Media: Slideshow

Henry Box Brown's Escape to Freedom

The Resurrection of Henry Box Brown at Philadelphia

In this lithograph published about 1850, escaped slave Henry Brown emerges from "a Box 3 feet long, 21/2 ft. deep, and 2 ft. wide" in the office of the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society. Abolitionist Frederick Douglass, holding a prybar, looks on at left. To attain his freedom, Brown had himself shipped in a box from Richmond in 1849. The story of his escape was widely publicized, and he adopted the name Henry Box Brown.

Original Author: A. Donnelly, publisher

Created: ca. 1850

Medium: Lithograph

Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

Representation of the Box

This illustration depicts the compact box—"3 feet 1 inch long, 2 feet wide, 2 feet 6 inches high"—in which the enslaved man Henry Brown shipped himself from Richmond to Philadelphia. Brown wrote and copublished with Charles Stearns Narrative of Henry Box Brown, Who Escaped from Slavery, Enclosed in a Box 3 Feet Long and 2 Wide. Written from a Statement of Facts Made by Himself. With Remarks Upon the Remedy for Slavery (1849). This image was included in the book, which was published in Boston. The accompanying text notes that the box held "a fellow mortal [who] travelled a long journey, in quest of those rights which the piety and republicanism of this country denied to him …"

Original Author: Henry Brown and Charles Stearns, co-authors

Created: 1849

Medium: Woodcut

Courtesy of Documenting the American South

Advertisement for Adams & Co's Express

An advertisement for Adams & Co's Express in Richmond includes an illustration that depicts a steam locomotive pulling two railroad cars. This was published in the Richmond Directory and Business Advertiser, for 1852.

In 1849, enslaved Henry Brown, with the help of several comrades, had himself shipped in a box from Richmond via Adams Express and delivered to Philadelphia, where he was a free man.

Original Author: Adams & Co.'s Express

Created: Published 1852

Medium: Woodcut advertisement

Courtesy of Library of Virginia

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  • The Resurrection of Henry Box Brown at Philadelphia

    In this lithograph published about 1850, escaped slave Henry Brown emerges from "a Box 3 feet long, 21/2 ft. deep, and 2 ft. wide" in the office of the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society. Abolitionist Frederick Douglass, holding a prybar, looks on at left. To attain his freedom, Brown had himself shipped in a box from Richmond in 1849. The story of his escape was widely publicized, and he adopted the name Henry Box Brown.

    Original Author: A. Donnelly, publisher

    Created: ca. 1850

    Medium: Lithograph

    Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

  • Representation of the Box

    This illustration depicts the compact box—"3 feet 1 inch long, 2 feet wide, 2 feet 6 inches high"—in which the enslaved man Henry Brown shipped himself from Richmond to Philadelphia. Brown wrote and copublished with Charles Stearns Narrative of Henry Box Brown, Who Escaped from Slavery, Enclosed in a Box 3 Feet Long and 2 Wide. Written from a Statement of Facts Made by Himself. With Remarks Upon the Remedy for Slavery (1849). This image was included in the book, which was published in Boston. The accompanying text notes that the box held "a fellow mortal [who] travelled a long journey, in quest of those rights which the piety and republicanism of this country denied to him …"

    Original Author: Henry Brown and Charles Stearns, co-authors

    Created: 1849

    Medium: Woodcut

    Courtesy of Documenting the American South

  • Advertisement for Adams & Co's Express

    An advertisement for Adams & Co's Express in Richmond includes an illustration that depicts a steam locomotive pulling two railroad cars. This was published in the Richmond Directory and Business Advertiser, for 1852.

    In 1849, enslaved Henry Brown, with the help of several comrades, had himself shipped in a box from Richmond via Adams Express and delivered to Philadelphia, where he was a free man.

    Original Author: Adams & Co.'s Express

    Created: Published 1852

    Medium: Woodcut advertisement

    Courtesy of Library of Virginia