Mar 25, 2021 - Sale 2562

Sale 2562 - Lot 266

Price Realized: $ 3,500
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 800 - $ 1,200
(LITERATURE.) Wallace Thurman. Letter promoting (and defending) his literary journal Fire!! Circular letter, 10 3/4 x 8 1/4 inches, on letterhead of "Fire!! Devoted to Younger Negro Artists," with secretarial signature; mailing folds, one word added in manuscript, minimal wear. New York, circa December 1926

Additional Details

"Fire!!" was a controversial and extremely short-lived literary magazine edited by Wallace Thurman (1902-1934). Ahead of its time for its frank discussion of interracial romance, prostitution, and homosexuality, it met with a hostile response from the old guard of the Black press, and folded shortly after the release of its November 1926 first issue when its offices burned.

This circular letter, sent in the brief window between the first issue and the magazine's demise, seeks donations and/or subscriptions. Listed alongside Thurman on the editorial staff are a cavalcade of heavyweights: Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Gwendolyn Bennett, and Aaron Douglas (who may well have done the art for this letterhead). Thurman writes: 'Dear Friend: The first issue of FIRE has blazed its way into the historic annals of the American Negroe literary movement. . . . FIRE was and is a literary experiment. . . . You have no doubt seen the first issue, and have been either flabbergasted, shocked, surprised, or pleased. At any rate you have been provoked to some emotion. . . . Now won't you do your share and send us either a subscription or a patron's check?'