1. What Happened to Solomon Northup?
Until recently, little was known about Northup following
publication of his book Twelve Years a Slave in 1853.
2. Work of Joseph Logsdon and Sue Eakin
An edition of Twelve Years a Slave, published in 1968 by
the Louisiana State University Press, included an
introduction by the editors, Joseph Logsdon and Sue
Eakin, as well as footnotes throughout the text which
provided confirmation or additional information about
people, places, and events mentioned in Northup's book.
The introduction contained some information relating to
Northup's life after the publication of his book in July
3. Information in the Logsdon/Eakin introduction
After describing the apprehension and trial of Northup's
kidnappers, the editors write:
"What finally became of Solomon Northup can only be conjectured. Property
records of 1863 show that his wife and son-in-law sold their adjoining
property that year. Solomon evidently had died, and his family now moved
from the area, perhaps to Oswego, where his brother and son once lived."
This is mostly incorrect. The properties were sold in 1864,
and his wife's property had been purchased in her name
alone in 1855. His family relocated to Moreau, New York,
near their previous place of residence, Glens Falls.
4. Solomon Northup: His Life Before and After Slavery, 2012,
by David Fiske
In January 2012, researcher David Fiske published a book
incorporating information obtained during over 12 years
spent researching Northup.
It includes many previously unknown details about
5. Northup's Early Public Appearances
Within weeks of his return home in 1853, Northup
appeared at anti-slavery meetings in Albany and Troy in
No doubt public awareness of his remarkable story made
him a valuable figure at these rallies.
6. Northup's Lecture Tour
Following publication of his book in July 1853, Northup
began traveling to give lectures and to sell his book.
Over two dozen appearances have been documented in
newspaper accounts during the period 1853 to 1857.
8. A description of one of Northup's talks
"Northup tells his story in plain and candid language, and
intermingles it with flashes of genuine wit. It is a sure
treat to hear him give some hazardous adventure, with
so much sans froid, that the audience is completely
enraptured and the 'house brought down.'"
- Frederick Douglass's Paper, January 27, 1854
9. Plays about Northup's life
• In the spring of 1854, a theatrical production was
presented at the National Theater in Syracuse, New
• Newspaper reports suggest it was not an overwhelming
• Northup reportedly played himself
• In 1855 a traveling group presented a play called "The
Free Slave" in several towns in Massachusetts
• Northup was not in the cast, but he reportedly greeted
10. Northup receives some bad press
• Newspapers in Massachusetts warned print shops and
lodging establishments that the acting group sometimes
skipped out on their bills
• In St. Albans, Vermont, in 1856, some cast members
(probably acting in a version of "The Free Slave")
became intoxicated and engaged in a fist fight
11. Northup and the Underground Railroad
After the Streetsville incident, no newspaper reports
concerning Northup have been found. However, letters
written by the son of a Methodist minister in Hartland,
Vermont say that Northup, along with another black man,
Tabbs Gross, assisted his father (the Rev. John L. Smith)
getting fugitive slaves to Canada. The letters are in the
collections of Harvard's Houghton Library.
13. Information on Northup, and on the new book:
Solomon Northup: The Complete Story of the
Author of Twelve Years a Slave
• Go to solomonnorthup.com
• Read about (and order) the new book
• Basic information on Northup
• Upcoming appearances by David Fiske
• How to arrange a presentation