Creation, Process, and Completion of Harriet Jacobs's "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl"

  • Harriet Jacobs born

    Harriet Jacobs born
    Born a slave in Edenton, North Carolina, to parents Elijah and Delilah Knox
  • Jacobs learns she is a slave

    Jacobs's mother dies, and Jacobs now becomes aware of her slave status
  • Jacobs escapes slavery

    Jacobs escapes slavery
    Jacobs excapes slavery and goes by boat to Philadephia
  • Jacobs sailed for Liverpool

    Jacobs sailed for Liverpool
    Jacobs was employed as a baby nurse for the Willises.
    "'I laid my head on my pillow, for the first time, with the delightful consciousness of pure, unadulated freedom'" -HJ (Yellin 85) *Day approximate
  • Jacobs relocates to Boston

    Jacobs relocates to Boston
    She becomes deeply immersed in anti-slavery work. *Year approximate
  • Jacobs relocates to Rochester

    Relocates to Rochester to help her brother John run an anti-slavery reading room
  • Jacobs joins her brother's activist group and meets the Posts

    Her brother's activist group was based out of the home of the white Quakers Isaac and Amy Post
  • Jacobs divulges her full life story to Amy Post

    Jacobs divulges her full life story to Amy Post
    Jacobs feels a closeness to Amy similar to how she felt for her Grandmother Molly, therefore she feels safe telling her her full story. *Year approximate
  • Fugitive Slave Act

    Fugitive Slave Act
    Jacobs and her brother, John S. flee to New York after act was passed
  • Jacobs is free

    Cornelia Willis buys Jacobs's freedom for $300
  • Amy asks Jacobs to write her life story to help the anti-slavery movement

    At first, Jacbos declines, but since she was now free, she felt she must help the cause and "vowed somehow to conquer her pride for the sake of the cause" (Yellin 119)
    *Date approximate
  • Jacobs proposes her project to Amy Post

    Jacobs writes her life story in order to be, "'useful in some way' to the abilitionist cause" (Stewart 719).
    *Month and day approximate
  • Jacobs writes initial manuscripts for ILSG

    While working for the Willises, she writes at night in the dark but is constantly interrupted by work.
  • Jacobs finished her draft of ILSG

    Same year the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the Dred Scott decision which limited power of free states to exclude slavery, promoted spread of slavery, and forbade Blacks from being U.S. citizens nor to have any rights
  • ILSG accounts published in New York Tribune

    ILSG accounts published in New York Tribune
    Accounts published in serial form in the New York Tribune, but were found too inappropriate for audience so they were stopped. *Date approximate
  • Jacobs goes to England to seek publisher for ILSG

    Although Jacbos had powerful supporters in the literary community, her trip was unsuccessful and the reasons are unknown why she was unable to get publisher at this time
  • Jacbos re-writes conclusion after battle at Harper's Ferry

    John Brown was wounded and his two sons killed, among others.
    Brown was praised for his fight for freedom. Jacobs then removes her original final chapter devoted to her grandmother and replaces with one devoted to Brown.
  • Jacobs submits ILSG to Boston House of Phillips and Samson

    They agree to publish it if she could arrange for a Preface by Stowe or Willis. Jacobs contacts Stowe for help but is declined, therefore publisher passed.
    *Date approximate
  • Jacobs submits ILSG to Thayer and Eldridge

    Jacobs submits ILSG manuscript to publisers of the best seller, "The Public Life of Captain John Brown" by James Redpath. Publisher said they would publish if she could get Preface by L. Maria Child. Child agrees.
    *Date approximate
  • Child writes Preface and edits ILSG

    Child writes Preface and edits ILSG
    Child writes Preface and edits ILSG. She also assumes the role of Jacobs's agent. She states, "'I don't think I altered fifty words in the whole volume'" (Yellin 141).
  • Child restores original final chapter

    Child decides to take out final chapter devoted to John Brown and changes it back to it's original ending devoted to Jacobs's grandmother. *Day and month approximate
  • ILSG release date pushed back

    ILSG set to be published in November, but was pushed back to December because Jacobs was held up caring for an ill and pregnant Mrs. Willis. Thayer and Eldridge go bankrupt before they can print a single copy.
  • ILSG published

    ILSG published
    Jacobs, friends, and groups put together funds to publish book. Book was printed by Boston Stereotype Foundry. It was first printed as "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: Written by Herself" and created by Linda Brent.
    *Month and date approximate
  • ILSG sells 50 copies

    By mid-January, ILSG has sold fifty copies
  • ILSG gains positive publicity

    Many positive reviews published, including in "The Liberator" and "Anti-Slavery Bugle"
    *Date approximate
  • Jacobs travels to promotes ILSG

    Jacobs begins traveling to different cities to promote ILSG
    *Date approximate
  • ILSG published in England

    London publisher, William Tweedie, published book renamed, "The Deeper Wrong; or, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Written by Herself." A month later, London publisher, Hodson and Son produced and circulated a pirated version. *Date approximate
  • "Freedmen's Book" published

    "Freedmen's Book" published
    Anthology produced to educate and assimilate Blacks after the civil war and celebrate their acheivement "written specifically to prepare African Americans for inclusion in the larger national community at a time when the status of that inclusion remained tentative" (Stewart 703-704). This included ILSG accounts retold.
  • Jacobs's death

    Jacobs's death
    Dies in Washington D.C.