Secret Lives of the Underground Railroad in New York City

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Sidney Howard Gay and Louis Napoleon

The story of the clandestine life of Sidney Howard Gay, an abolitionist journalist, and his close associate in the Underground Railroad, Louis Napoleon, is being told for the first time in a book by Tom and co-author Don Papson. The book also includes the complete Record kept by Gay in the years 1855 and 1856, detailing his assistance to fugitive slaves.  Some miscellaneous notes on financial transactions up to the year 1858 are also part of the Record.  It is similar to the account book kept by Francis Jackson, treasurer of the Boston Vigilance Committee and the journal kept by William Still, from which he wrote his classic book on the Underground Railroad.  Both Still and Jackson collaborated with Gay, especially Still who sent about half of the fugitives in the Gay Record.  The book provides detailed biographical information of Gay and Napoleon and detailed analysis of their Underground Railroad network with maps and tables and biographical information on those who comprised it and the fugitive slaves whom Gay aided, not only in the Record but in the years before and after the Record.  Our research efforts were aided by a collaboration with renowned historian, Eric Foner, with whom we shared information about Gay and Napoleon.  Foner also has a forthcoming book about Gay and his involvement in the Underground Railroad.


Secret Lives of the Underground Railroad in New York City is set for publication by McFarland and Company sometime in the fall of 2014. See McFarland Catalog

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