last 7 days
last 30 days
older than 30 days

Pryor-Johnson Rare Books

Poems of Cabin and Field

Poems of Cabin and Field

Dunbar, Paul Laurence A later issue (originally 1899). Illustrated with photographs by the Hampton Institute Camera Club and decorations by Alice Morse. Bound in green cloth, highly decorated in green, rose and gilt by Alice Morse (a style not unlike that of Margaret Armstrong), top edge of the text-block gilt, bottom and fore-edge un-trimmed. Spine a little sunned, and with a contemporary ("Xmas~1900") gift inscription in small fine script on the first-free end-paper. Else fine. An exceptionally distinguished collaboration surrounding the poetry of one of America's first internationally-recognized African-American poets. Dunbar's parents had been enslaved in Kentucky before moving to Dayton, Ohio after the Civil War. The Wright brothers (of airplane fame) were his high-school classmates; Orville Wright published a newspaper for the African-American community in Dayton, and Dunbar was its editor. The photographs of the Hampton Institute Camera Club -its members white -reframed the visual discourse of black America, showing African-Americans in a wide array of situations instead of the reductive and often paternalistic terms of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Alice Cordelia Morse belonged to a group of distinguished art-nouveau book designers of the turn of the century; her exuberant cover-art is matched by the fine-lined green-toned floral borders around each photograph and stanza. Altogether an extraordinary object in the history of African-American letters.