People of the Underground Railroad


People of the Underground Railroad

by Tom Calarco

Retail: $37.50  Hardcover   ISBN: 978-0-313-33924-0

377 pages with 35 images (portraits and daguerreotypes), and one national map

         This encyclopedia provides a representative geographic sample of 100 key people involved in the Underground Railroad.  It narrates the stories of their lives and their contributions. Its goal is to provide a broad picture of the secret and sometimes not so secret network.

            Entries were prepared using both contemporary and original sources, and the two were often compared to ensure accuracy. The majority of those covered were major figures in the Underground Railroad, but a number of minor characters have been included to add scope and bring attention to some whose names have been neglected in the history books. 

            In recent years attention has been focused on including equitable representation by race and gender, and this was taken into account.  The breakdown by race is 61 white and 39 black individuals.  It is true that blacks were more likely to assist fugitive slaves; however, one needs to consider that in 1860, there were about 70 times as many whites as there were free blacks in the U.S.  So far as gender, ten women are included. The small number is a reflection of the primarily domestic role of women in the antebellum period. However, Kate Coffin and Jean Rankin, the wives of the prominent conductors, Levi Coffin and John Rankin, were very much a part of their Underground Railroad operations in fixing meals and providing accommodations.  On one occasion, Kate even forwarded a fugitive slave to another location in the city of Cincinnati.  And the husbands of two of the women included, Lucretia Mott and Hannah Cox, were equal collaborators in their Underground Railroad activities.




John W. Jones, Elmira, NY



can be purchased at

ABC-CLIO or calling 800-368-6868