her image as a proper, educated, middle-class woman to support herself and her activist work. An ardent feminist, Truth often had herself represented proudly engaged in “women’s work,” such as knitting.