Gay, Sidney Howard, 1814–88, American abolitionist and publisher, b. Hingham, Mass. Following several failed business ventures, he was drawn to the work of the abolitionists and moved to New York City (1843), where he joined the American Anti-Slavery Society and edited (1843–59) its weekly newspaper, the National Anti-Slavery Standard. Gay was an important operative in the Underground Railroad, working closely with the free black Louis Napoleon. His notebooks, The Record of Fugitives (1855–56), detail the stories of more than 200 escaped slaves who passed through New York. Gay subsequently worked for several New York and Chicago newspapers, collaborated with William Cullen Bryant on the Popular History of the United States (4 vol., 1876–80), and wrote A Life of James Madison (1884).
See D. Papson and T. Calarco, Secret Lives of the Underground Railroad in New York City (2014) and E. Foner, Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad (2015).
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