New Story to Oldest Photo of Harriet Tubman Found in Existence - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

New Story to Oldest Photo of Harriet Tubman Found in Existence

Posted: May 07, 2018 5:30 PM Updated:

CAMBRIDGE, Md.- Inside the Harriet Tubman Museum in Cambridge, there are plenty of portraits as well a drawing or two. But there isn't anything quite like one portrait of the famous abolitionist. Just ask Bill Jarmon.

Jarmon made sure to figure out whether a portrait, found last year in a family album in New York, was really Harriet Tubman. So, he asked a historian.

"She told me she had seen the picture and that she was quite sure that it was a young Harriet Tubman when she was around the age of 42," Jarmon said.

The Library of Congress bought the picture and the album at an auction for $161,000. Now, one year later, officials say the picture, taken some time in the late 1860s, is the oldest of Tubman found in existence.

"I just couldn't believe that we are now even collecting more items on Harriet Ross Tubman," Jarmon said.

People like Dion Banks say it's a side of the abolitionist never seen before.

"It just shows a beautiful, eloquent lady who says, 'I'm here. This is me," Banks said. "To me, the picture asks all of us - what are you going to do?"

Historians say the portrait is the youngest Tubman we may ever see. Tubman spent much of her young adult life on the run, hoping to become a free woman and helping to free others. That, in turn, meant no time for pictures.

"All of these amazing things was done by this small five foot frame of this beautiful woman, who's sitting in this beautiful dress," Banks said.

As of now the original portrait is housed at the Library of Congress in Washington, but people like Jarmon say there could soon be copies of the portrait coming around to Dorchester County, including the Harriet Tubman Museum located on Poplar Street in Cambridge.

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