Photo -- See Caption Below

c 1891
Copy of an Antonius Stradivarius instrument
Made in Germany

This violin belonged to Frederick Douglass. It was donated to the site by Mrs. Joseph Douglass (Fannie), wife of Mr. Douglass' grandson. Douglass played the violin for his grandchildren and guests when they visited Cedar Hill. He frequently performed for his grandchildren after supper and before their bedtime.

Douglass would appear in the door leading from the hall or West Parlor into the dining room with his violin in hand. He taught his grandchildren slave songs he learned as a young slave. The grandchildren sang and clapped their hands while Douglass tapped his feet. See the words of two songs below.

James M. Gregory's 1893 account notes that when Douglass, then a fugitive slave, was in Scotland in 1845, "...he passed a street in a despondent mood,...saw a violin...bought it. He then went home, shut himself up, played for three days until he was in tune himself and went out into the world -- a cheerful man...".
Wood, gut. L 61, W 21, D 8.6 cm
Frederick Douglass National Historic Site
, FRDO 2505