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Haunted Convict: Rochester Man's Memoir Found at Estate Sale Details 19th Century Imprisonment

Feb 4, 2016

Credit beinecke.library.yale.edu/

In 2009, scholars at Yale University learned of a remarkable discovery made by a private book seller at an estate sale in Rochester.

It was a memoir written by hand in a bound journal by an African American man named Austin Reed, a Rochester native believed to  have been born in 1823.

His writings tell the compelling and haunting story of Reed's indentured servitude and his day-to-day existence in a juvenile detention center and later at the Auburn State Prison in the years leading up to the Civil War.

This first-person account from the 19th century is now available publicly for the first time with the release of the book The Life and the Adventures of a Haunted Convict.

It was edited by Caleb Smith, a professor of English at Yale University.

Click on the LISTEN link above to hear an interview.