Side A: This building served as the law office to Joshua Reed Giddings, a Whig congressman who advocated for the abolition of slavery and an end to the domestic slave trade. Born in 1795, much of Giddings’ young life was occupied by working on his father’s farm. After serving in the War of 1812, he began to study law, gaining admittance to the bar in 1821. A successful lawyer, Giddings was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives in 1826. In 1837, he was elected as a Whig to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he quickly established himself as a staunch opponent of slavery. In 1854, he joined the Republican Party, contributing greatly to the platform during the party’s conventions of 1856 and 1860. As reward for his dedication, President Abraham Lincoln appointed him as consul- general to Canada, where he served until his death in 1864.
Side B: An excerpt from Congressman Joshua R. Giddings’ farewell speech to the House of Representatives in 1859: “[…] And I beg to assure you, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, that whether in public or in private life, in prosperity or in adversity, whether living or dying, my heart’s desire and prayer to God shall be that every human soul may enjoy that liberty which is necessary to protect and cherish life, attain knowledge, and prepare for heaven. And when I shall have passed away, let my epitaph announce that I hated oppression and wrong,- that I loved liberty and justice.”