Historic Edenton State Historic Site Visitor Center
Visitors to Edenton can learn more about Harriet Jacobs’ early years when they stop by the Historic Edenton State Historic Site Visitor Center, located at 108 N. Broad Street. An exhibit about Harriet Jacobs features photographs and illustrations of the people and places associated with her life, as well as items such as the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame trophy, presented posthumously.
Self-Guided Tour of Harriet Jacob’s Edenton Years
To visit the sites the author referenced in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, the Visitor Center offers a self-guided tour brochure of her Edenton years, 1813 1842. Written by Historic Edenton State Historic Site staff, and featuring a map and photographs, the brochure points to the former site of Molly Horniblow’s home, where Harriet stayed in hiding for nearly seven years; the Chowan County Jail, where her children and family members were imprisoned for a short time; and Edenton Harbor Bay, the route for Harriet’s escape north; among other locations.
For a fee, the Visitor Center hosts guided walking tours of the Harriet Jacobs’ sites for student groups with advance reservations. Visitors may also pick up the guide map, “Community, Family, ChurchAfrican American Life in Edenton 1700’s to the Present.” Please call (252) 482-2637 for information.
A North Carolina Highway Historical Marker honoring Harriet Jacobs is positioned in front of the Visitor Center. A marker located at Colonial Park on West Water Street designates Harriet Jacobs’ story and Edenton as part of the National Park Services’ National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, comprised of sites, facilities and programs associated with the Underground Railroad. Edenton’s Network to Freedom site, “Escape Via Maritime Underground Railroad,” interprets how the maritime culture of coastal ports such as Edenton provided runaways with a network of people who could assist with a slave’s escape. The site was designated on Nov. 22, 2004.
Examples of pre-Civil War southern architecture can be seen during the Walking Tour. Click here for photo gallery and locations.
The following books by and about Harriet Jacobs and the time period during which she lived are for sale in the Visitors Center gift shop:
An Architectural Portrait, by Thomas R. Butchko (Edenton, NC: Edenton Woman’s Club and Chowan County Government, 1992)
Cradle of the Colony: The History of Chowan County and Edenton, by Thomas Parramore
(Edenton, NC: Edenton Historical Commission, 1967)
Harriet Jacobs, A Life, by Jean Fagan Yellin (New York: Basic Books, 2004)
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself, by Harriet Jacobs and edited by Jean Fagan Yellin (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1987)
Letters from a Slave Girl, The Story of Harriet Jacobs, by Mary E. Lyons (New York: Simon Pulse, 1996)
The Courthouse at Edenton: A History of the Chowan County Courthouse of 1767, by Marc D. Brodsky (Edenton, NC: Chowan County Government, 1992)
The Harriet Jacobs Family Papers, edited by Jean Fagan Yellin (Chapel Hill, NC: UNC Press, 2008)
For additional information, contact:
Historic Edenton State Historic Site
PO Box 474
108 North Broad Street
Edenton, NC 27932
(252) 482-2637 p
(252) 482-3499 f