While most photos depict Tubman as an elderly woman, a newly unearthed picture shows a much younger Tubman and was quickly acquired by the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture.
It’s part of a 44-photo collection that also includes the only known photo of John Willis Menard, the first African-American man elected to the U.S. Congress.
“We are so thrilled.The institutions have agreed to joint ownership and will digitize the photographs as soon as possible. The intention is to make them as widely available as possible through online images everyone can use,” Gayle Osterberg, a Library of Congress spokeswoman, told the Washington Post.
The album was sold at the Swann Auction Galleries in New York for $130,000.
Tubman is of course known from escaping slavery in 1849 and was at the helm of the underground railroad as she helped others who were enslaved.
Lonnie Bunch, the founding director of the museum says, “We are pleased and humbled to work with the Library of Congress to ensure that this rare and significant collection will be preserved and made accessible to the American public.”