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“MEN OF COLOR: To Arms! To Arms!”

Frederick Douglass, Broadside. “Men of Color / To Arms! To Arms!” U.S. Steam-Power Book and Job Printing Establishment, Ledger Buildings, Third and Chestnut Streets, Philadelphia, PA, [1863.] Signed in type by Frederick Douglass and 54 others, including many prominent African-American citizens. 44 x 87 in. Framed to 48 x 94 in.

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A monumental Frederick Douglass Civil War recruiting broadside.

African American men had joined Union forces throughout the Civil War, but it took Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863 to officially allow and encourage them to enlist. This monumental Philadelphia recruiting poster signals the seismic shift in policy.

The text of this dramatic poster was adapted from an impassioned editorial Frederick Douglass wrote in the March of 1863 issue of Douglass’ Monthly. “There is no time to delay… The tide is at its flood … From East to West, from North to South, the sky is written all over, ‘Now or never.’”

Item #22552, PRICE ON REQUEST

Blanche Bruce, The First Full-term African American U.S. Senator Signs a Deed

BLANCHE BRUCE, Document Signed. Land deed. Washington, D.C. August 1, 1890. Signature panel 8¼ x 3½ in., overall dimensions 8¼ x 14 in.

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Blanche Bruce was the first full-term African American to serve in the U.S. Senate, 1875-1881. He was then appointed by President James Garfield as Register of the U.S. Treasury in 1881. He later served as the Washington, D.C. Recorder of Deeds (a position earlier held by Frederick Douglass), 1890-1893 and again as Register of the Treasury from 1897 until his death in 1898.

Item #22945.24, $125

Illustrations of African Americans Freeing Themselves
by Moving Toward Union Lines

[EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION], Newspaper. Harper’s Weekly, February 21, 1863. 16 pp., complete, disbound.

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General Tom Thumb and his bride grace the front page, but “The Effects of the Proclamation—Freed Negroes Coming Into Our Lines at Newbern, North Carolina” is the most significant illustration, occupying all of the fourth page. Also, “Departure of the Great Southern Expedition from Beaufort, North Carolina”; The Rebel Rams Engaging Our Blockading Fleet Off Charleston, South Carolina”; “Hearts and Hands, St. Valentine’s Day, 1863” is the romantic centerfold; “Ft.  Hindman, Arkansas”; “Iron Clad ‘Montauk’ Engaging the Rebel Fort M’Allister in the Ogeechee River.”

Item #H 2-21-1863, $150

‘Rally round the Flag, Boys!’ President Lincoln Centerfold

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN], Newspaper. Harper’s Weekly, October 1, 1864. 16 pp., complete, disbound.

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This October, 1864 issue of Harper’s Weekly has a magnificent centerfold engraving of President Lincoln—perfect for framing—with a patriotic poem below.

Item #H 10-1-1864, $225

Union League of Philadelphia Supports Lincoln on Emancipation, African-American Troops in 1864

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN]. HENRY CHARLES LEA, Printed Pamphlet. No. 18: The Will of the People, [January – April 1864]. 8 pp., 5½ x 8½ in.

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The will of the people is supreme.

The vital principle of [Lincoln’s] whole administration has been his recognition of the fact, that our Government is simply a machine for carrying into effect THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE.

Item #24899, $250

The Emancipation Proclamation

[EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION], Newspaper. Harper’s Weekly, January 17, 1863. 16 pp., complete, disbound.

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Two black teamsters duel on the front page; the text of the Emancipation Proclamation is printed on page 2; the execution of 38 Indian murderers at Mankato, Minnesota on page 4, Thomas Nast centerfold: “The War in the West, the War in the Border States.”

Also, illustrations: Winslow Homer, “A Shell in the Rebel Trenches”; a map of Mississippi; the “Reception of the Authorities of New Orleans by General Butler”; “General Bank’s Forces Landing at Baton Rouge, Louisiana”; “Brigadier General James Blunt”; “Brigadier General John M’Neil”; and a cartoon of a black man celebrating his emancipation by declaring himself no longer part of a farm’s livestock, but instead a man.

Item #H 1-17-1863, $250

Alex Haley Signed Check

ALEX HALEY, Signed Check, September 20, 1988. Drawn on the First Tennessee Bank in Knoxville. To “Patricia Alexander”. With “Love!” in the memo field and on the back is her endorsement and a note that says “Thanks!”.

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Item #20432.02, $350

Democratic Broadside Shows
the Limitations of Reconstruction

[RECONSTRUCTION; RACISM], Broadside. “Democratic National Union - No Negro Suffrage” [Ohio, 1866], 3” x 11”, 1 p.

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Typical of the populist racism characterizing Democratic Party politics immediately after the Civil War, this party ticket contains the names of local candidates for office, including Brevet Brigadier General Benjamin Lefevre. A native Ohioan, Lefevre served throughout the war, entering politics when peace was declared, but only after breaking an engagement with a Southern belle. He served as a congressman from Ohio throughout reconstruction.

Item #20537, $360

Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper with United States Colored Troop (USCT) Images

[AFRICAN-AMERICAN SOLDIERS], Newspapers. Frank Leslie’s Illustrated, December 13, and December 20, 1862, 16 pp. each. (Two issues)

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Two war-dated newspapers showing African Americans in the Civil War:

Frank Leslie’s Illustrated, December 20, 1862: “The South Carolina Loyal Colored Regiment in Action,” including “Picking off Rebel Sharpshooters.”  And, “The Negro Drivers of the Baggage Train.”

Frank Leslie’s Illustrated, December 13, 1862: Contrabands looking on at “Camp at Stafford’s Store Virginia.”

Item #22483.01-.02, $375

Peter Cooper’s Letter to Lincoln Regarding Emancipation

PETER COOPER. [SLAVERY], Pamphlet. Letter of Peter Cooper, on Slave Emancipation, Loyal Publication Society, New York, 1862, 8pp., disbound.

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“It is a fact that the enslavement of human beings has so far infused its insidious poison into the very hearts of the Southern people, that they have come to believe and declare the evil of slavery to be a good, and to require the power of Government to be exerted to maintain, extend, and perpetuate an institution that enables thousands to sell their own children, to be enslaved, with all their posterity, into hopeless bondage....”

The founder of New York City’s Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art echoes the language and logic of the Emancipation Proclamation (as well as citing some Southern pro-slavery arguments to demonstrate their ridiculousness) in this open letter to President Lincoln. Cooper and the Cooper Union had long been advocates of abolition and both Lincoln and Frederick Douglass had famously lectured at the institution.

Item #23579, $400

“Free Pass... Constitutional Purifying Association”

[COPPERHEADS], Broadside, “A FREE PASS. Entitling the holder to the tender mercies of the CONSTITUTIONAL PURIFYING ASSOCIATION, Who will guarantee to cleanse every particle of Copperheadism from our nature - so you will be able to VOTE for an honest man without prejudice...” with several illustrations depicting “THE PURIFYING PROCESS.” [1864]. 6 x 9 in.

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Item #21986.03, $400

Alex Haley Signs Check to the Cornell University Black Alumni Association

ALEX HALEY, Signed Check, June 9, 1989. Drawn on the First Tennessee Bank in Knoxville. To “Cornell Univ. Black Alumni Assn.”. With “donation” in the memo field.

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Item #20432.04, $500

Lincoln’s Compensated Emancipation Proposal

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN], Newspaper. Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia, Pa., March 7, 1862. 8 pp., 15½ x 20½ in. With “Message from the President...Resolved, That the United States ought to co-operate with any State which may adopt gradual abolition of slavery.” [Printing Lincoln’s March 5 message to Congress on page 1.]

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The United States is the only nation in history to end slavery through Civil War. Nations as diverse as Russia, the British Empire, France, Brazil, and others around the world ended their reliance on slave labor through legislative means that included some form of compensation to slave owners for their lost “assets.” Here, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports on the front page that Lincoln presented a special message to Congress with a plan to end slavery through compensation. There would be no takers among the slaveholding border states.

Item #30001.28, $500

Virginia Brief Supporting Segregation in Companion case to Brown v. Board of Education

[CIVIL RIGHTS], Pamphlet. Supreme Court of the United States. October Term, 1953. Dorothy E. Davis, Et Al,, Appellants, v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, Virginia, Et al., Appellees. Appeal From the United States District Court For the Eastern District of Virginia. Brief for Appellees in Reply to Supplemental Brief for the United States on Reargument. [Richmond, Virginia: Lewis Printing Company], December 7, 1953. Original printed title wrappers, as issued. 22pp.

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Item #25147, $650

Swedish immigrant uses racist “Pickaninny” imagery on a hand-painted envelope

[AFRICAN AMERICAN]. GUSTAF NORDSTROM, Handmade Postal Cover, to Frederick Nordstrom, February [25], 1902, Brooklyn, New York. 1 p., 11½ x 5 in.

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Swedish sign painter in New York uses racial stereotypes on envelope to tell his brother in Florida that he misses him.

Item #25043, $650

“The Slave Sale, or Come Who Bids?” Abolitionist Sheet Music

HENRY RUSSELL and ANGUS REACH, Sheet Music. The Slave Sale, or Come, Who Bids? 4 pp., with elaborate half-page vignette on the first page, showing various scenes of the slave trade. London: Musical Boquet Office. [Sheard, 1855]. “Composed by Henry Russell for his New Entertainment ‘Negro Life’ - Words by Angus B. Reach Esq.”

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“Planters! Here’s a chance, Here are limbs to work or dance…”

Scarce English abolitionist music signed in print by composer Henry Russell on the front page.

Item #24738, $750

Charles Sumner Calls for a Zone of Freedom to Contain and Transform the Slave States

CHARLES SUMNER, Autograph Quotation Signed, from a speech given at the Cooper Institute in New York City on July 11, 1860, “The Republican Party; Its Origin, Necessity and Permanence.” Boston, July 25, 1860. 1 p., 5 x 8 in.

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Item #24704, $750

The Success of Black Troops At Petersburg, Virginia, Under Butler

[CIVIL WAR], Broadside. New England Loyal Publication Society No. 200. Boston, Mass., June 27, 1864. 1 p., 9 x 10¾ in.

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“They grinned and pushed on, and with a yell that told the southern chivalry their doom, [they] rolled irresistibly over and into the work.”

Item #23626, $750

1841 Anti-Slavery Almanac Including Report on Amistad Case and Illustrations of Cinque, Grabeau, and Covey, and Summary of 1840 Presidential Candidates Pro-slavery Positions

[AMISTAD], Pamphlet. The New England Anti-Slavery Almanac for 1841. Boston: J.A. Collins, 1841 [ca. December, 1840]. Original printed and illustrated blue wrappers, stitched. 36pp. 4½ x 7½ in.

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Item #23382, $950

Discontent with Gilded Age Presidential Politics
and the Influence of “the negro vote”

WILLIAM BEACH LAWRENCE, Autograph Letter Signed, to Henry Anthony. Newport [R.I.], November 25, 1872. 4 pp.

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A detailed, despairing letter on campaign politics after the reelection of Ulysses S. Grant. Lawrence observes the humiliating defeat of Democrats and “Liberal Republicans” – who united behind Horace Greeley because of corruption in the Grant administration – in the Election of 1872. Lawrence laments the elevation of personality over merit and virtue in elections, an observation which resonates today. He also expresses concern about how newly enfranchised African Americans tended to vote.  “The negroes are naturally disposed to support those who are in power & whom they invest with superior dignity, on account of the possession of power. …the extraordinary denouement of the Cincinnati Convention has placed in bold relief the mode most unsatisfactory to an intelligent people, by which party conventions are constituted & which are readily made, the instruments of the vilest partisan combinations, carried on by men without character & without principle.

Item #20020, $950
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