Statistical Inquiry


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Item#: 81159 price:$900.00

Statistical Inquiry


(SOCIETY OF FRIENDS). Statistical Inquiry into the Conditions of the People of Colour, of the City and Districts of Philadelphia. Philadelphia: Kite & Walton, 1849. Octavo, original printed self-wrappers, disbound; pp. 44. $900.

First edition of the highly influential second census of Philadelphia’s African Americans, a work cited by W.E.B. Du Bois in his own history, The Philadelphia Negro (1899), and published by the Society of Friends to record the “distress and degradation which prevail… most of which can be distinctly traced to the evil influences of slavery.”

Scholars note that for much of the 1800s, "Pennsylvania's black history mirrors the larger study of African Americans in U.S. society." This key census of Philadelphia's African Americans, conducted by the Society of Friends and published eleven years after the first, chiefly supports that observation. Du Bois cites Statistical Inquiry in his landmark Philadelphia Negro (1899) to place his own "study of Philadelphia blacks within the larger historical context" (Trotter & Smith, African Americans, 1, 8). Statistical Inquiry, in addition to recording key information on black churches, population, trades, education and crime, also assesses "the sharp decline in the rate of population increase among blacks in Philadelphia and its adjoining districts between 1837 and 1847… The Society of Friends reporters emphasize… 'the mobs of 1842, which drove away many of the people of colour; and the great increase of poor emigrants from Europe, who have supplanted them in employments [7]" (Otter, Philadelphia Stories, 206). As stated in its preface, the Society of Friends published this largely to encourage "efforts to remove the distress and degradation which prevail… most of which can be distinctly traced to the evil influences of slavery." Sabin 62289. Small numerical notation above title page. Library inkstamp.

Text generally fresh with occasional minor marginal dampstaining, edge-wear to two blank terminal leaves. A scarce near-fine copy.

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