Printing Abolition: How the Fight to Ban the British Slave Trade Was Won, 1783–1807

Michael F. Suarez, S.J., Director, Rare Book School and University Professor, University of Virginia

In this series of highly illustrated lectures, Michael Suarez offers a fresh perspective on British abolition, richly informed by political prints and personal correspondence, newspapers and pamphlets, account books and committee minutes, parliamentary reports and private diaries.

October 25, 26, and 28, 2021. Lecture begins 5:30pm @ Orrery Pavilion, Kislak Center
Lecture Open to the public
Fold-out engraved image in Charles Crawford, Observations on Negro-Slavery (Philadelphia: Eleazer Oswald, 1790)

Suarez’s revisionist history not only traces the production and distribution of abolitionist print, but also reveals the hidden networks that variously sustained the first humanitarian mass media campaign.  Abolition forces brilliantly exploited the power of print to contend with the complex legacies of the American and French Revolutions, the slave revolt in present-day Haiti, and the Napoleonic Wars.  Seeking to understand how both abolitionists and their foes exploited systems of influence through printed words and images in many forms, Suarez delineates the strategies that abolitionists devised to overcome accusations of religious fanaticism, economic malfeasance, and political sedition. Exploring the first author’s book tour in the UK, a consumer boycott fostered by the radical press, and the fashionable publisher who clandestinely worked as press agent for the pro-slavery interest, these lectures will demonstrate the power of bibliography and book history to rewrite established narratives and to recover lives and labors typically left out of conventional accounts.

Schedule and Recordings

Event Series

A.S.W. Rosenbah

The A.S.W. Rosenbach Lectures in Bibliography

The Rosenbach Fellowship in Bibliography, established by the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania in 1928, honors a gift for that purpose from A.S.W. Rosenbach, one of America's greatest book dealers and collectors.

Featured image: Fold-out engraving in Charles Crawford, Observations on Negro-Slavery (Philadelphia: Eleazer Oswald, 1790), Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts