Feb 25, 2010 - Sale 2204

Sale 2204 - Lot 266

Price Realized: $ 3,600
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 3,500 - $ 5,000
(LITERATURE AND POETRY.) LATIMER, LEWIS HOWARD. Poems of Love and Life. 32 pages, printed on folded leaves, partially opened. 4to, original suede leather, decoratively stamped in gilt; some very light wear to the yapped edges; one short, closed tear at the base of the spine. [New York, 1925]

Additional Details

first edition. rare. one of only fifty copies printed on italian hand-made paper. this copy out of series. Lewis Howard Latimer (1848-1928) has only recently been acknowledged for developing the filament for the incandescent lightbulb, while working for Thomas Edison. Latimer was born in Massachusetts, the child of runaway slaves. In 1863, when Negro troops were at last allowed to serve in the Civil War, Latimer joined the navy and became a cabin boy on the U.S.S. Massasoit. In 1865 he went to work at a patent attorney's office in Boston, and it was there that he became fascinated with the concept of invention. At night he studied draughting and in 1880 joined United States Electric Lighting Co. working for Hiram Stevens Maxim. His progress was rapid, working with various companies until he finally found long-term employment with Thomas Edison in 1885. While Edison invented the incandescent bulb, it was Latimer, the only black member of the so-called "Edison Pioneers," who developed and patented the process for manufacturing the carbon filaments.
Lewis Latimer considered himself to be somewhat of a "Renaissance man" and wrote poetry, prose and plays. This slender volume was put together as a seventy-seventh birthday present by his friends and family. We could find no record of sales for this at auction or in specialist dealer catalogues for the last 25 years.