Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 65,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Brown, John (1800-1859) to Thomas B. Musgrave re: imprisonment

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC07638.01 Author/Creator: Brown, John (1800-1859) Place Written: Charlestown, Virginia Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 1859/11/17 Pagination: 1

Summary of Content: "I do not feel myself the least degraded by my imprisonment, my chain, or the near prospect of the gallows. Men cannot imprison, or chain, or hang the soul." With engraving, photograph, and collateral paperwork. Per Lee Shepard, Asst. Director for Manuscript and Archives at the Virginia Historical Society, the recipient of John Brown's letter is Thomas B. Musgrave rather than "F.B." Musgrave. Shepard writes (May 2001) that Musgrave "is identified as the son of a New England merchant and industrialist with whom Brown had dealings earlier in his life."

People: Brown, John, 1800-1859.

Historical Era: National Expansion and Reform, 1815-1860

Keywords/Subjects: John Brown, Abolition, Slavery, African American History, Prisoner, Guerrilla Warfare, Death Penalty

Sub Era: Slavery & Anti-slavery The Crisis of the 1850's