Member Blogs > Read'Em Again BooksRiding a Sales Wave of African-American Material - 12 June 2013

  • Sat, 22 Jun 2013 03:35:12    Permalink
    I havent posted anything in a while, but that doesnt mean I havent been keeping busy.  Unfortunately, I had to focus on some family issues stemming from the death of my father, so I simply havent had time to write.  Anyway, I hope to get back on track and crank out a post every week or so beginning today.
    It always strikes me as odd the way I can have quality books and ephemera on hand for months with nary an on-line query, a single catalog response, nor a brief look-see from a show patron, and thenBang!the stuff seems to sell like hotcakes.  Over the past several weeks, that is just whats happened with some very nice, and rather expensive, African-American materials that Ive had in stock for some time.
    It started out several months ago with an on-line sale of a rare African-American propaganda poster from World War One, The Dawn of Hope and shortly, thereafter, I sold a scarce stereoview of Joel Chandler Harriss boyhood mentor, Uncle George Terrill (hes the old-timer seated in the chair), who was one of real-life slaves upon whom he modeled Uncle Remus.    Then, I had a string of sales at Ephemera 22, a DC Big Flea, and a York Book and Paper Fair, where a couple purchased a first edition extra-gilt gift set of Uncle Toms Cabin, a young man bought a grouping of sheet music featuring black performers of the Thirties and Forties, and a museum curator bought a copy of Harrigan and Harts, The Skidmore Guard Waltz. And finally, I recently processed two on-line orders for classic African-American World War One histories, Sweeneys History of the American Negro in the Great World War and Scotts Official History of the Negro in the World War.
    Im hoping the trend continues as I still have a number of very nice African-American and Slavery items available for sale (and as always, discounts to the trade).  For example:Jones, Laurence C.  Sweet Memories of Dixie.  Piney Woods (Braxton), Mississippi, 1924: Piney Woods School.  Sheet music.  Very nice example of music composed by the African American founder and principal of the Piney Woods Country Life School.  Jones established the school in 1909 to provide a practical education for poor, rural black children, and it is still in operation today. Piney Woods is the second oldest African American boarding school in the United States, and one of the finest boarding schools in America. Nearly 100% of its graduates continue on to selective colleges and universities.  In the early 1920s, Piney Woods added a School for Blind Negroes.  The school has a rich musical tradition and has originated a number of singing groups including the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi and the Cotton Blossom Singers. The front cover is illustrated with black sweethearts in a rowboat and a photograph of Jones.  There are numerous photos of the school and its students on the rear cover.  Clean with no tears or splits.  $100.00Malcolm X.  Message to the Grass Roots. Detroit, 1965: American Broadcasting & Recording Co.  Scarce 33 1/3 LP record album of Malcolm X's famous speech, just before he was first silenced and then expelled from the Nation of Islam by Elija Muhammad.  The speech, given to the Northern Negro Grass Roots Leadership Conference on November 10, 1963, has been rated by some rhetoricians as one of the hundred best American speeches.  In it, Malcolm X encourages the unity of blacks against whites ("And what we have foremost in common is that enemy: the white man. He's an enemy to all of us."), insullts most Black leaders as being "House Negroes" who curry the favor of their white political masters, declares that violent revolution is in order ("Revolution is bloody, revolution is hostile, revolution knows no compromise, revolution overturns and destroys everything that gets in its way."), and derides the 1963 March on Washington as an ineffective "circus."   Haven't played the record, but it looks to be in nice shape with no significant scratches.  Protective sleeve is present and in good shape.  Album cover has some light wear and soiling; no splits or rips.  $150.00Cleaver, Eldridge (editor).  The Black Panther, Vol. IV, No. 7, Jan 17, 1970.  Berkeley, California, 1970: The Black Panther Party.  20 pages including the cover.  This issue of the newspaper of he Black Panther Party has an exceptional cover showing an American flag with black stars and portraits of two, then incarcerated Panther icons: co-founders Bobby Seale (Chairman) and Huey Newton (Minister of Defense).  Feature articles include "Deputy Chairman Fred Hampton Drugged Then Murdered."  There is a double-page centerfold broadside titled "The Black Panther: Mirror of the People" and another two-page spread with smaller broadside-type articles: "Rules of the Black Panther Party" and "Black Panther Party Platform and Program: What We Want, What We Believe."  Almost no wear.  Very light horizontal fold.  Light toning.  $225.00Report by Martin Van Buren.  Search or Seizure of American Vessels on Coast of Africa, &c., Doc. 115, 26th Congress, 2nd Session 1841.  Complete: 766 pages plus one blank.  Comprehensive reference regarding the search and seizure of U.S. vessels by the British in their attempt to stop the African slave trade. Includes all correspondence between the Secretary of State and the Legation of the United States in London, the British Legation at Washington, and the United States Consulate at Havana from 1836 to 1841. Clean pages. Tight, sound binding; removed from a volume.  $350.00

    Washington, Booker T.  An Open Letter By Booker T. Washington, of Tuskegee, Alabama, Upon Lynchings in the South.  Tuskegee, Alabama, 1901: Tuskegee Institute Print.  8 page pamphlet.  Complete.  Sound stapled binding.  Light wear and soiling but for the last leaf which has ink spots and old tape repairs.  First separate printing: "Reprinted from The Montgomery Advertiser, The Birmingham Age-Herald, The Florida Times-Union, The Nashville American, The New Orleans Times Democrat."  Very scarce.  Not in the Blockson Collection at Temple University.  Only four copies are listed in Worldcat.  $800.00
    Langston, John Mercer.  From the Virginia Plantation to the National Capitol: Or the First and Only Negro Representative in Congress from the Old Dominion.  Hartford, 1894: American Publishing Company.  First edition.  Complete.  This is a fascinating autobiography. Langston was born free in 1829 as the youngest son of a Louisa County plantation owner and his emancipated true love.  He and his siblings were raised in the big house on the plantation until his parents death in 1834. At that time, the children, whose inheritance was substantial, moved to Ohio to live with abolitionist friend of the family. Langston graduated from Oberlin College and studied law under the tutelage of Republican Congressman Philemon Bliss.  He became one of the first black men ever to hold public office in the United States when he won the election to a town clerk position in Ohio, and he became the first African-American elected to the U.S. Congress from Virginia during Reconstruction in 1888. Langston also served as the first dean of the law school at Howard University and the first president of what is now Virginia State University.  Langston was the great uncle of [James Mercer] Langston Hughes.   Very good with some minor wear including a cracked hinge.  $1,250.00
    Smith, Oliver.  Small Anti-Slavery Archive, 1834-1840.  Hartfield, Massachusetts, 1834-1840.  Manuscripts.  A small archive of four anti-slavery documents from the estate of Oliver Smith.  The documents include: 1) A two-page list of resolutions (including a major anti-slavery resolution) approved by the Methodist Episcopal Church of Orleans, Massachusetts in 1834, 2) A three-page manuscript article that was printed in 1839 as "Immediate Emancipation" on page 15 of Volume 4 of the American Anti-Slavery Almanac, a publication of the American Anti-Slavery Society,  3) A six-page anti-slavery speech from the Presidential Election of 1840 condemning both the Whigs and Democrats for lying, violence, hypocrisy, distribution of hard liquor, and most importantly, "the great evil," i.e., their pledges "to support the slavery of the south." and 4) A one-page manuscript containing a three-verse anti-slavery poem. Typed transcriptions of the first three documents are included. All of the documents are in nice shape. $1,500.00
    [Texas] Committee on Slaves and Slavery.  A Report and Treatise On Slavery and the Slavery Agitation.  Printed by Order of the Texas House of Representatives, December, 1857.   Austin, 1857: John Marshall & Co., State Printers.  First Edition. The pamphlet is complete with its salmon-colored cover. In 1857 some members of the Democratic Party in Texas proposed that the African slave trade be re-opened, reasoning that an influx of African slaves would speed the growth of Texas, increase the state's productivity, and broaden slave ownership among the general public. Several Texas newspapers supported the proposal, including Austin's Texas State Gazette and Houston's Tri-Weekly Telegraph. In November, Representative John Henry Brown of Galveston introduced a series of resolutions in the Texas legislature calling for removing federal restrictions on the African trade which had been officially outlawed in the United States in 1808. The Committee on Slaves and Slavery studied the issue and published its report in this pamphlet, urging Congress to abolish all laws hindering the slave trade but recommending that Texas take no independent action due to the controversial nature of the issue. The Committee also went on record in agreement with the underlying principles of Brown's resolutions that African slavery was just and humane, that importing more Africans would ease the lot of those already enslaved, and an increase in the slave population would be a boon to the Texas economy. Sound binding with intact spine. Clean pages with a few very light smudges. Light wear; owner's information and two ink spots on the front cover. Faint vertical crease to the first half of the pamphlet.  $3,500.00
    Chopped-Up Niggers.  McLoughlin, New York, 1874.  Set of two complete jigsaw puzzles with all pieces in original box.  Very good condition.  This notorious jigsaw puzzle set has been characterized as the most racist children's toy ever published in the United States.  It is exceptionally hard-to-find in any condition, and sets that are complete with all puzzle piecesas this one isare practically never seen.   $4,000.00

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