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WASHINGTON, Booker T.

Up From Slavery.

An Autobiography. [Together with a promotional poster.]

New York, Doubleday, Page & Co., 1901 Stock Code: 139033
£7,500.00
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Notes

First edition in book form, first printing, signed by the author on the verso of the contents page "Booker T. Washington, Tuskegee, Alabama, Aug. 11. 1906". This autobiography was first published chapter by chapter over 17 issues in The Outlook between 1900 and 1901 and became "his most critically acclaimed autobiography, translated into some eighteen languages" (ANB).
The poster advertises a lecture by the author on 18 July 1902 in Cassopolis, Michigan. It was printed in Detroit the same year by the Schoeber Printing Company at the behest of the Grand Trunk Railway System, offering preferential rates to Cassopolis "affording all an opportunity to hear the address of Booker T. Washington".
Booker Taliaferro Washington (1856-1915) was the founder and head of the first Black college in Alabama, the Tuskegee Institute. A friend of President Theodore Roosevelt, he was the first African-American officially invited to dinner at the White House, which "set off a firestorm of outrage, especially in the southern white press. Washington was chagrined by the whole affair; Roosevelt made light of it to his southern friend but privately called it a 'mistake' and never again invited minorities to the White House" (ANB). The two men remained close friends and Roosevelt "regularly though privately consulted Washington on matters involving race and southern policies, and almost all of the minority political appointments Roosevelt made as president were first cleared with the Tuskegeean... one of the many ironies of Washington's career was that while he urged ordinary blacks to eschew politics and humbly go about their daily work, he himself wielded more political power than any other black American of his day" (ibid.). By the time his health started declining in 1915 he was living in New York and requested to spend his last days back in Tuskegee, where he finally died shortly after his arrival.
Loosely inserted are five press cuttings, one of them the author's obituary dubbing him the "Moses and Joshua of His People" and featuring a tribute by Roosevelt: "I mourn his loss and feel that one of the most useful citizens of our land has gone".
This copy belonged to Stephen Bromley McCracken (1824-1902), a prominent Michigan-based author and journalist. It was then signed by the author the day before the "Brownsville affair", an incident of racial injustice in the south-western US when a white bartender was killed and a white police officer wounded by gunshots one night, and townspeople accused the members of the African-American 25th Infantry Regiment. The rear free endpaper was annotated in pencil on the same day with "Brains, Skill, Dignity of work", the rest is unclear.

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Description

Octavo. Original red ribbed cloth, title in gilt to spine and front board, top edge gilt, others untrimmed. [Together with:] Broadside printed in black (sheet size: 524 x 173 mm) window-mounted with museum grade board (mount size: 635 x 295).

Illustrations

Black and white photographic portrait frontispiece.

Condition

The book with bookplate of S. B. McCracken to front pastedown, and pencil ownership inscription dated 1901 to front free endpaper; pencil annotations with the same date to rear free endpaper. Spine ends a trifle bumped, boards slightly bowed, the binding otherwise sharp and notably unfaded, light toning to endpapers, the contents otherwise fresh. A near-fine copy.
The poster with McCracken ink stamp to verso. Folding marks, three small tears along central fold, one with minor loss, else very good.

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