‘Young,’ ‘beautiful’ photograph of Harriet Tubman surfaces after many years
Angela Bronner Helm, NewsOne | 2/8/2017, 11:56 a.m.
rare photo of Harriet Tubman, one of America’s most revered freedom fighters, has just surfaced in Auburn, N.Y., where she made her home after the Civil War.
Auburnpub.com reports that New York City auction house Swann Galleries will auction the new photo of Tubman off on March 30.
The photo shows her seated, wearing a black blouse with an overlapping white-collar and a white patterned skirt. One of Tubman’s biographers, Dr. Kate Clifford Larson, estimated that Tubman was between 43 and 46 years old when the photo was taken.
Dr. Larson, author of the biography, Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero, estimates that Tubman was living in Auburn, N.Y., where she had purchased land in from then-Sen. William H. Seward — land that will soon become part of the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park.
Larson says that she has never run across a heretofore unseen photograph of the fierce conductor of the Underground Railroad, but immediately knew the image was authentic.
“There’s no doubt in my mind about the provenance of the photo and that it is Tubman,” said Larson. “I had never run across it.”
“What’s remarkable about this photograph is that she’s so proud and dignified and beautiful. She looks so young,” she adds. “This is the vibrant young Tubman just coming off her work during the Civil War. She’s building her life with her family in Auburn.”
The photo comes from an album owned by Tubman’s friend Emily Howland, whose collection also contained the more familiar photo of Tubman standing above a rocking back chair.
Tubman's name is likely to pop up at watercooler conversations this Spring. Tubman's character figures prominently into the upcoming season of the popular WGN America series "Underground," which chronicles enslaved Americans escaping to freedom. Last season, Memphis was the No. 1 market for the series, which returns next month.