Local History Photos

Laura Haviland


Laura Haviland

An important figure in the history of the Underground Railroad in Michigan, Laura Haviland was also one of the founding members of the first antislavery society in Michigan in 1832.

Courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library


People: Laura Haviland

Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)



Sojourner Truth


Sojourner Truth

Courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library



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Signal of Liberty: Address of the Carrier, Jan. 1, 1849 (BL000757)


Signal of Liberty: Address of the Carrier, Jan. 1, 1849 (BL000757)

Bentley Image Bank: BL000757

Read more about the Signal of Liberty newspaper and the Underground Railroad in The Underground Railroad in Ann Arbor by Grace Shackman, Pictorial History of Ann Arbor: Churches, Theater, and Newspapers, and Ann Arbor Founders: Ann Arbor, Abolition, and the Civil War.

Image courtesy of Bentley Historical Library.



Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)



Nathan M. Thomas


Nathan M. Thomas

Nathan M. Thomas helped establish the first anti-slavery newspaper in Michigan and was an active participant on the Underground Railroad. It is estimated that Thomas helped as many as 1,500 escaped slaves obtain freedom in Canada. In 1845, Thomas also unsuccessfully campaigned to become Michigan's lieutenant governor.


People: Nathan M. Thomas

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Josiah Beckley's home, 1709 Pontiac Trail


Josiah Beckley's home, 1709 Pontiac Trail

Read more.


Places: 1709 Pontiac Trail

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Theodore Foster Home


Theodore Foster Home

Courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library



Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)



Rev. Guy Beckley home, 1425 Pontiac Trail


Rev. Guy Beckley home, 1425 Pontiac Trail

Read about Guy Beckley's house in: the Ann Arbor Architecture Archive

Another photograph of Beckley's home and additional information are available on the Underground Railroad panel of the Downtown Ann Arbor Historical Street Exhibit Program online.

Read more about the Signal of Liberty newspaper and the Underground Railrod in The Underground Railroad in Ann Arbor by Grace Shackman, Pictorial History of Ann Arbor: Churches, Theater, and Newspapers, and Ann Arbor Founders: Ann Arbor, Abolition, and the Civil War.


Places: 1425 Pontiac Trail

Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)



Henry Bibb


Henry Bibb

Courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library


People: Henry Bibb

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Huron Block on Broadway


Huron Block on Broadway

Guy Beckley published the Signal of Liberty above his brother Josiah's store in the Huron Block on Broadway.

Read more in The Underground Railroad in Ann Arbor by Grace Shackman and Ann Arbor Streets: Lower Town.

Image courtesy of Bentley Historical Library.



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Postcard of First Presbyterian Church, E. Huron and Division (BL004802)


Postcard of First Presbyterian Church,  E. Huron and Division (BL004802)

Bentley Image Bank: BL004802

The founding meeting of the Michigan Antislavery Society was held in the First Presbyterian Church (located at the southwest corner of E. Huron and Division Streets, Ann Arbor, later the site of the Ann Arbor News building.) Delegates from six counties elected officers and adopted fourteen resolutions denouncing slavery. This convention led to the establishment in Jackson in 1839 of the American Freeman, the state's first antislavery newspaper and its successor, Ann Arbor's Signal of Liberty, in 1841.

Image courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library



Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)