Texts Published or Written in the 1850's:
An On-Line Archive

E Pluribus Unum



NOTE: This archive is still in progress. Some of these links do not yet have the correct addresses and many other links are still to be added. Thank you for your patience.



Alcott, William. Familiar Letters to Young Men on Various Subjects. Designed as a Companion to The Young Man's Guide

Allston, Washington. Lectures on Art, and Poems, by Washington Allston. Edited by Richard Henry Dana, Jr.

American Union of Associationists. Industrial Association. An Address to the People of the United States by the American Union of Associationists

Bibb, Henry. Narrative of the life and adventures of Henry Bibb, an American slave, written by himself. With an introd. by Lucius C. Matlack .

Bryan, Edward B. The Rightful Remedy. Addressed to the Slaveholders of the South. Published for the Southern Rights Association

College Hill, O. A Plea for the Farmer's College of Hamilton County, Ohio

Colton, Walter. Three Years in California

Colver, Nathaniel The Fugitive Slave Bill; or, God's Laws Paramount to the Laws of Men. A Sermon

Elliot, Charles. Sinfulness of American Slavery, vol. 1 and vol. 2.

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Representative Men (Emerson Texts) or at UVA

Foster, George. New York by Gas-Light With Here and There a Streak of Sunshine(Section No. VII available as part of American Gateways Museum exhibit on Five Points Neighborhood)

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter (Berkeley Digital Library SunSITE)

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Snow Image: A Childish Miracle

Kirkland, Caroline. Forest Life, vol. 1, and vol.2

Marvel, Ik (Donald Grant Mitchell) Smoke, Flame, and Ashes: Reveries of a Bachelor

Poe, Edgar Allen. A List of Poe Stories Published in 1850. For Sketches and Selected Criticism go the the online texts collection at UVA

*Poe, Edga Allen, The System of Dr. Tarr and Prof. Fether

United States Congress, Fugitive Slave Act

Warner, Susan. The Wide, Wide World. (U. Penn's Celebration of Women Writers)



Cist, Charles. Sketches and Statistics of Cincinnati in 1851

Davis, Charles V. United States vs Charles G Davis, esq. on a charge of Aiding and Abetting in the Rescue of a Fugitive Slave, February 1851

Documentary History of Slavery in the United States. By a Native of Maryland. (American Memory)

Douglass, Frederick. The Heroic Slave (also published 1852 and 1853)

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The House of the Seven Gables (You can also find it at the American Literary Classics Library.)

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Canterbury Pilgrims

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Devil in Manuscript

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. Ethan Brand (UVA}or at (Berkeley Digital Library SunSITE)

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. My Kinsman, Major Molineux

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Great Stone Face

Melville, Herman. Moby-Dick, or, The Whale

The proceedings of the Woman's Rights Convention, held at Worcester, October 23d 24th, 1850

Whittier, John Greenleaf. Songs of Labor, and Other Poems.



Illustrations from Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life among the Lowly, by Harriet Beecher Stowe (also published in 1892 and 1853)

Alger, Horatio. Fair Harvard, (Ode written for "Class Day" while Alger was a student)

Aiken, George. Uncle Tom's Cabin (dramatic version)

*Congregational Churches in the U.S. Proceedings of the General Convention of Congregational Ministers and Delegates

Curtiss, Daniel S. Western Portraiture, and Emigrant's Guide

Davies, Charles. Lecture on the Duties and Relations of Parents, Teachers, and Pupils, as Connected with Education

De Bow, J.D.B. The Industrial Resources, etc. of the Southern and Western . . . Returns of the Census of 1850. Vol. 1 and Vol 2 and Vol. 3

Democratic National Convention, 1852

Dewey, Orville. The Laws of Human Progress and Modern Reforms. A Lecture Delivered Before the Mercantile Library Association of the City of New-York

Duncan, Mary Grey Lundie. America As I Found It.. By the Mother of Mary Lundie Duncan.

Fisher, Richard Swainson. Indiana: In Relation to Its Geography, Statistics, Institutions, Country Topography, etc.

Fletcher, John. Studies on Slavery, In Easy Lessons

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. Feathertop--from Twice-Told Tales (Berkeley Digital Library SunSITE)

Stowe, Harriet Beecher. Uncle Tom's Cabin, or Life Among the Lowly

British authors and publications:

Second Edition of Charles Mackay's (1841) Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds--still considered a "classic" work on Economics (The Library of Economics and Liberty)
Mackay's Memoirs of Popular Delusions is also available at Bibliomania.but lacks the preface. (It is also unclear whether the Bibliomania copy is the first or second edition.)



Alger, Horatio, Welcome to May

Andrews, C. C. Reflections on the Present System of Education

Arhur, T.S. Our Little Harry, and Other Poems and Stories

Boardman, Henry A., D. D. The Bible in the Counting House: A Course of Lectures to Merchants

Bremer, Fredrika. The Homes of the New World, Impressions of America. Vol 1 and 2

Boardman, Henry A. The Low Value Set Upon Human Life in the United States: A Discourse Delivered on Thanksgiving-day, November 24th, 1853

Brown, David. The Planter, or Thirteen Years in the South. By a Northern Man

Colwell, Stephen. New Themes for the Protestant Clergy: Creeds without Charity, Theology without Humanity, and Protestantism without Critistianity

Copway, George. Organization of a New Indian Territory, East of the Missouri River. By the Indian Chief Kah-ge-ga-gah-bough, or Geo. Copway

Dana, Charles.(ed) The United Staes Illustrated; in views of City and Country. With Descriptive and Historical Articles, vol 1.
vol 2.

Ellet, E.F. Summer Rambles in the West

Fern, Fanny. Fern Leaves from Fanny's Portfolio (Voices from 19th-Century America)

Holmes, Oliver Wendell. Poems

Melville, Herman. Bartleby, the Scrivener It is also available at Bartleby.com.

Northrup, Solomon. Twelve Years a Slave: Narrative of Solomon Northup, a Citizen of New-York, Kidnapped in Washington City in 1841, and Rescued in 1853

 Page, John W. Uncle Robin, in His Cabin in Virginia, and Tom Without One in Boston.

Stowe, Harriet Beecher. The Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin

Stearns, Edward Josiah. Notes on Uncle Tom's Cabin: Being a Logical Answer to Its Allegations and Inferences Against Slavery as an Institution.



Antioch College. Dedication of Antioch College, and Inaugural Address of its President, Hon. Horace Mann; with Other Proceedings

Bush, Charles Peck. The Fugitive Slave Law: A Sermon Preached in the Fourth Congregational Church, Norwich, Conn., June 25, 1854 (MOA, Michigan

Caughney, James. Helps to a Life of Holiness and Usefulness, or Revival Miscellanies: Containing Eleven Revival Sermons

Cobbett, William. The American Gardener

Collier, Joseph Avery. The Right Way

Colwell, Stephen. The Position of Christianity in the United States, in its Relations with Our Political Institutions, and especialy with reference to religious instruction in the public schools

Dewees, Jacomb.The Great Future of America and Africa; an Essay Showing Our Whole Duty to the Black Man, Consistent with Our Own Safety and Glory

Drayton, Daniel. Personal Memoir of Daniel Drayton, for Four YEars and Four Months a Prisoner (for Charity's Sake) in Washington Jail.Including a ANarrative of the Voyage and Capture of the Schooner Pearl (includes material on fugitive slaves)

Thoreau, Henry David. Walden (The Thoreau Reader)


English Author/Publication:

Tennyson, Alfred Lord. Charge of the Light Brigade



Barlett, D.W. Modern agitators: or, Pen Portraits of Living American Reformers

Bowen, Eli. Rambles in the Path of the Steam-Horse. An Off-Hand Olla Podrida, Embracing a General Historical and Decriptive View of the Scenery, Agricultural and Mineral Resources, and Prominent Features of the Travelled Route From Baltimore to Harper's Ferry, Cumberland, Wheeling, Cincinnati, and Louisville

Bowen, Francis. The Principles of Metaphysical and Ethical Science Applied to the Evidences of Religion

Bunkley, Josephine, M. The Testimony of an Escaped Novice from the Sister of St. Joseph, Emmettsburg, Maryland, the Mother-House of the Sisters of Charity in the United States

Burnap, George Washington. Popular Objections to Unitarian Christianity Considered and Answered. In Seven Discourses

Colton, J.H. The Western Tourist and Emigrant's Guide

Douglass, Frederick, 1817?-1895: My Bondage and My Freedom. By Frederick Douglass. With an Introduction by James M`Cune Smith

Melville, Herman. The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids

Parker, Theodore. The Trial of Theodore Parker, For the "Misdemeanor" of a Speech in Faneuil Hall Against Kidnapping, Before the Circuit Court of the United States at Boston, April 3, 1855. With the Defence, by Theodore Parker

Stowe, Harriet Beecher. The Christian Slave: A Drama

Trux, J.J. Negro Minstrelsy--Ancient and Modern

Whitman, Walt. Leaves of Grass
Note: A number of later editions of this work were printed, including a second edition in 1856, and a third edition in 1860. Leaves of Grass and other antebellum texts by Whitman can also be found on-line in Whitman's Complete Poetry and Collected Prose edited by Justin Kaplan and published in 1982., and in the Supplementary Prose section of that publication. Whitman describes this period in his life in his memoir, Specimen Days, which was included in the Complete Prose Works published in 1892.All of the above are available at the University of Virginia's Electronic Text Center Modern English Collection.



Andrews, C.C. Minnesota and Dacotah: in Letters descriptive of a Tour through the North-West, in the Autumn of 1856. With Information Relative to Public Lands, and a Table of Statistics

Brewerton, George Douglas. The War in Kansas. A Rough Trip to the Border, Among New Homes and a Strange People

Brown, Josephine. Biography of an American Bondman (The Digital Schomburg African American Women Writers of the 19th Century from The New York Public Library)

Brownlow, William Gannaway. Americanism Contrasted with Foreignism, Romanism, and Bogus Democracy, in the Light of Reason, History, and Scripture; in Which Certain Demagogues in Tennessee, and Elsewhere, are Shown Up in Their True Colors.

Busey, Samuel C. Immigration, Its Evils and Consequences

Curtis, George William. The Duty of the American Scholar to Politics and the Times

Cushing, Luther Stearns. Lex Parliamentaria Americana

Democratic National Convention, Official Proceedings, 1856

Emerson, Raph Waldo. English Traits (Emerson Texts)

Fitch, George William. Outlines of Physical Geography

Melville, Herman. I and My Chimney

Melville, Herman. The Piazza

Steward, Austin. Twenty-Two Years a Slave, and Forty Years a Freeman; Embracing a Correspondence of Several Years, While President of Wilberforce Colony, London, Canada West


Alger, Horatio. Nothing To Do: A Tilt at Our Best Society

Anonymous. A Slave's Story

Anonymous: Selected Poems from The Atlantic Monthly 1857-1858

Appleton, Nathan. Remarks on Currency and Banking; having reference to the present derangement of the Circulating Medium in the United States.

Bishop, Harriet E., Floral Home; or, First Years of Minnesota. Early Sketches, Later Settlements, and Further Developments (American Memory)

Cheever, George Barrell. God Against Slavery: And the Freedom and Duty of the Pulpit to Rebuke it

Coxe, A. Cleveland. An Apology for the Common English Bible, and a Review of the Extraordinary Changes Made in it by Managers of the American Bible Society.

Crowell, William. The Church Member's Manual

Cutter, William C. "Uncle Hiram's Pilgrimage," from Robert Merry's Museum, January 1857

Melville, Herman. The Confidence-Man

Prime, William C. Tent Life in the Holy Land



Anonymous, The Grindwell Governing Machine (essay published in the Atlantic Monthly)

Bartol, C.A. Church and Congregation:A Plea for Their Unity

Brownlow, William Gannaway. Ought American Slavery to be perpetuated?, A Debate Between W.G. Brownlow and Rev. A. Pryne.

Conkling, Margaret Cockburn. The American Gentleman's Guide to Politeness and Fashion

Cuyler, Theodore Ledyard. Sermon on Christian Recreation and Amusement

Eastman, Samuel Coffin. The White Mountain Guide Book.

Holmes, Oliver Wendells. THe Deacon's Masterpiece, or The One Hoss Shay--with Illustrations by Howard Pyle (Eldritch Press)

Holmes, Oliver Wendell. The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table (Eldritch Press)

Thomson, William M., D.D. The Land and the Book or Biblical Illustrations Drawn from the Manners and Customs, the Scenes and Scenery, of the Holy Land

Thoreau, Henry David. "Chesuncook," The Atlantic Monthly


Bartlett, D.W. Presidential Candidates: Containing Sketches, Biographical, Personal, and Political, of Prominent Candidates for the Presidency in 1860

Beecher, Henry Ward. Life Thoughts, Gathered from the Extemporaneous Eiscourses of Henry Ward Beecher. By One of His Congregation

Beecher, Henry Ward. New Star Pagers; or, Views and Experiences of Religious Subjects

Beecher, Henry Ward Plain and Pleasant Talk About Fruits, Flowers and Farming

Carvalho, S.N. Incidents of Travel and Adventure in the Far West, by S.N. Carvalho, Artist to the Expedition

Downing, A.J. Hints to Persons About Building in the Country & Hints to Young Architects

O'Brien, Fitz-James. "The Wondersmith," published in the Atlantic Monthly

Optic, Oliver. Poor and Proud; or, The Fortunes of Katy Redburn, a Story for Young Folks

Orton, J.R. "Trial Trip of the 'Flying Cloud,'" published in the Atlantic Monthly

Prescott, Harriet E. In a Cellar, published in the Atlantic Monthly

Watkins, Frances Ellen. "Our Greatest Want: Brief Tract About the True Needs of the United States" published in The Anglo-African Magazine (Emory Women Writers Resource Project)

Wilson, Harriet. Our Nig, or Sketches from the Life of a Free Black


British Authors and Publications in 1859:

Darwin, Charles. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life

Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities

Fitzgerald, Edward. Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, The Astronomer-Poet of Persia

Gaskell, Elizabeth. Fears for the Future

Tennyson, Alfred Lord. Lancelot and Elaine

Accounts of the Events and People of the 1850's in fiction, memoirs, biographies, and histories:


Brown, Hallie Homespun Heroines, 1926 (The Digital Schomburg African American Women Writers of the 19th Century from The New York Public Library)

Delany, Lucy A. From the darkness cometh the light, or Struggles for Freedom,
(The Digital Schomburg African American Women Writers of the 19th Century from The New York Public Library)

Ferris, Woodbridge N.. The Autobiography of Woodbridge N. Ferris (A Michigan schoolteacher who recalls, among other things, growing up on a farm and going to school in the 1850's.)

Foote, Julia A. A Brand Plucked From the Fire, 1879
(The Digital Schomburg African American Women Writers of the 19th Century from The New York Public Library)

Keckley, Elizabethb. Behind the Scenes, or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House, 1868
(The Digital Schomburg African American Women Writers of the 19th Century from The New York Public Library)

Mattison, Hirambr Louisa Picquet, the Octoroon
(The Digital Schomburg African American Women Writers of the 19th Century from The New York Public Library)

Mossell, N.F. The Work of Afro-American Women, (machine-readable version of second edition published in 1908)
(The Digital Schomburg African American Women Writers of the 19th Century from The New York Public Library)

Albert, Octavia V. Rogers, The House of Bondage, or, Charlotte Brooks and Other Slaves, 1890
(The Digital Schomburg African American Women Writers of the 19th Century from The New York Public Library)

Rollin, Frank [Frances] A.Life and Public Services of Martin R. Delany 1883
(The Digital Schomburg African American Women Writers of the 19th Century from The New York Public Library)

Stephen Douglass, The Dividing Line Between Federal and Local Authority, 1859

Smith, Amandabr An Autobiograpy: The Story of the Lord's Dealings with Mrs. Amanda Smith, the Colored Evangelist, 1893
(The Digital Schomburg African American Women Writers of the 19th Century from The New York Public Library)

Truth, Sojourner. Narrative of Sojourner Truth, 1878
(The Digital Schomburg African American Women Writers of the 19th Century from The New York Public Library)


NOTE: Up to Duganne, A. J. H.

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