There aren’t that many pictures of Harriet Tubman out in the world, but thanks to a new discovery, we can now see the abolitionist and Civil War spy in a different light.
According to The Citizen, New York City auction house Swann Galleries recently announced that it will auction a newly discovered photo of Tubman on March 30. In the picture, Tubman looks serene, sitting on a chair wearing a black blouse with a white collar and a white skirt. The picture was found in an album owned by Emily Howland, an abolitionist and one of Tubman’s friends.
It’s also been reported that during the time the photo was taken, Tubman was living in Auburn, New York, where she had purchased land that will soon become part of the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park.
Dr. Kate Clifford Larson, author of the biography “Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero,” stresses that this is a much younger Tubman than we have ever seen. We normally think of her as an fierce older lady, like in the picture below:
It’s believed that Tubman was between 43- and 46-years-old when the photo was taken, which was shortly after the end of the Civil War.
“There’s no doubt in my mind about the provenance of the photo and that it is Tubman,” Larson told the newspaper. “I had never run across it.”
Lawson also says this new image is a contrast to other photos we have seen of Tubman in the past. “What’s remarkable about this photograph is that she’s so proud and dignified and beautiful. She looks so young,” she added.
“This is the vibrant young Tubman just coming off her work during the Civil War. She’s building her life with her family in Auburn.” She concluded: “It just surprised me, and I think it’s going to surprise a lot of people.”