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Black Americana

[A reminder of what the War –in part– was fought for: important, and vital African-American history. The first African slaves in America were sold in Jamestown in August 1619, a year before the Pilgrims arrived. Slavery quickly spread throughout Virginia, gained legal recognition, and became the assumed status for all Blacks. Elaborate codes were established to maintain slavery – including laws about marriage, ownership and parenthood. By the time of the Revolution, there were a half-million slaves in America and although some Southerners (such as Jefferson) spoke out against the institution, it was firmly entrenched in the economy. In the early 1800s, Northern abolition groups began to form and in 1817, the American Colonization Society was founded with the intent to send freedmen back to Africa. A few slave revolts, most notably Nat Turner’s in 1831, virtually eliminated all opposition to slavery in the South. Attitudes towards slavery in the North and South hardened in the decades before the Civil War, despite the Missouri Compromise, the Compromise of 1850, and Kansas-Nebraska Act. “Bleeding Kansas” and John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry showed the violence people would employ over the practice. On January 1, 1863, Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, outlawing slavery in areas under rebellion and in December 1865, the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment officially ended slavery in America.]

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“I find in myself much of the quality of a hero worshipper.”

906. FREDERICK, Douglass. (1817–95) Black-American reformer born a slave, Douglass was instrumental in the creation of the Union Negro regiments which fought with great distinction during the war. Good content A.L.S. Signed “Fred’k Douglass “, 1p. 8vo., Washington, June 12, 1883 to a Mrs. Thomas. Reads “Absence from home is my apology for not sooner responding to your note. The same cause which has kept me from writing has also kept me from reading the Book you caused to be sent me. I expect to find it more interesting than you describe it to be. I find in myself much of the quality of a hero worshiper at least a very strong interest in distinguished people. I enclose autograph for Mr. Robert’s little boy.” A tad light, else fine, very nicely double-matted with gold fillets and set into a gilt frame. At this time Douglass was the Reorder of Deeds for the District of Columbia. Interestingly enough, Douglass took his name from Scott’s hero in The Lady of the Lake after his second, and successful, attempt to escape from slavery in 1838! A wonderful example. (Est. $3,000-4,000)

907. STOWE, Harriet Beecher (1811-96). American novelist and author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. She was also a reformer and temperance leader supporting anti-slavery movements and women’s suffrage. At meeting Abraham Lincoln at the White House, this towering giant looked down at this tiny woman and said, “So you are the little woman who started this war.” AQS, 4 x 5″, Dec. 14, 1892, two tiny breaks at the top, repaired on verso with archival paper. It is a copy of one stanza of a three-stanza poem written by the Irish poet, Sir Thomas Moore (1779-1852). This was discovered in an attic in a family bible in a home in East Lyme, CT. (Together with research from the Stowe Center Library identifying the poem.) “‘Those evening bells! Those evening bells! How many a tale, their music tells Of youth & home, & that sweet time When last I heard their soothing chimes’ Harriet Beecher Stowe, Dec. 14 1892. A great example to display. (Est. $1,000-1,200)

One of the most substantial pieces

of black Americana we’ve handled:

imploring whites in the South to join

with black slaves to overthrow

by force of arms

slave-holding plantation owners.

908. [SPOONER, Lysander] Important and rare broadside/circular, 2p. folio, [Boston, July 1858] imploring non-slaveholding whites in the South to combine with black slaves to overthrow by force of arms slave-holding plantation owners. A rare piece, of which less than 200 were printed before their suppression by Spooner – at the behest of John Brown who believed it would tip off authorities of his planned raid on Harper’s Ferry a year later. A dramatic and incendiary broadside, advocating no less than a complete overturning of Southern society, is headed “TO THE NON-SLAVEHOLDERS OF THE SOUTH” and opens, presenting “‘A Plan for the Abolition of Slavery,'” and soliciting “aid to carry it into execution. Your numbers, combined with those of the Slaves, will give you all power. You have but to use it, and the work is done. The following self-evident principles of justice and humanity will serve as guides to the measures proper to be adopted. These principles are – 1. That the Slaves have a natural right to their liberty. 2. That they have a natural right to compensation (so far as the property of the Slaveholders and their abettors can compensate them) for the wrongs they have suffered. 3. That so long as the governments, under which they live, refuse to give them liberty or compensation, they have the right to take it by stratagem or force. 4. That it is the duty of all, who can, to assist them in such an enterprise…” The bottom is a form-letter with instructions: “The following note is to be addressed to some person at the South, and signed by the person sending it, giving his own residence…” It goes on to read: “Please accept, and exhibit to your neighbors, this copy of a document, which we are intending to distribute very extensively through the South, and which, we trust, will give birth to a movement, that shall result not only in the freedom of the blacks, but also in the political, pecuniary, educational, moral, and social advantage of the present non-slaveholding whites. Please let me hear, from you often, informing me of the progress of the work. Direct to me at_____________” The verso, titled “A PLAN FOR THE ABOLITION OF SLAVERY,” opens with an equally inflammatory passage “When a human being is set upon by a robber, ravisher, murderer, or tyrant of any kind, it is the duty of the bystanders to go to his or her rescue, by force, if need be…” At bottom is blank space for recipients to affix their names in forming “an Association to be called the LEAGUE OF FREEDOM…” Spooner saw the planned movement as a supreme duty “naturally inherent in human relations and necessities, governments and laws are of no authority in opposition to it. If they interpose themselves, they must be trampled under foot without ceremony, as we would trample under foot laws that should forbid us to rescue men from wild beasts, or from burning buildings. On this principle, it is the duty of the nonslaveholders of this country, in their private capacity as individuals – without asking the permission, or waiting the movements, of the government – to go to the rescue of the Slaves from the hands of their oppressors.” He invites people to publicly declare support in various associations and details steps to be taken to overthrow slavery, including “Informing the Slaves (by emissaries to be sent among them, or through the non-slaveholders of the South) of the plan of emancipation, that they may be prepared to cooperate at the proper time.” Spooner also encouraged Northern supporters to emigrate to the South to further the cause. Finally, “When the preceding preliminaries shall have sufficiently prepared the way, then to land military forces (at numerous points at the same time) in the South, who shall raise the standard of freedom, and call to it the slaves, and such free persons as may be willing to join it…we trust within a few years at farthest – to detach the government and the country at large from the interests of the Slaveholders; to destroy the security and value of Slave property; to annihilate the commercial credit of the Slave-holders; and finally to accomplish the extinction of Slavery. We hope it may be without blood…” A remarkable document composed by an equally remarkable social philosopher and essayist. Lysander Spooner (1808-87) was a maverick from early in his long legal career. Considered a curiosity among the radical abolitionists, today he would be looked upon as an individualist (anarchist). Spooner’s work, much of which based in the fundamentals of Natural Law, proved influential in both anarcho-socialist and libertarian circles. In his day, he was a trail-blazer for numerous free-thinkers of the 19th-century. He first gained notoriety in the 1840s in a fight against the Post Office, challenging their monopoly on letter delivery by starting his own delivery service between Boston and Baltimore. Though his company’s competition managed to convince the Post Office to finally lower long-inflated postal rates, the government still sued him out of business in 1851. Spooner’s writings covered a variety of areas including advocating the right of juries to interpret law, the “illegality” of poverty, and government (“the state”) was merely a voluntary association. Being a reforming thinker, the subject of slavery proved unavoidable. His radical attacks on that institution, with assumptions based on natural law, made even William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillips seem moderate. Spooner argued against their contention that slavery was embodied and legitimated by the Constitution, thus providing a compelling argument for disunion. His 1845 work, The Unconstitutionality of Slavery, became the official campaign literature of the Liberty Party. This 1858 broadside put him in an entirely new league. Following composition, he began sending copies to his fellow abolitionists. Over the autumn of 1858 and 1859, their comments trickled in, most calling the plan unrealistic. (Lewis Tappan’s religious convictions prevented supporting a violent effort; Rowan Helper, a Southern abolitionist, feared the circular would strengthen Southern resistance; Wendell Phillips, writing in July 1858, said his “scheme would be a good one if it were only practicable” and doubted whether he could enlist enough support “to save the attempt from being ridiculous…”) And, of course, this effort would amount to treason.

In January, 1859 Spooner caught wind of John Brown’s plot and immediately wrote to Gerrit Smith of his fears: that Brown had not the means to succeed. He then forwarded to Brown a copy of this circular, hoping he would modify his plans in accordance with his ideas. Around the time of Brown’s raid, copies of Spooner’s circular were made public causing a furor both in Boston and in the South where it’s contents were reprinted in newspapers. Following Harper’s Ferry, it was widely assumed that the circular was, in fact, the work of Brown! Spooner wrote to Governor Henry Wise of Virginia to identify himself as the only “Author of the Circular,” denying Brown’s authorship. He further stated that Brown’s men had approached him shortly after the circular’s publication and advised him about Brown’s plot. The men requested Spooner to “desist from sending the Circular to the South, on the ground that it would interfere with Brown’s plans, by putting the slave holders on their guard.” Following a personal appeal from John Brown himself, Spooner ceased circulation. An extensive source of OCLC reveals but five extant institutional copies including editions at the Library of Congress, New York Public Library, New York Historical Society as well as two small California university libraries. (Confusingly, because of inadequate cataloging, this imprint bears five separate OCLC accession numbers, some using the title on recto, others using the verso, as well as assumed dates range from the 1830s to the 1860s.) Spooner himself remarked in an 1878 letter that approximately 200 copies were ever printed before he ceased distributing the circulars at the behest of John Brown. A search of auction sales records reveal no sale history for the past 30 years. Small chip at bottom margin not affecting text, a few minor marginal tears, light toned spots, else very good to fine. We simply cannot put an estimate on this rarity!

909. (TRUTH, Sojourner) A rare cabinet card portrait of the great abolitionist bearing the caption on the mount “I Sell the Shadow to Support the Substance.” A rare example of this well-known portrait which is most often encountered in carte form. Born Isabella Bamfree circa 1800 to a Dutch family (this was also her first language), she was freed by New York’s Gradual Abolition Act in 1827, afterwards working as a domestic. In 1843 she claimed to have been called by God to travel (or sojourn) the nation to preach “the truth”. Hence her popular name. She published and sold these photographs to raise money for her work in both women’s rights and abolition. This example bears her copyright notice on the verso. A few minor chips to emulsion, else very fine with excellent contrast. (Est. $3,000-4,000)

910. A rare edition of Sojourner Truth’s narrative, [Olive Gilbert] Narrative of Sojourner Truth, A Northern Slave, Emancipated from Bodily Servitude by the State of New York, in 1828. With a Portrait. (New York: Published for the Author, 1853) xi, 144p., 12mo., in original titled wraps. 2nd Edition printed by Edward O. Jenkins. Pages and wraps toned at margins, minor chipping and dampstains to wraps mostly at edges, spine still tight, owner’s signature at top of front wrap, else good. This is second edition of her narrative that includes an introduction by Harriet Beecher Stowe (but not credited), the first edition appearing out of Boston in 1850. The last example of this addition appeared at auction in 1996 and sold for $2,400… that edition lacked the back wrap. (Est. $2,500-3,500)

911. Abolitionist Book Mark. A great piece of folk art, a 2.5 x 3″ needlepoint vignette of a chained slave on one knee bearing the simple slogan “God Plead My Cause”. Affixed to a 2.5 x 10″ period silk ribbon bearing an elegant floral pattern. Very fine. (Est. $300-500)

A very rare treasure of

black Americana!

912. A tintype of a black American commissioned officer in the Union Army. An extremely rare sixth-plate tintype. Of the thousands of black soldiers who served in the Union Army, only 100 were ever commissioned as officers. A superb image with very neat gilt accents. Housed in an ornate copper mat and a back half of a gutta-percha case. One crack at top affects image only slightly. This one really is a museum piece! (Est. $3,000-5,000)

913. Two (2) ninth-plate cased tintypes of African-Americans posed in their formal attire. Blue, red, and gold tinting enhance their portraits…note the impressive jewelry on these two!

(Est. $300-500)

Wearing his

“U.S.” buckle!

914. A fine, quite historic piece of black Americana: a cased, ninth-plate ambrotype of a Union contraband wearing his “U.S.” military issue belt buckle. A truly special photograph.

(Est. $1,500-2,000)

915. Another fine rarity, this a ninth-plate tintype of Union contraband photographed in front of a camp scene backdrop. An early, evocative photo, minor solorization at perimeter, else fine. A touching study – our presenting these choice lots represents a rare opportunity. (Est. $1,000-1,500)

916. Cased tintype of a black youth. A nice and richly textured sixth-plate tintype of a young black child posing with a white hat on table. Housed in a ornate brass mat and half of a gutta-percha case. Excellent. (Est. $200-300)

917. Contraband with an oxcart! A fun carte by Mountain City Gallery of Chattanooga. A tad light, this poor soul clearly had a hard life. (Est. $300-500)

918. And, no doubt following in the wake of the previous driver… this African-American is posed behind a team of horses on his water cart. Pencil noted on verso as coming from Baton Rouge, LA. (Est. $200-300)

919. Wonderful carte of slaves and children in the fields harvesting cotton. A somber image in extremely lovely condition. Red rule board, about as pristine as you can find. (Est. $300-350)

920. A slave-dealer’s former home… the Grigsby House, being used as the Headquarters of Gen. Joseph Johnston near Manassas. Once the mansion of slave dealer Alexander P. Grigsby of Centreville, this carte by Brady, imprint on verso, includes several black children in the foreground; three others are either standing or sitting on the porch stairs while a lone black woman stands in the right side yard. An extremely and quite scarce carte photograph. (Est. $300-500)

921. Cartoon CDV of freed slave donning a new set of duds, leaving his field-hand clothing on the stool, a picture of the Great Emancipator hangs above. Period pencil notation on the verso: “Preparing for Congress” likely referring to the 15th Amendment allowing former slaves the right to vote. (Est. $80-120)

922. Group of five (5) Southern stereoviews including three detailing the lives of African-Americans, conditions vary as shown. (Est. $150-200)

923. A group of ten (10) stereos with black American themes. One entitled “A Free Lunch” shows a baby nursing; one has a child posed with an alligator! (Est. $100-150)

924. By Alexander Gardner. A Gallery Card copyrighted by Gardner & Gibson, 1862, of Union officers at mess – two black servants stand at the ready, one holding the pot of coffee waiting to serve.

A fine, scarce example. (Est. $400-600)

925. PLEA FOR MILITARY ASSISTANCE TO RESTORE ORDER IN WARREN COUNTY, GEORGIA. A superb Reconstruction-period letter from the sheriff of Warren County, GA, 2p., Nov. 13, 1868 to Governor Rufus Bullock of Georgia requesting military assistance to stem white violence against freed slaves. In part: “I have the honor to request of your assistance of a military force with power to act in keeping order in this county (Warren). We are having outrages upon freedmen almost nightly. In the night of the 5th of November, about 100 men went to the house of Perry Jeffrey…(he being absent in the woods for safety) they killed his son Wm. a sick and feeble boy, then rifling open a feather bed, put his body into it. Another bed on top of that. there the furniture and clothing of the house and burned the whole! Perry is now willing to make oath to three of the parties. I am ready to perform my part of the duty, as soon as I can get the assistance to enforce the laws and that must be military…Perry was sent to Augusta for safe keeping by the Agt. of the [Freedman’s] Bureau. His life is not safe there as at the first assault – upon him in the night of Nov 1st After their breaking into his house he shot one [of the assailants]…they are after him and swear to follow him to the end of the earth. There are many other cases in which a military company which power to act can be useful in restoring order in this county, three freedmen are so terror stricken that when beaten and whipped they do not dare to make complaint to the Bureau for protection or to the Justices of the Peace. In the lower part of the county their treatment is ten times worse than before the war. Minutemen patrol the country almost every night...” Usual folds, light soiling, otherwise fine condition. Quite remarkable content seldom found.

(Est. $500-800)

A Congressman writes to “Parson” Brownlow demanding that blacks be given the vote!

926. TENNESSEE and the 15TH AMENDMENT. Superb political content A.L.S., 3p., Boston, Aug. 1, 1869 from Rep. William F. Prosser to fiery Tennesse Gov. William G. “Parson” Brownlow. Prosser urges Brownlow to take action to have the state assembly approve the 15th Amendment allowing blacks to vote. In small part: “…[I urge] the convening of the Legislature immediately after the Election…Tennessee should set herself right in this matter before it is too late…I know I speak the sentiments of the Administration and the Republican Party generally that they are anxious that that amendment should become a part of the Constitution of the U.S., and we of Tennessee should leave nothing undone on our part to secure so desirable a result…” Ironically, Tennessee never did adopt the amendment, as the state was exempt from Reconstruction laws requiring its acceptance. Fine condition. Another document with substantial content. (Est. $500-1,000)


“…I was born under

the white mans

government & I hope

to die under the same.”

927. Anti-Reconstruction rant.

A superb content A.L.S. of a disgruntled William M. A. Norville, 4p., Baltimore, Oct. 8, 1866 to his son William T. Norville at Navy Cove, [Ala.] making extensive comments about his post-war transplantation north to Baltimore, with virulent racist comments concerning Reconstruction. Norville opens noting that “…We agree with your prudence of remaining at Navy Cove with your family until the better times which you mention in your letter comes, My Son, I can now name several persons which you know, & among them Wm. Wilson & your Brother who moved from your Sand beach, Some returned again flat broke & many of those who would have returned but had no house to come to, consequently could not get back, True it is very bad for the dear children to not have School teachers among them…There is one thing I am certain of, that is all a person who have lived at the cove have made a respectable living…I advise you by all means to stick to your old home, as you know it cost four times as much to live in the City as it does where you are at now...” Norville then turns to politics: “…You[r] mention of Radicals being the cause in a great measure of the dullness of business, I believe the same, I have the honor of informing you that that your venerable Father is not a radical, neither is any member of his family, We are all for the reunion of the whole 36 States to be consolidated into one Union to form these great U.S. of America, No North, no South, no East, no West, But to be one united band of Brothers the Same as the F.A.M. No enemies except foreign & when they make themselves as such then we will all join together & whip them out of existance. These my son are my true centements, Reconstruction at once, no negroe Suf[f]rage and if the Yankees do not agree to our terms, let them take the nigs & separate from us as I was born under the white mans government & I hope to die under the same. The Rads are using every means here to sustain their Negroe worshipping congress, But I think they lo[o]se by all of two thirds, I am not a politician but shall vote on this occasion for reconstruction so as to admit our mislead Southern friends again into the Union & representation...” More fine content. Light soiling along folds with a few toned spots, otherwise very good condition. (Est. $400-600)

928. Fight Between Rhode Island Slaves before the Revolution. Fine content A.L.S. from prominent Rhode Island citizen William Vernon, 1p. with integral address leaf [Rhode Island, 1775], to Joseph Clark. In part: “…Your negro boy, this Evening, hath greatly abused my Negro boy…by stricking & wounding him on the Head with a large stick, and throwing a heavy stone at him, which fell between his Eyes – he is much hurt. I by no means choose or incline to enter into disputes & quarrels between Negroes, yet I think common humanity points out…that he hath injured redressed, therefore I make no doubt you will give your Boy proper correction…” Slave content letters from New England are rare indeed! (Est. $300-500)

Working for the Freedman’s Bureau

can get you killed!

929. (Reconstruction) A wonderful pair of early post-war Freedman’s Bureau officer’s letters, totaling 8p., from Lt. York A. Woodward, 24th Veteran Reserve Corps, Abington, Va., Jan 27 and Feb. 7, 1866 to his cousin concerning fearing for his life while performing Freeman’s Bureau business, reading, in part: “…in the first place…Father is here with me and of course I am all flurried and bustled up and mixed up talking to him about matters…in general and in special…Congress has so much to do in regard to the ‘negro’ that the members can think of nothing else and until Congress legislates in regard to the officers for the V. R. C…if they are not put into the regular army but kept in the [Freeman’s] ‘Bureau’ as a set of hangers on. Then the honor belonging to the V. R. C. is no longer apparent, and I will resign and go home…I am very crowded with work and having no one to help me not even a clerk or an orderly. I am now three days behind with my office business. I have spent three nights out in the country where I had to go on business, and could not get back, and the rest of the time I have worked in my office till 9 or 10 o’clock every eve. I have made application for some help and expect I get it. Father keeps me busy talking these days and I like to be kept busy in that way. You cannot imagine the comfort I take in father’s presence has at this time…I have been actually afraid that I was going to be killed several times…three days ago I was in the midst of 25 or thirty hot headed southern men all armed and…waiting for me to get into an altercation with one of the autocrats of the place with whom I was transacting some business…to shoot me. All they want here is…some excuse or provocation and the agent of the F.[reeman] B.[ureau] at Abington will be among the missing. I never had my temper in such control in my life as now…my life depends on it…I got a piece of cake sent to me yesterday from a ‘ladies supper’ for the benefit of the Preb Church, I don’t know who sent it. Father helped eat it…[Feb. 7, 66]…this…is a gloomy, smoky day…I…have been listening to an eloquent and earnest minister for the past four nights. A Mr. Lacy of Richmond who used to be “Stonewall Jackson’s” chaplain [and] is holding a protracted meeting here in the Presbyterian Church…he is one of the most eloquent man that I ever heard…I…have a very strong notion to resign and go home…I just came in from a long ride in the country where I had to go on some Freeman’s business…”. Woodward served throughout the war in the 34th PA Vols and the 24th Veteran Reserve Corps. He was POW during the Seven Day’s campaign, wounded and captured at Fredericksburg and confined for a time at Libby Prison. He became a Freedman’s bureau agent after the war. (Est. $300-500)

Praying for Lincoln – an incredibly rare

eye-witness account of a black prayer meeting: “The ‘African preacher’ commenced & gave a good & correct history of the life of Christ in his own simple way…”

930. A superb and detailed description of a Louisiana black prayer-meeting as related by an unidentified member of the 16th New Hampshire, a penciled A.L.S. (signed with a symbol of an anchor), 8p. 8vo. on 16th Regiment letterhead, Mansfield, La., Mar. 2, 1863 to his sister, and writes in part: “…We are to commence target practice immediately. We are commanded by Maj. Gen. Sherman & Brigadier Gen. Andrews, who brought up the rear of that ‘masterly retreat’ conducted by Banks last year. Our boys love col. Pike & would follow him anywhere…I wish you could hear the negroes talking French as they are washing…I have been to the City [New Orleans] for the third time. I think it must have been a splendid place before this dreadful war began. The St. Charles hotel, the custom house & some other places are worth visiting. Many of the ladies dress in black, on account of the war, I believe. Last evening I went outside the lines & attended a Negro meeting…we went about 3/4 of a mile to a negro colony, where are many houses build of split cedar boards, with mud, cob house, chimney on the outside. The houses join each other in the colony & make quite a city. Some of the houses are as large as a small pig stye [sic]. The church also is of the same material as the houses, without fire or floor; the desk is raised some four steps, with a front not unlike those in N[ew] E[ngland] in style, but different in finish (as it was of split boards also). Some of the pews have backs & some have not. We entered before the Elder arrived & the Blacks came in one or two at a time for twenty minutes, taking part in singing as fast as they came in & shook hands & put their cane under the pulpit or in some other safe place, & their hats in the desk or on a beam; as you can reach the eaves as you stand on the ground. They sign ‘The day is past & gone’, ‘Religion never was designed to make our pleasures less’, &c., as deaconed [?], a line at a time. This lasted nearly an hour, when the text was announced ‘the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life’ The ‘African preacher’ commenced & gave a good & correct history of the life of Christ in his own simple way & closed with a touching appeal to sinners. He was followed by another & then they prayed & sung. They prayed for the President & the officers & soldiers, that the Lord would stand between them & their enemies & that they might be spared to go home to their homes & friends. In singing, praying & preaching, they keep the body swinging backwards & forwards, or side ways…& occasionally respond & make a peculiar mournful singing, groaning sound, that seems ridiculous to a Yankee. On the whole, I take them to be sincere & they doubtless improve the few talents given them better than many of our people do.” Usual folds, else fine. Tremendous insight. (Est. $400-500)

931. “I want to see the day come…when your cousins freedom is good as any man” Interesting archive of four documents [1867-1881] relating to William See, evidently a slave freed during or shortly after the end of the Civil War and living in Texas. 1. The earliest document dated January 1867, at Sterling, Texas is a lengthy manuscript document being an account for the purchase of supplies from July to September 1866, between “William See, Freedman” from I. H. Drennan and includes: whiskey, knives, shoes, blankets, sugar, flour, nails, an axe, boys shoes and assorted items. 2. An autograph letter signed, four full pages, octavo, February 12, 1870, addressed to “My dear cousin Cee”, from Dinah Prescott in Washington, DC. She writes in very small part: “I suppose luck has followed you as you are master of land…and prosper…you have not lost a bit of fondness for your relations…This is the first bit of silver I have seen since the war and I intend to get a piece of furniture with it…I must tell you of a misfortune in the family. On Christmas eve we had a visit from Aunt Bestsy’s daughter Rose…she had been sick for a long while…after much suffering she died on the 2nd day of February and leaves me three helpless little children…give my love to Jane and the children and tell her not to let them forget us…” 3. An autograph letter signed, two pages, octavo, March 2, 1871, on House of Representatives letterhead, from C.G. George (?), possibly another relative, addressed to “William See & Sis. He writes, mostly phonetically:…”I will in forme you that (?) is daede and want you all to knact greive remembering save to all my peapel…I want to see the day come sure it will be hear when your cousins freedom is good as any man…” 4. Partly printed document, one page, 8″ x 7″, October 1, 1881, Calvert, Texas, being a receipt on Fuller & Connaughton stationary for shovels, nails and baking powder sold to Wm. See, marked paid. An interesting insight into the lives of a Black family during the period immediately following the Civil War. (Est. $800-1,000)

932. A good set of six (6) issues of The Anti-Slavery Record 12p. ea., 8vo., including the 1835 issues (Vol. 1) 6, 7, 9, 10, 11 & 12. Each issue, published by the American Anti-Slavery Society, bears a dramatic woodcut illustrating the horrors visited upon slaves including the flogging of women, forcible separation of families and like atrocities. Light foxing and toning, one issue bears some loss at bottom right corner not affecting text, else very good. (Est. $200-400)

933. 1856 and Bloody Kansas. Fine content pamphlet, Speech of Gerrit Smith in the Kansas Meeting, at the Capitol in Albany 3p. 4to., Albany, Mar. 13, 1856 in which the noted abolitionist blasts the Pierce administration’s actions in Kansas. In small part: “…I will say nothing just now of the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, except to say, that the repeal was very perfidious and very wicked. And but little need be said on this occasion of the doctrine of ‘squatter sovereignty.’ that doctrine is absurd, because inasmuch as a Territory belongs to the whole people of the United States, they the whole people are bound to govern it. It is not competent for them to abdicate, and to leave to a handful what belongs to all. They have no right in such case to substitute another government for their own…that they shall be willing to submit to this ruffian government, provided the Federal Government shall require them to do so. But in no event must they submit to it. They must resist it, even if in doing so they have to resist both Congress and President...” In January, 1856 Pierce declared the Free-State Kansas government in Topeka to be a “revolution” against the “legitimate” state government at Lecompton. The situation in Kansas would continue to deteriorate into a full-scale civil war which lasted into 1859. An eloquent expression of the radical abolitionist movement on the eve of disunion. (Est. $100-150)

934. Election of 1856. A fine content printed handbill, 2p. 8vo., [Maine, 1856] promoting the candidacy of John FrÈmont for President, and Hannibal Hamlin for Governor of Maine. Entitled “THE NEW ‘DEMOCRATIC’ DOCTRINE”, the handbill attacks the Democrats charging that their new “doctrine” would not merely confine slavery “…to the Negro race, but to be made the universal condition of the laboring classes of society…This doctrine, which is so monstrous and shocking as almost to seem incredible, is now openly avowed and defended by very many of the newspapers and of the public men of the South that support James Buchanan...” Light foxing, folds, very good. (Est. $100-200)

935. “Negroes As Men and Soldiers.” A fine imprint issued the same year as the Emancipation Proclamation: Opinions of the Early Presidents, and of the Fathers of the Republic, Upon Slavery, and upon Negores as Men and Soldiers. (Loyal Publication Society, Wm. Bryant & Co. Printers, New York: 1863.) 20p., original stitching, titled wraps, ex-library punch at bottom. A patriotic tract to articulate historical antecedents by various Founding Fathers supporting the rights of African-Americans. (Who knew?) A very clean example. (Est. $80-100)

An important discovery: a scarce, early printing of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

936. The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Amendment XIV) is one of the post-Civil War amendments (known as the Reconstruction Amendments), intended to secure rights for former slaves. It includes the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses among others. It was proposed on June 13, 1866, and ratified on July 9, 1868. It is now regarded as one of the most important components of the Constitution. The amendment provides a broad definition of national citizenship, overturning the Dred Scott case – which excluded African-Americans. It requires the states to provide equal protection under the law to all persons within their jurisdictions, and was used in the mid-20th century to dismantle legal segregation (as in Brown v. Board of Education). Its Due Process Clause has driven many important and controversial cases around privacy rights, abortion (Roe v. Wade), and other issues. The other two post-Civil War amendments are the Thirteenth Amendment (banning slavery) and the Fifteenth Amendment (banning race-based voting qualifications). A scarce and early printing of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, 1p. 8 x 10″, [Washington, 1866] bearing the title: “Joint Resolution proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.” The imprint recounts the text of the amendment, which had passed both houses of Congress on June 13, 1866, including two clauses that were eventually dropped from the final text as enshrined in the Constitution. Thus this document predates June 13, 1866 and interestingly enough, the two clauses that were removed from the final version are both italicized in this imprint, which implies that this was very close to the final version that passed. The deleted clause in Section 3, which excludes those who have rebelled from participating in national government: “unless since such rebellion he shall have proven his loyalty by his act; and has not openly or secretly incited the people to rebel against such legislation as has been adopted by a two-thirds vote of Congress.” The deleted clause in Section 4 specified how the public debt of the United States would be apportioned: “and such debts shall be equalized throughout all the States, according to the capacity and resources of each State.” A few minor losses to margins, light foxing, usual folds, otherwise very good. We could not source other copies… certainly quite scarce. (Est. $750-1,000)

937. The Hamburgh Massacre. A scarce imprint detailing the debate in the House of Representatives concerning the 1876 mob attack of a black militia unit in South Carolina at Reconstruction’s twilight, A Centennial Fourth of July Democratic Celebration, The massacre of Six Colored Citizens Of the United States at Hamburgh, S.C., on July 4, 1876. ([Washington, 1876]) 16p. 8vo., uncut. African-American Reconstruction Congressman Smalls, with others, argue over the attack in South Carolina, where a number of blacks were killed. Extremely light foxing. (Est. $80-120)

938. Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation. An unusual large albumen photograph, 7 x 9″ oval (sight) of Lincoln at center surrounded by his generals together with the text of the Emancipation Proclamation. We have never encountered this particular montage before. Housed in a Victorian walnut frame with gilt rim. Some scratching to gilt rim, else very nice contrast and overall quite clean, fine condition. (Est. $300-500)

939. A good set of seventeen (17) printed illustrations, (11 x 14″) mostly removed from Civil War and Reconstruction-era issues of Harper’s Weekly and Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper (1861-1876) including many examples of the work of Thomas Nast, together with examples of the work of Frederick B. Schell and A. R. Waud. Subjects include slavery, black soldiers, voting rights, blacks in southern legislatures, and white violence toward blacks. An informative group of images that are often simultaneously sympathetic and derogatory. Light marginal chips and very light toning and foxing, else very good. Includes some duplicates. (For more detailed, clear illustrations please check our web site.) (Est. $100-300)

940. Another good set of seventeen (17) printed illustrations, mostly removed from Civil War and Reconstruction era issues of Harper’s Weekly and Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper (1861-1876) including many examples of the work of Thomas Nast, together with examples of the work of Frederick B. Schell and A. R. Waud. . Most are single page (11 x 14″) with several centerfolds, (22 x 14″). Subjects include black soldiers, voting rights, U.S. Grant, the Democratic Party and Tammany Hall among other subjects. An informative group of images that are often simultaneously sympathetic and derogatory. Light marginal chips and very light toning and foxing, else very good. Includes some duplicates. (Est. $100-300)

941. A good set of twelve (12) printed illustrations, mostly removed from Civil War and Reconstruction era issues of Harper’s Weekly (1860-1879) including many examples of the work of Thomas Nast. Most are single page (11 x 14″) with several centerfolds, (22 x 14″). Subjects include black soldiers, voting rights, the Ku Klux Klan and other subjects. An informative group of images that are often simultaneously sympathetic and derogatory. Light marginal chips and very light toning and foxing, else very good. Includes some duplicates. (Est. $100-300) 

Actor, Singer, Activist… A large Robeson Collection.

942. (Paul Robeson) A terrific collection of 25 pamphlets, pieces of ephemera and photographs related to the operatic and political career of Paul Robeson (1898-76). The collection includes playbills from some of his more notable performances including his celebrated 1943-47 run of Othello at the Shubert Theatre with Jose Ferrer and Uta Hagen including a 1943 issue of Playbill together with a nice illustrated souvenir program from the same run as well as an issue of The Playgoer for a limited run at the Geary Theatre in San Francisco. Also includes concert programs for recitals as well as a piece of sheet music for the song “Cant’ help Lovin’ Dat Man” from Hammerstein & Kern’s Show Boat of 1937 which featured Robeson. Though Robeson is considered one of the greatest musical talents of the 20th century, he is better known today for his support of civil rights and communism together with the subsequent blacklisting that destroyed his career. The collection includes political addresses by Robeson on these subjects. Titles include For Freedom and Peace (1949), Forge Negro-Labor Unity for Peace and Jobs (1950), and The Negro People and the Soviet Union (1950). Also present are a quantity of pamphlets concerning Robeson himself. Of particular interest is an illustrated book in titled wraps dealing with his infamous concert near Peekskill, N.Y. which quickly devolved into a riot instigated by local anti-communists: Eyewitness: Peekskill U.S.A. containing numerous photos from the concert. The collection also includes programs for other politically-charged events such as a 1954 concert at the Peace Arch sponsored by the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers. Also of interest is a scarce East German imprint containing academic articles on Robeson (issued by the Robeson Committee of the DDR, Paul Robeson Korespondierences Mitglied der Akademie der K¸nste der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik), 1975. A fine collection of ephemera spanning much of the career of this brilliant bass-baritone. (Est. $300-500)

Poignant relics of one of the most shameful periods in our nation’s history.

943. Adult and Child’s Slave Shackles. Two (2) pairs of hand-forged iron shackles, one 21″ in length being a pair of manacles connected with a chain; the other, 10″ long in which the manacles are connected with a single iron bar. The former, is an example typical of the 1840s and 1850s while the latter is a late eighteenth-century example designed for children aboard slavers crossing the “middle passage.” Both examples come from the Slave Relic Museum of Walterboro, South Carolina and were obtained by that institution from a St. George County, South Carolina estate in 1996. The shackles were used by the main slave auction house in Charleston, South Carolina. The shackles bear the expected oxidation, else very good. (Est. $1,500-3,000)

944. Slave Shackles. A scarce pair of “middle passage” leg irons, 12″ in length, c. 1800 to be used aboard slave ships. (Also from the Slave Relic Museum, used by the main slave auction house in Charleston, South Carolina. The shackles bear the expected oxidation, else very good. (Est. $800-1,000)

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