Mary Maillard

Independent Historian

Mary Maillard is a documentary editor. She is currently working on a two-volume edition of the Skinner Family Papers, housed at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and the Annie Wood Webb Papers, a private collection of mid-to-late nineteenth century family papers.  She received a 2013 Albert M. Greenfield Foundation Fellowship in African American History from the Library Company of Philadelphia for research on “The Letters of Louisa Jacobs to Eugenie Webb, 1879-1911.” Her upcoming article, “‘Faithfully Drawn from Real Life:’ Autobiographical Elements in Frank J. Webb’s The Garies and Their Friends,” will appear in the July 2013 issue of the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. Mary resides in West Vancouver, B.C.

Louisa Matilda Jacobs (1833–1917)

Image Courtesy of Jean Fagan Yellin Louisa “Lulu” Matilda Jacobs, teacher, equal rights activist, and entrepreneur, was born a slave in Edenton, North Carolina, on October 19, 1833. She was the daughter of congressman and newspaper editor Samuel Tredwell Sawyer and his mixed-race enslaved mistress … Read MoreLouisa Matilda Jacobs (1833–1917)

Pierre Toussaint (ca.1781-1853) and Gaston, Marie-Rose Juliette (1786-1851)

Pierre Toussaint Image Courtesy of New York State Historical Society Juliette Toussaint Image Courtesy of New York State Historical Society Pierre Toussaint, New York society hairdresser, devout Catholic, and wealthy philanthropist, was born a third-generation elite house slave at the Bérard family plantation in Haiti.  … Read MorePierre Toussaint (ca.1781-1853) and Gaston, Marie-Rose Juliette (1786-1851)

Francis Johnson [Frank J.] Webb (1828-1894)

Francis Johnson Webb, newspaper editor, educator, equal rights activist, and the second published African American novelist, was born free on March 21, 1828, in Philadelphia to Louisa Burr and Francis Webb.  His mother, Louisa Charlotte Burr (c1785-1878), was the illegitimate daughter of former vice president … Read MoreFrancis Johnson [Frank J.] Webb (1828-1894)

George W. Lowther (1822-1898)

Image Ownership: Public Domain George W. Lowther, barber, abolitionist, equal school rights activist, and Massachusetts legislator, was born a slave in Edenton, North Carolina, to Polly Lowther.  His father’s identity is unknown.  His mother, Polly Lowther (c.1780-1864) was an Edenton baker, the slave of wealthy … Read MoreGeorge W. Lowther (1822-1898)

Dating Harriet Jacobs: Why Birthdates Matter to Historians

Image Ownership: Public Domain In the article that follows British Columbian historian and documentary editor, Mary Maillard, explores the controversy surrounding the precise birthdate of slave narrative author, Harriet Jacobs, and reminds us why precision matters. Earlier this year (2013), numerous celebrations marked the two … Read MoreDating Harriet Jacobs: Why Birthdates Matter to Historians