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Catalog Data

Physical Description:
paper, laid (overall material)
ink (overall material)
thread (binding material)
overall, encased: 3/8 in x 8 1/8 in x 5 5/8 in; .9525 cm x 20.6375 cm x 14.2875 cm
Object Name:
Place made:
United States: Connecticut, New London
Place used:
United States: Connecticut, Stonington
Date made:
<i> A Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Venture, a Native of Africa: But Resident above Sixty Years in the United States of America. Related by Himself</i> was published by C. Hold at the Bee-Office in New London, Connecticut in 1798. As noted in the title, the book was “related” by Venture to his teacher, Elisha Niles, and published the same year. Venture’s was captured as a 10 or 11 year old from West Africa and sold to slavers, who sold him to Robinson Mumford, from Rhode Island. As a slave in New England, Venture married his wife Meg, also a slave, who gave birth to their daughter, Hannah. After Hannah’s birth in 1754, Venture was sold to Thomas Stanton of Stonington, Connecticut and continued to toil as a slave, ending up with Captain Oliver Smith in 1760. Five years later he was allowed to purchase his freedom for 71 pounds. Working as a free man, Venture purchased his sons in 1769and his wife, Meg, in 1772. In 1775 he purchased his daughter Hannah, reuniting his entire family. He lived in East Haddam, Connecticut until his death in 1805.
While the slave narrative was becoming a popular genre at the end of the 18th century, the presence of this book in the Copp’s library is rather interesting due to a family relationship with Thomas Stanton, the “villain” in the story. Margaret Stanton, who married Samuel Copp in 1721, was Thomas Stanton’s third cousin.
The Copp Collection contains about 150 books of early American imprint and shows a wide range of reading matter typical of a New England Puritan family living in a port town. Literacy was expected of many New Englanders, as Puritan doctrine required everyone to read the Bible. The abundance of multiple Bibles, psalms, hymnodies, sermons, and morality tales reflects the Copp’s religious beliefs. Other highlights of the library include the works of Shakespeare, almanacs, historical and political texts, and travel narratives.
The Copp Collection contains a variety of household objects that the Copp family of Connecticut used from around 1700 until the mid-1800s. Part of the Puritan Great Migration from England to Boston, the family eventually made their home in New London County, Connecticut, where their textiles, clothes, utensils, ceramics, books, bibles, and letters provide a vivid picture of daily life. More of the collection from the Division of Home and Community Life can be viewed by searching accession number 28810.
Currently not on view
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Credit Line:
Gift of John Brenton Copp
ID Number:
Catalog number:
Accession number:
See more items in:
Home and Community Life: Domestic Life
Cultures & Communities
Copp Collection
Data Source:
National Museum of American History