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1869 & other occasions

Frederick Douglass made three documented visits to Mount Vernon.

His first visit was on August 19, 1869. Douglass, visiting from Rochester, New York, as a tourist, arrived by the steamboat Arrow with a party of men, women, and children of Washington's black elite. Douglass and his party disembarked, climbed the stairs to Washington's tomb, and made their way up to the Mansion and surrounding gardens and outbuildings.

This visit was considered newsworthy—an article in the Evening Star reported the occasion as such:

The steamer Arrow … glided off the gate wharf on a regular excursion to Mount Vernon, taking down a large number of excursionists including among whom were Frederick Douglass and friends, and the amalgamated couple Mr. and Mrs. Montague, mention of whose marriage was published in the Star yesterday.

Douglass’ second documented visit occurred on June 14, 1878. Douglass was serving as United States Marshal of the District of Columbia in the administration of President Hayes, so at this point he had relocated to Washington, D.C. For this visit, Douglass joined an assemblage on the steamer Mary Washington to Mount Vernon.

On his third visit, Douglass was photographed on the East Lawn with other groups of visitors. Douglass’ position in one image, slightly separated from the others, suggests he was visiting Mount Vernon solo. There are no newspaper articles relating to this third visit, so the precise date is unknown (estimated to be from 1886 – 1889).

Douglass stands on the far right, posed alongside other visitors to Mount Vernon in this undated photograph. (National Park Service)
Douglass, standing near center, is photographed on the same day with an even larger group of visitors. (National Park Service)

Famous Visitors

Over its long history, Mount Vernon has hosted some of the world's most famous and influential figures.

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