Van Meter has posed holding a copy of W. O. Blake’s History of Slavery and the Slave Trade, Ancient and Modern. The title on the book’s spine can be seen by magnifying and reversing the image:Blake’s History was first published in 1857 by J. & H. Miller of Columbus, Ohio and sold exclusively by subscription. Blake’s History is a vast overview of the historical forms of slavery, treating the subject up to the debates over Kansas in the US Congress. It strives to maintain “objectivity,” but is clearly abolitionist in its didactic intent. The Van Meters lived near Rock Island, Illinois, and Van Meter’s posing with this book seems a clear declaration of his views on the slavery question. Presented below are the title page, two page Preface, and an illustration of a slave ship, all from Blake’s History: