Rare African American prison memoir acquired by Beinecke

Image of Austin Reed prison memoir

Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library has acquired a memoir of prison life written in the 19th century and attributed to an African American man serving a sentence in an Austin, New York jail. Caleb Smith, an English professor at Yale, affirms the conclusion that the manuscript is authentic, as substantiated by an archivist at the Schomburg Center for African American Research in Black Culture.  

The New York Times reports: “The 304-page memoir, titled ‘The Life and Adventures of a Haunted Convict, or the Inmate of a Gloomy Prison,’ describes the experiences of the author, Austin Reed, from the 1830s to the 1850s in a prison in upstate New York” (Thurs. Dec. 12, 2013.)

Source: “Prison Memoir of a Black Man in the 1850s” http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/12/books/prison-memoir-of-a-black-man-in-…

Thursday, December 12, 2013