This was the second time that Mary appears in the New York Times, and in a strange coincidence, the dates of her arrival there are the same: March 7, 1855 and March 7, 2019.
Here is an excerpt from Chapter 12 “A White Slave from Virginia” of Girl in Black and White:
“On March 7, 1855, Elizabeth and her three children, Oscar, Mary, and Adelaide Rebecca, along with Prue and Evelina, headed north. According to the New-York Daily Times, the newly manumitted family “created quite a sensation in Washington, and were provided with a passage in the first-class cars in their journey to this City.” Train cars were segregated—blacks were permitted to ride only in a small section of the smoking car. To be provided with “a passage in the first-class cars” is a meaningful detail in this context. The women traveled as white, while Oscar accompanied them in the role of servant or rode segregated in the smoking car. They traveled in the company of Charles Henry Brainard, the thirty-eight-year-old lithographic publisher and publicist from Boston. His book Brainard’s Portrait Gallery of Distinguished Americans—primarily drawn from portraits of men who worked in Washington—was in production, and he had to deliver the daguerreotypes to his engraver, Leo Grozlier. It may have been for this reason that Brainard was en route from Washington to Boston in early March 1855. Or perhaps he traveled with Elizabeth as a personal favor to his senator….
When meeting Mary, New Yorkers responded in ways not unlike their gawking at the curious exhibits at Barnum’s museum, at such celebrities as Tom Thumb or the “Feejee mermaid.” Strangers examined her for traces of the African race: in her skin, in the arrangement and size of her facial features, in the shape of her head, in the curl of her hair, and in the whites of her eyes. Her examination began at the offices of the New-York Daily Times, located at 138 Nassau Street.