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Is the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass a true primary source even though it...

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derrickhayes | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 19, 2011 at 11:39 PM via web

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Is the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass a true primary source even though it was republished?

Ive been reading the unabridged Dover republication of 1995, and Im not sure if it is still a primary source since it was republished?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 19, 2011 at 11:53 PM (Answer #1)

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Yes, Frederick Douglass's autobiography is definitely a primary source, regardless of when the actual book you have was published.  A primary source is simply one created by a person with first-hand knowledge of the events and times described and which was created at or near the time in question.

Of course, Douglass had first-hand knowledge of his own life.  As for the time element, his autobiography was, of course, not written during his childhood or his days as a slave.  However, it was still close enough in time to those events for it to qualify.

The date of publication is not relevant to whether something is a primary source.  What matters is who wrote it and when.

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