Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Quotations

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Contents

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pp. ix-x

List of Illustrations

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pp. xi-xii

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Preface

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pp. xiii-xviii

I was in rural Pennsylvania, holding a box of letters from “Lulu,” written from Washington, DC, and addressed to Genie Webb in Camden, New Jersey. No one in the family who owned the letters knew who Lulu was; they didn’t even know her last name, but her middle initial was “M.” ...

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Editorial Principles

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pp. xix-xxii

All of the seventy-eight documents reproduced in this volume are held in a single private collection, the Annie Wood Webb Papers. Because of the rarity of these documents as examples of nineteenth-century African American personal correspondence, there has been no selection process: all documents written by Louisa Jacobs (fifty-eight) and Annie Purvis (thirteen) ...

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Introduction

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pp. 3-17

After reading Harriet Jacobs’s fugitive slave narrative, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, who has not wondered what happened to her daughter, Louisa? Who can forget the poignant scene when six-year-old “Lulu,” sworn to secrecy by her great-grandmother, is allowed to spend a single night wrapped in the arms of the slave mother ...

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Biographical Sketches

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pp. 18-52

The following biographical sketches list the important people in the lives of Louisa Matilda Jacobs (1833–1917) and Eugenie “Genie” Webb (1856–1919), in alphabetical order by their nicknames. These sketches provide essential backstory and help to fill gaps in this collection. Louisa and Harriet Jacobs (ca. 1815–1897) appear as “Lulu” and “Mother” on this list. ...

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One by One the Moments Fall: 1879–1880

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pp. 53-74

Forty-six-year-old Lulu Jacobs sends a condolence letter to twenty-three-year-old Genie Webb on the death of their mutual friend, Delie Chew, whom Genie cared for in her last days. Lulu reintroduces herself by asking permission to address her as “Genie” and then by describing her own deep love for Delie. Lulu acknowledges that Genie’s faith is stronger than her own, ...

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One by One Thy Duties Wait Thee: 1881–1882

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pp. 75-97

The Jacobses’ boarders in Washington leave with the old administration. Lulu and her mother travel to Englewood, New Jersey, to assist Edith Willis (Grinnell, 1853–1930), whose cousin-husband is dying. After his death, Lulu stays on through the summer and, in the fall, visits her old abolitionist friends the Brocketts. She returns home earlier than planned because her mother is ill. ...

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One by One Bright Gifts from Heaven: 1883

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pp. 98-113

The Jacobses board two successive families during the spring, but Harriet is sick and Lulu assumes most of the housekeeping burden, becoming thin and ill herself. Building on her experience at Willowbrook, Lulu decides to start her own jam and preserves business in Washington. Lulu continues to offer words of encouragement to Genie, ...

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One by One Thy Griefs Shall Meet Thee: 1884–1885

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pp. 114-136

Genie is very sick. Her medical treatments include blisters on her chest, which leave her with oozing wounds. Lulu sends her bandage linens and gloves from Washington. Genie’s cousin, Annie Purvis, leaves Washington in August to return to Philadelphia to care for her sick mother and for her grandmother Charlotte Vandine (Forten). Both die before the end of the year. ...

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So Each Day Begin Again: 1886–1887

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pp. 137-143

Although she is not entirely well, Genie returns to teaching school in May 1886. In the spring of 1887, Lulu, who has been a tardy and apologetic correspondent, writes for the first time in almost a year. She acknowledges her error and Genie’s right to not write first, but she feels it is not “as it ought to be between friends.” ...

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Hours Are Golden Links: 1890–1911

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pp. 144-158

Although it is likely that Lulu and Genie visited each other between 1890 and 1894, there is only one extant letter from Lulu. In it she tries to comfort Genie with thoughts of God’s love. This lacuna coincides with Harriet Jacobs’s health problems—pneumonia, breast cancer, lameness, and senile dementia—and with Louisa’s difficulty in finding work during the Panic of 1893–1894. ...

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Epilogue: The Pilgrimage Be Done

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pp. 159-162

Louisa Jacobs had been diagnosed with heart problems in 1907 and made out her will that summer, naming her closest friends as beneficiaries: sisters Lilian Willis (Boit, b. 1850) and Edith Willis (Grinnell), whom she had known and loved all their lives; her third cousins Genie Webb and Charlotte Forten (Grimké), whose mothers, ...

Notes

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pp. 163-200

Select Bibliography

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pp. 201-206

Index

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pp. 207-220

Further Series Titles

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