Richmond, VA: Clemmitt & Jones, 1875 or 1876. Broadside (48 x 31 cm). Abrasions to outer edges in places, overall very good. Item #3905
STRIKING 1875 POSTER ANNOUNCING A "HUMOROUS" LECTURE ON VIRGINIA NEGROES, DELIVERED BY A POPULAR ANTI-NORTHERNER AND FORMER SLAVE-OWNER, GEORGE WILLIAM BAGBY (1828-1883).
The editors of "Representative Men of the South" (writing in 1880) state that: "[Bagby's] lecture on 'The Virginia Negro, Past and Present,' was prepared for the North, where he delivered it; but, the general subject being in that section considerably less popular in the lecture-hall than on the hustings, he failed sufficiently to interes his audience, and consequently soon laid the lecture aside. The truth is, the negro, although he once lent himself easily to the purposes of literary art, and no doubt will thus lend himself again, is just at present the subject of quite too little illusion, standing out as a naked fact, uncovered by so much as a shred of romance or a fig-leaf of picturesqueness. A better time undoubtedly is coming for this lecture, and when it comes may the gifted lecturer be here to improve it." (p. 430).
Bagby was vitriolic in his assessment of New Englanders, writing: "The Yankee is not in any sense a person. He is a chattel of the worst possible master -- a machine. He is a bad version of Frankenstein [...] a wiper and cleaner of the dirty structure made by his own hands" (Selections of the Miscellaneous Writings, 1884, vol. 1, p. 183).
Very scarce broadside. The date of publication is conjectured from text in the broadside itself ("Opinions of the Press").
Four copies are located by Worldcat: UMich (Clements), UVa, Virginia Historical, and Univ. Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; to these we are able to add the one in the Bagby Collection at Wake Forest.
Hummel, Southeastern Broadsides no. 5090.