#BringHarrietHome Campaign Seeks to Buy Rare Tubman Photo for Historical Site

The Harriet Tubman Home has launched the #BringHarrietHome campaign to raise funds to buy a rare photo of the abolitionist being auctioned off March 30.

The recently designated Auburn, N.Y., historical site, which survives on small donations to keep the home that Tubman once resided in open to the public, hopes to raise $25,000 to be a competitive bidder in the New York City Swann Galleries auction. It has already generated nearly $7,000 since the crowdsourcing initiative launched on Women You Should Fund Tuesday, March 7.

The image at the center of the campaign, which was authenticated by head Tubman biographer Dr. Kate Clifford Larson, was recently discovered in a private citizen’s centuries-old photo album. It is believed that Tubman’s friend and fellow abolitionist Emily Howland used to own the 44-picture portfolio, which will be auctioned off complete with Tubman’s photograph.

“I like the picture very much,” Pauline Copes Johnson, a great-great-grandniece of Tubman’s, says in a video about her relative’s photo that is believed to have been taken when Tubman was in her 40s. “It’s great to be able to have a picture of Aunt Harriet in her younger days. I think she looks like she’s a very determined person.”

“There are 60,000 artifacts of Harriet Tubman’s life and work in our collection … and we’ve preserved each and every one of them,” says Karen Hill, president and CEO of the Harriet Tubman Home. “This rare photo would become the most profound artifact in our collection.”

The image was snapped in an Auburn photography studio soon after the Civil War ended between about 1866-1868 and when it was uncovered in February, many online marveled at Tubman’s image as there are few photos that exist of the fierce abolitionist.


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