Roy E. Finkenbine, "Douglass, Frederick," American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/15/15-00186.html.
Douglass bristled under such paternalistic tutelage. An answer was to publish an autobiography providing full details of his life that he had withheld. Although some friends argued against that course, fearing for his safety, Douglass sat down in the winter of 1844-1845 and wrote the story of his life. The result was the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Written by Himself (1845). The brief autobiography, which ran only to 144 pages, put his platform tale into print and reached a broad American and European audience. It sold more than 30,000 copies in the United States and Britain within five years and was translated into French, German, and Dutch. Along with his public lectures, "the Narrative made Frederick Douglass the most famous black person in the world."