The two documents featured in HSP's in-progress William Still Digital History Project are—for a brief time—on display in HSP's library, part of our Treasures from the Collection document display.
The document display will be open during library public hours from October 16 through October 25, 2013. There is no charge to view the display, and full details and hours are available here.
Both of these William Still volumes provide extraordinary insight into the experiences of enslaved individuals and families who passed through Philadelphia between 1852 and 1857 and the covert networks that aided their escape. As chairman of the Vigilance Committee, Still recorded notes of the personal accounts of fugitives who arrived in Philadelphia. Twenty years later, he relied on those notes to write The Underground Rail Road (1872), the most extensive contemporary compendium of the Underground Railroad's workings in this region.
Both the journal and the published book will be on display through October 25. Also on display are life portraits of William and Hannah Penn, the first handwritten draft of the U.S. Constitution, and censored correspondence from a Japanese internment camp.
Of course, if you're not able to make it to the document display, you can also find images of the two Still volumes online in our Digital Library. And in January, we'll launch our rich new Still Digital History Project that weaves these two important documents together in new ways.
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
This digital history project has been made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and by the Pennsylvania Abolition Society Endowment Fund, c/o the Philadelphia Foundation.