A Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Venture, a Native of Africa

Description
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 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.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
book
date made
1798
Physical Description
paper, laid (overall material)
ink (overall material)
thread (binding material)
Measurements
overall: 8 1/8 in x 5 5/8 in x 3/8 in; 20.6375 cm x 14.2875 cm x .9525 cm
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
place made
United States: Connecticut, New London
place used
United States: Connecticut, Stonington
ID Number
DL*006868.003
catalog number
6868.003
accession number
28810
subject
Slavery
Copp Collection
Cultures & Communities
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Domestic Life
Copp Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of John Brenton Copp

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

**Please read before submitting the form**

Have a comment or question about this object to share with the community? Please use the form below. Selected comments will appear on this page and may receive a museum response (but we can't promise). Please note that we generally cannot answer questions about the history, rarity, or value of your personal artifacts.

Have a question about anything else, or would you prefer a personal response? Please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.