The velist William Dean Howells described autobiography as the most democratic of American literary genres. Autobiography has offered a voice to women, African Americans, Native Americans, and others whose writings have often been excluded from the literary can.The men and women presented here observed, shaped, or participated in many of the most exciting and important events of American history. First Person Past lets them speak for themselves. From the hundreds of American autobiographies, the editors have chosen twelve for each of Volumes I and II of First Person Past because they are interesting history and good literature. Their literary and historical virtues have been preserved as edited for inclusion in each volume.
Russell Duncan is a professor at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Marian Morton is a professor at John Carroll University.