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The Scourged Back
Date: before July 1863
Artist and Related People:
Dimensions: Mount: 3 15/16 x 2 3/8 in. (10 x 6 cm)
Medium: Albumen print carte-de-viste
Credit Line: Purchase, with funds provided by the ICP Acquisitions Committee, 2003 Entered into the Daniel Cowin Collection
Description:

This searing image was widely circulated by Northern abolitionists to demonstrate the brutality of slavery. It represents the severe scars left by whipping on the back of Gordon, a former slave who escaped in Mississippi and joined the Union Army in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. A woodcut derived from this image, titled "Gordon under Medical Inspection," and two others that depict "Gordon as he entered our lines" and "Gordon in his uniform as a U.S. Soldier," were reproduced in the July 4, 1863, edition of Harper's Weekly along with an account of Gordon's escape. There the photograph is ascribed to McPherson & Oliver in Baton Rouge. But McAllister & Brother of Philadelphia, Chandler Seaver, Jr., of Boston, and an unknown British publisher also distributed pirated versions of the image. This example has no backmark.

Accession Number: 183.2003