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Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922 – Highlights from the August 2013 Release

Posted on 09/03/2013

To date, more than 1,900 imprints from the Library Company of Philadelphia’s acclaimed Afro-Americana Collection are available in the Readex digital edition. Here are a few titles of special interest from last month’s release:


Miscegenation: the theory of the blending of the races, applied to the American white man and Negro (1864)

The term "miscegenation" was originally coined in this imprint. It reads like an extraordinarily enlightened document on the equality of the races, but was, in fact, a hoax by New York World editor David Goodman Croly. Croly used it to attempt to entrap President Lincoln and leading abolitionists into endorsing then-inflammatory notions of the mixing of the races.


The indictment against the Congo government report of the King's commission of inquiry and the testimony which compelled it (1905)King Leopold's soliloquy a defense of his Congo rule by Mark Twain (1905)

The dreadful atrocities committed by agents of Belgian King Leopold II in Congo Free State are condemned in both these imprints. Samuel Clemens figures in both, first as a Vice President of the Congo Reform Association that produced the indictment, and then as Mark Twain, the grim satirist, author of the "Soliloquy."


A voice from the South. By a black woman of the South (1892)

Anna Julia Cooper, born into slavery and living well into the Civil Rights era (1964), makes a feminist case for women as the moral center of society, and key to the “regeneration” of the black race.



Some memoirs of the life of Job, the son of Solomon the high priest of Boonda in Africa who was a slave about two years in Maryland; and afterwards being brought to England, was set free, and sent to his native land in the year 1734 By Thomas Bluett ... (1734)

One of the earliest slave narratives


The Comic life of Horace Greeley (1872)

This sendup of Horace Greeley's ill-fated 1872 presidential bid, by the publishers of "Wild Oats," a leading humor magazine, is full of editorial cartoons, including one on page nine that depicts Greeley with Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for president. Both Greeley and Woodhull are shown astride racehorses; Woodhull's is named "free love."


For more information about Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922: From the Library Company of Philadelphia, please write to

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