Ashland is now home to an image of Henry Clay’s enslaved valet Aaron Dupuy

WEKU | By Stu Johnson
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Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate, is now home to a rare stereograph of the attorney and statemen’s enslaved valet. The transfer of Aaron Dupuy’s picture from the University of Kentucky Libraries Special Collections Research Center to the Henry Clay Memorial Foundation took place Monday.

The only pictures of enslaved people connected to the Ashland Estate are of the Dupuy family. Ashland Executive Director Jim Clark said it’s important to have objects restoring the humanity to the story of the enslaved at the Henry Clay Estate.

“Putting in front of people actual images versus just talking about people in the abstract and quite a few other historic sites when they talk about the enslaved, it’s usually pointing toward silhouetted images of people because they don’t have images,” said Clark.

Aaron Dupuy served as a personal valet and coach driver for Henry Clay and likely spent much time with him in Washington when Clay served in Congress.

Ashland Curator Eric Brooks said Clay had more than a hundred enslaved people at the Lexington mansion and grounds. Brooks says this addition at Ashland doesn’t create a more negative view of the attorney and congressman.

“I don’t think of this as a negative view. I think of it as an honest view. I mean, it is a fact that he enslaved people and was one of the larger slaveholders in this state. That is reality. We can’t change that. That’s what happened. He made choices relative to slavery,” said Brooks.

The stereograph of Dupuy, which can be viewed in three-D with the right equipment, will eventually be displayed alongside a drawing of his son Charles.

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Photo: Stereograph of Aaron Dupuy (Stu Johnson, WEKU)

Republished with permission from WEKU.