Mar 21, 2024 - Sale 2663

Sale 2663 - Lot 324

Estimate: $ 8,000 - $ 12,000
(PERIODICALS.) W.E. Burghardt Du Bois, editor. The Moon Illustrated Weekly. Volume I, no. 29. 10, [2] pages, 12½ x 9½ inches, staple-bound; moderate edge wear, several short tears with tape repairs; inscribed with subscriber's name above masthead. Memphis, TN: Ed. L. Simon & Co., 16 June 1906

Additional Details

A previously unrecorded issue of the first African American weekly magazine. W.E.B. Du Bois was the editor; the business manager was his former Atlanta University student, young Harry Herbert Pace (1884-1943), who went on to be a successful music and insurance executive. The printing was under the charge of another former student, Edward L. Simon. The Moon was in some ways a precursor to the official NAACP monthly which Du Bois launched four years later, "The Crisis: A Record of the Darker Races." On the final page of the present issue, the title is given as "The Moon: A Record of The Darker Races," and Du Bois, Pace, and Simon boast that they "Write it, Type it, and Print it at their shop."

This issue includes a "Voice of Voices" column summarizing discussions of race relations in the national press; a "Whirl of the World" news column; a summary of the recent Atlanta Conference on Negro health; local news columns for Memphis and Atlanta, and advertisements from both places. Illustrations include an Egyptian-themed masthead by Sanders; and a photograph of Howard University sociologist Kelly Miller.

The magazine's circulation was probably between about 250 and 500, and it is quite scarce today. We have traced only 4 other surviving single issues (#7, #14, #16, and #30), and none at auction. Not in Lomazow's American Periodicals or the supplement; see Partington's Du Bois Bibliography, page 2; and Partington, "The Moon Illustrated Weekly--The Precursor of the Crisis" in the Journal of Negro History, July 1963 (calling it "the first weekly Negro magazine"). Three of the surviving issues were published with commentary in 1986 as "The Moon Illustrated Weekly: Black America's First Weekly Magazine."

Provenance: originally owned by William Henry Richards, a Howard University law professor.