Media: Slideshow

Romantic Evocation of the Life of Enslaved Children

Mrs. Meriwether Administering Bitters

In this engraving published in John Pendleton Kennedy's novel Swallow Barn, or A Sojourn in the Old Dominion (1832), Lucretia Meriwether, the kindly mistress of a Virginia plantation, dispenses some medicine to the enslaved children and two of her own children in the back of the group. In the novel, Meriwether's morning regimen involves giving out "some death-routing decoction" that she has prepared in a small pitcher. Kennedy's fictional plantation presents a romantic evocation of the day-to-day life of enslavement.

Original Author: David Hunter Strother, artist; J. W. Orr, engraver

Created: 1851 edition

Medium: Engraving

Courtesy of University of Virginia Library

Mill-boys Racing

A pair of enslaved boys race one another on horseback in this engraving published in John Pendleton Kennedy's Swallow Barn, or A Sojourn in the Old Dominion (1832), a romantic evocation of the day-to-day life of slavery on a southern plantation. The author describes enslaved boys in the gristmill as having a rather carefree existence, and, at one point he refers to them as "monkeys":

… nothing was more common than to see a dozen ruminative old horses, with as many little bare-legged negroes astride upon them, with the large canvas mill-bags spread out for saddles, all collect of a morning round the mill door, each waiting for his turn to get his sack filled. Sometimes these monkeys were fast asleep for hours on their steeds; and sometimes they made great confusion about the premises with their wild shouts, and screams, and rough-and-tumble fights in which they were often engaged.

Original Author: David Hunter Strother, artist; J. W. Orr, engraver

Created: 1851 edition

Medium: Engraving

Courtesy of University of Virginia Library

Negroes at Mill

A pair of enslaved boys laze idly inside a gristmill—one lying atop a sack of grain, the other dressing up in an adult's coat—in this engraving published in John Pendleton Kennedy's novel Swallow Barn, or A Sojourn in the Old Dominion (1832). The novel presents a romantic evocation of the day-to-day life of slavery on a southern plantation.

Original Author: David Hunter Strother, artist; J. W. Orr, engraver

Created: 1851 edition

Medium: Engraving

Courtesy of University of Virginia Library

Drilling Scene

This engraving depicts a scene from John Pendleton Kennedy's Swallow Barn, or A Sojourn in the Old Dominion (1832), a novel set on a Virginia plantation that creates a romanticized view of slavery. The white boy with the hat and sword is Kip, the nearly thirteen-year-old son of the master. To entertain onlookers, Kip has assembled the enslaved "young serfs, and has drilled them into a kind of local militia," and has them "parade over the grounds with a riotous clamor."

Original Author: David Hunter Strother, artist; Richardson, engraver

Created: 1851 edition shown here

Medium: Engraving

Courtesy of University of Virginia Library

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  • Mrs. Meriwether Administering Bitters

    In this engraving published in John Pendleton Kennedy's novel Swallow Barn, or A Sojourn in the Old Dominion (1832), Lucretia Meriwether, the kindly mistress of a Virginia plantation, dispenses some medicine to the enslaved children and two of her own children in the back of the group. In the novel, Meriwether's morning regimen involves giving out "some death-routing decoction" that she has prepared in a small pitcher. Kennedy's fictional plantation presents a romantic evocation of the day-to-day life of enslavement.

    Original Author: David Hunter Strother, artist; J. W. Orr, engraver

    Created: 1851 edition

    Medium: Engraving

    Courtesy of University of Virginia Library

  • Mill-boys Racing

    A pair of enslaved boys race one another on horseback in this engraving published in John Pendleton Kennedy's Swallow Barn, or A Sojourn in the Old Dominion (1832), a romantic evocation of the day-to-day life of slavery on a southern plantation. The author describes enslaved boys in the gristmill as having a rather carefree existence, and, at one point he refers to them as "monkeys":

    … nothing was more common than to see a dozen ruminative old horses, with as many little bare-legged negroes astride upon them, with the large canvas mill-bags spread out for saddles, all collect of a morning round the mill door, each waiting for his turn to get his sack filled. Sometimes these monkeys were fast asleep for hours on their steeds; and sometimes they made great confusion about the premises with their wild shouts, and screams, and rough-and-tumble fights in which they were often engaged.

    Original Author: David Hunter Strother, artist; J. W. Orr, engraver

    Created: 1851 edition

    Medium: Engraving

    Courtesy of University of Virginia Library

  • Negroes at Mill

    A pair of enslaved boys laze idly inside a gristmill—one lying atop a sack of grain, the other dressing up in an adult's coat—in this engraving published in John Pendleton Kennedy's novel Swallow Barn, or A Sojourn in the Old Dominion (1832). The novel presents a romantic evocation of the day-to-day life of slavery on a southern plantation.

    Original Author: David Hunter Strother, artist; J. W. Orr, engraver

    Created: 1851 edition

    Medium: Engraving

    Courtesy of University of Virginia Library

  • Drilling Scene

    This engraving depicts a scene from John Pendleton Kennedy's Swallow Barn, or A Sojourn in the Old Dominion (1832), a novel set on a Virginia plantation that creates a romanticized view of slavery. The white boy with the hat and sword is Kip, the nearly thirteen-year-old son of the master. To entertain onlookers, Kip has assembled the enslaved "young serfs, and has drilled them into a kind of local militia," and has them "parade over the grounds with a riotous clamor."

    Original Author: David Hunter Strother, artist; Richardson, engraver

    Created: 1851 edition shown here

    Medium: Engraving

    Courtesy of University of Virginia Library