Born a slave in Virginia in 1815, Henry Brown worked in a tobacco factory and was separated from his wife, who was a slave, on a neighboring plantation. In 1848, his wife and children were sold to a plantation in North Carolina. Henry “Box” Brown resolved to escape slavery, and with the help of a fellow church member, had himself shipped in a box from Richmond, VA. to Philadelphia, PA. The box was 3’ long, 2’ wide, 2’8” tall, and had a small hole for air. The box was strapped and nailed shut and labeled “dry goods, this side up.”
The box traveled by a variety of wagons, railroads, steamships, and ferries before being delivered to the Philadelphia Anti-Slavery Society. In 1849, Henry Brown had artists build a moving panorama about slavery which he used in a show called “Mirror of Slavery.” With the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, he fled to England. Brown returned to the United States in 1875 and performed as a magician using the original box.
This Henry “Box” Brown mug is part of our Civil War, Abolitionist and African American Series profiling outstanding men and women who have helped shape our country in important and positive ways.
The biographical History Mugs were created to teach and inspire individuals to learn about our diverse and interesting history. The biographies were researched and written by history enthusiast, Robert Compton. He colorized most of the historic photos and images used on the mugs, which were originally black and white or sepia tone. The images and biographies are imprinted on mugs at his studio in rural Vermont.
- Mugs are food and microwave safe.
- To preserve photographic quality we recommend hand washing.
- Mugs are usually shipped within 3-5 days.
- Shipping charges are lower when buying multiple mugs.