FIRST EDITION OF LOCKE'S THE NEW NEGRO—"THE BIBLE OF THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE"—WITH WORKS BY LANGSTON HUGHES, ZORA NEALE HURSTON AND OTHERS, MOST IN BOOK FORM FOR THE FIRST TIME
LOCKE, Alain. The New Negro, An Appreciation. New York: Albert and Charles Boni, 1925. Octavo, original half tan cloth and navy paper boards, pictorial endpapers. $1800.
First edition of Alain Locke's pioneering collection of writings by Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston and other leaders of the Harlem Renaissance, most works appearing in book form for the first time, illustrated with over 25 splendid color- and black-and-white plates by Winold Reiss, Aaron Douglas and Miguel Covarrubias.
The New Negro—"the Bible of the Harlem Renaissance"—features major works by Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes and other pivotal writers and artists of the Harlem Renaissance, most appearing in book form for the first time. "In 1925 Locke announced the birth of the Harlem Renaissance with the release of The New Negro… an expansive collection of poetry, fiction and essays that set the agenda for a black cultural flowering" (New York Modern, 139). This exceptional volume came to define the Harlem Renaissance, which was "the first significant literary and cultural movement in African American history" (Cambridge Companion, 28-31). It is "at once an anthology and a manifesto… a black version of Emerson's American Scholar" (O'Connell, 174-5). To Henry Louis Gates, Jr., "the Harlem or New Negro Renaissance was born through the midwifery of Locke, who edited a special issue of Survey Graphic magazine entitled 'Harlem: Mecca of the New Negro' in March of 1925. Locke followed up his issue of Survey Graphic with a 446-page anthology, The New Negro" (Ogbar, 24). With over 25 full-page color and black-and-white illustrations, including portraits by Winold Reiss, endpapers and graphic designs by Aaron Douglas (three full-page), six black-and-white images of African sculptures, three illustrations by Miguel Covarrubias, and in-text illustrations. Cover design, head- and tailpieces by Reiss. Without rarely found dust jacket. Blockson 3618. Contemporary owner bookplate of James and Louise Eppenstein. One of Chicago's most highly regarded architects, James Eppenstein, who studied at Harvard and in Paris, is especially famed for his work on the North Shore Line Railroad. A dedicated bibliophile and a major collector of modern art, he also created classic designs for the city's Shoreland Hotel, as well as many distinctive homes and businesses throughout the 1930s and 40s.
Text and plates fine with small bit of rubbing to front endpapers, trace of toning to spine, light edge-wear and rubbing to original boards. A near-fine copy with a distinctive contemporary provenance.