• Abolitionist Henry Ward Beecher Recommends Anti-Slavery Activist Sprague For Lyceum Bureau

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    HENRY WARD BEECHER (June 25, 1813 – March 8, 1887) was an American Congregationalist clergyman, social reformer and speaker, known for his support of the abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage and his 1875 adultery trial for having an affair with the wife of Theodore Tilton.   His sister Harriet Beecher Stowe achieved worldwide fame for her abolitionist novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin said, by some, to have precipitated the Civil War.  


    Offering a 3 pp, 5 ½ x 8 ½, ALS, Brooklyn, May 20, [18]75, recommending HOMER B. SPRAGUE to JAMES REDPATH, who ran a Lyceum Bureau, which provided a platform for lectures delivered by such celebrities as Frederick Douglass, Mark Twain, George MacDonald, Susan B. Anthony, Charles Sumner, Julia Ward Howe and many others.


    Beecher writes, “I wish that you would interest yourself for my friend, Homer B. Sprague, whose name is on your list of Lectures. He will justify very strong recommendations. You may use my name with Committees for Sprague has lived in Brooklyn...I think him to be destined to succeed in the Lecture field. Both is matter & his manner are good. He will wear well and in any reasonably well cultivated community...He will be desired again & again. I shall be much disappointed if he does not add one more to the list of Lecturers that the...people hear gladly...”


    Sprague (October 19, 1829 – March 23 1918) was an author, educator, abolitionist and Lieutenant Colonel in the Union Army. Sprague was captured by the Confederate Army in 1864 and was released in a prisoner exchange in 1865.


    Redpath (August 24, 1833 – February 10, 1891) was a journalist and an anti-slavery activist. In 1848 or 1849, Redpath and his family emigrated from Scotland to a farm near Kalamazoo, Michigan. He worked as a printer and wrote anti-slavery articles.  He later worked as a reporter for Horace Greeley’s New York Tribune. Beginning in March 1854, he traveled in the South to examine slavery for himself, interviewing slaves and collecting material published in 1859 as The Roving Editor: or, Talks with Slaves in the Southern States. The book’s production costs were covered by antislavery philanthropist Gerrit Smith, who was also one of the famous Secret Six, a group of men who secretly funded John Brown’s raid at Harper’s Ferry. In 1868, Redpath started the Boston Lyceum Bureau, later known as the Redpath Bureau.


    In excellent condition.  Research included.


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