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This house was the first home Frederick Douglass bought in Rochester. Douglass likely lived here from 1847 until the purchase of his next home in 1852. Douglass’s relationship with his neighbors is recounted in local newspapers, including the North Star, an anti-slavery newspaper Douglass edited while living here. The Douglass family used this home as a stop on the underground railroad, along with the other homes he owned in the area. This is also the home where Frederick Douglass’s wife, Anna Murray-Douglass, decided she would not receive a formal education because she saw more personal value in tending the home. The home was demolished and turned into a parking lot in 1954. A historical marker was installed here on November 5, 2018.


  • Douglass's home, shown here in 1936.
  • Newspaper article written in April of 1895 by Jane Marsh Parker, a friend of Frederick Douglass.

The Douglasses moved to the Alexander Street home in Rochester in 1847, after Frederick Douglass concluded a tour of speaking engagements in Europe. Soon after, Frederick Douglass began publishing the North Star newspaper from a local AME church as well as participating in both the Abolitionist and Women's Suffrage movements. The Douglasses would eventually move to another home in the Rochester area around 1852, and this home continued to be a residential home and a storefront for local Rochesterians, until its demolition in 1954. 

Morry, Emily. Home on Alexander Street. Democrat and Chronicle. http://media.democratandchronicle.com/retrofitting-rochester/frederick-douglass-home-alexander-street.

Frederick Douglass home on Alexander Street, Rochester N.Y [photograph].. Monroe County Library System. https://catalogplus.libraryweb.org/?section=resource&resourceid=1116921835¤tIndex=0&view=fullDetailsDetailsTab.

On the new historical marker, see https://13wham.com/news/local/historic-marker-commemorates-frederick-douglass-house-in-rochester.

This entry is part of a public history project developed by the RIT Museum Studies program in celebration of the bicentennial of Frederick Douglass’s birth (February 1818). The items shown in this entry are taken from a scrapbook that is one of two in the collections of the Local History and Genealogy Divisions of Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County Library.
http://www.libraryweb.org/~digitized/scrapbooks/rsc00001color.pdf
http://www.libraryweb.org/~digitized/scrapbooks/rsc00002color.pdf. 
The photograph of the home is part of the Monroe County Library collection. See https://catalogplus.libraryweb.org/?section=resource&resourceid=1116921835¤tIndex=0&view=fullD...