Dear Friend

cover_dearfriend_smDear Friend, Thomas Garrett & WIlliam Still, Collaborators on the Underground Railroad, published by Cobblehill Books in 1997, is the story of a friendship between two men who helped fugitive slaves escape north on the Underground Railroad.

Thomas Garrett was a white Quaker, living in the slave state of Delaware. William Still was a free black man living in Philadelphia. They formed an uncommon alliance as “friends of humanity” in a common cause.  Garrett was the chief operator of the railroad’s eastern line, and he passed fugitive the last few dangerous miles to freedom. Welcoming them north was Still, a member of the Philadelphia Vigilance Committee, who helped them resettle or continue on to Canada.  Their story is told through letters between the two men, addressed “Dear Friend” and through the stories of the fugitives themselves and their desperate flights for freedom.

The International Reading Association named this book to Notable Books for a Global Society in 1998. Reviewers described it as “engaging nonfiction,” “a page turner which will spark any reader’s interest in learning more about the underground railroad,” a book with “immediacy.”  The author was featured in a documentary on the Underground Railroad called Whispers of Angels, produced by Teleduction, Inc.  The story of William Still has also been made into a musical: