Robert Roberts (butler)
Robert Roberts (1780 in Charleston, South Carolina – 1860) was the author of The House Servant's Directory: A Monitor for Private Families. First published in 1827, the book was the first commercially published book written by an African American in the United States. The book was sufficiently popular that two later editions were printed. In 1825 he became the butler for Christopher Gore, Governor and Senator from Massachusetts, and remained in the position until Gore's death in 1827. Previously he had been a butler or manservant for Nathan Appleton and it is likely that Roberts traveled abroad with Appleton from 1810 to 1812.
Roberts married Dorothy Hall in 1805. They had no children, and Dorothy died of tuberculosis in 1813. Later in 1813 he married Sarah Easton. They had twelve children. Later in life he was known in Boston as an abolitionist and for his efforts to secure equal school rights.
- The House Servant's Directory. Fulltext of 1827 edition made available through Michigan State University Library website.
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