Wednesday, September 13, 1865.
not well to day busy to day the festival comes off for the children vincent down about 7 o quite a number of children and adults were thy all seemed to enj
oy [enjoy] them selves very much i did not go out untill evening Julia and i went to hear blind Tom i was much Pleased with the preformance excepting we had to sit up stairs wich made me furious
another warm day. Poor Frank Duglass died this morning or 12 o last night i went to meeting cant say it did me much good as i went
“Blind Tom” was an autistic slave from Georgia who toured concert halls performing musical numbers he learned from memory. After emancipation, Tom continued to travel with his master, who controlled all the proceeds from Tom’s popular shows. A complicated figure, Tom inspired awe with his talent–performing two different songs on different pianos, while singing a third song–but he nonetheless frustrated critics for his deep loyalty to his former master. The Philadelphia Inquirer advertised Blind Tom’s concerts beginning Tuesday, September 12, 1865, with tickets available for just fifty cents. Emilie’s complaint serves as a reminder that many public places remained segregated or continued to exclude people of color altogether. Even so, Emilie and Julia were not prepared to have to sit in a separate section of the Concert Hall, located on the corner of Chestnut and Twelfth Streets. “Concert Hall. Tom. The Blind Negro Boy Pianist,” Philadelphia Inquirer, September 11, 1865, 3. Susanna Capeluto, “The Tale of ‘Blind Tom’ Wiggins,” NPR, March 6, 2002, http://www.npr.org/programs/morning/features/2002/mar/blindtom/index.html. Adin Ballou, Autobiography of Adin Ballou, 1803-1890, William Sweetzer Heywood, ed., Lowell, MA, 1896, 452-3. www.librarycompany.org/mcallister/pdf/playbills.pdf.
According to her death certificate, Frances Douglass died on September 15, 1865 of phthisis pulmonalis, another name for tuberculosis. Emilie and her cohorts might have shortened Frances to “Frank,” and at 18 years old, Frances was likely a contemporary of Emilie’s.