Readex Congratulates Dr. Erica Armstrong Dunbar Whose New Book Has Been Nominated for a 2017 National Book Award

never-caught-9781501126390_lg.jpgCongratulations to Erica Armstrong Dunbar whose new book, Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge, has been long-listed for the 2017 National Book Awards.  It is one of ten non-fiction nominees for this year’s prize which will be announced on November 15. Dr. Dunbar is the Director of the Library Company of Philaelphia’s African American History Program and the Charles and Mary Beard Professor of History at Rutgers University.

Never Caught was described by Columbia University Professor Eric Foner as “a fascinating and moving account of a courageous and resourceful woman. Beautifully written and utilizing previously untapped sources it sheds new light both on the father of our country and on the intersections of slavery and freedom.”

Among the “previously untapped sources” used by Dr. Dunbar was Readex’s Early American Newspapers.  She described that use at an American Library Association talk titled “Still Reading the Silences: African American Women’s History in the Digital Age.” About Dunbar’s recounting of Judge’s remarkable life, Jennifer Trammell wrote:

Other than in the minds of those who hear her story, there is no image of Ona Judge Staines. There are no writings by her hand. There are only a few surviving details of the woman who made such a daring move against one of the most powerful men of the 18th century. Yet, using an array of digital primary sources, including historical newspapers, Dunbar masterfully presents a vivid account of Judge and her journey to freedom. And, as Dunbar dramatically describes, there was one moment in her research—a slight change of a search term—that revealed an entirely new chapter in Judge’s life.

Ona New Hampshire Gazette Jan 14 1797.jpg

To jump to the point at which Dr. Dunbar explains how she used Early American Newspapers “to find the smallest pieces of Ona Judge’s life,” including the marriage announcement above, please move the time-bar in the video below to the 50:30 spot.

For more information about Early American Newspapers, please contact

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