July 2022 Catalogue

Black Americana and Abolition – 29 – Bauman Rare Books - July 2022 Frances E.W. Harper’s Landmark First And Only Novel, Iola Leroy, 1893, Exceedingly Rare Association Copy With The Owner Inscription Of Dynamic Black Leader And Pan-Africanist Alexander Crummell 46. HARPER, Frances E.W. Iola Leroy, or Shadows Uplifted. Philadelphia, 1893. Octavo, original gilt-stamped brown cloth, custom chemise and clamshell box. $16,500. Exceptional 1893 edition of “the climax of Harper’s literary career… representing the transition from the antebellum period to the Harlem Renaissance” (Foster)—an especially memorable association copy with the contemporary owner inscription of Alexander Crummell, the “intellectual idol of W.E.B. Du Bois” and a defining early Black nationalist, in original cloth. A close friend of William Still and one of the leading Black figures to finance the UGRR, professional orator Frances Harper also lectured with William Wells Brown and “held up Harriet Tubman… as her feminist hero” (Sinha, 450). To Maryemma Graham, Harper’s moving works of poetry, her powerful speeches and essays “prefigured the work of Paul Laurence Dunbar, Charles Chesnutt, Langston Hughes, Sterling Brown and Margaret Walker, as well as an entire generation of Black Arts Movement poets” (Complete Poems, liii). Yet it is “for Iola Leroy that she is best known… a classic among African American novels” (Oxford Companion, 343). Written for Black readers, it “was one of the first books written in the U.S. that delineates the social life of Black people absent… a relationship to white desire” (McKnight, 68). Iola Leroy links “the past horrors of slavery and the present terror of lynching” in the JimCrow South (Boyd, 173-4). Stated “Second Edition,” issued by the same publisher as the virtually unobtainable 1892 first edition. This exceptionally rare association copy possesses the owner inscription of Reverend Alexander Crummell, who, together with Martin Delany and Henry Highland Garnet, formed “the backbone of the national Black leadership” (Rael, 142-43). Interior very fresh with expert reinforcement to gutter-edge front inner hinge and inscribed leaf, scant trace of edge-wear to bright gilt-lettered cloth. A splendid near-fine copy with a stellar association.