Born into slavery, Frederick Douglas estimated he was born in February of 1817 (scholars would later estimate his year of birth to be 1818 based on records.) Without an exact date, Douglass picked February 14th because his mother called him “her little Valentine.”
After escaping slavery in 1838, Douglass and his wife Anna Murray Douglass settled in Massachusetts where he became a preacher and abolitionist. During his life there he wrote three autobiographies including Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (1845), which became a bestseller and was influential in promoting the cause of abolition.
This media is available in the holdings of the National Archives and Records Administration, cataloged under the National Archives Identifier (NAID) 558770