Mar 21, 2013 - Sale 2308

Sale 2308 - Lot 127

Price Realized: $ 9,600
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 4,000 - $ 6,000
(SLAVERY AND ABOLITION--RACIST HUMOR.) CHILDS, JOHN. Practical Amalgamation. Five stipple engravings by Edward Williams Clay, the author of the series "Life in Philadelphia:" "The Wedding Party" * "Musical Soiree" * "The Wedding" * "The Amalgamation Waltz" * Johnny Q. Introducing the Haytian Ambassador to the Ladies of Lynn, Mass, respectfully inscribed to Miss Caroline Augusta Chase, and the 500 Ladies of Lynn who Wish to Marry Black Husbands." each approximately 12 x 16 inches, image size 9-1/2 x 13-3/4 inches; paper evenly toned; some edge-wear to the last engraving with some short, closed tears. New York: John Childs, 1839

Additional Details

a group of rare racist engravings by edward williams clay (1799-1857). Clay, who was the creator of the "Life in Philadelphia" series in the late 1820s rose to the occasion when white paranoia seized the imagination of racists following Emancipation in the West Indies in 1834. As improbable as this was, there was a fear that once freed, blacks would somehow begin the seduction of white ladies everywhere. The engraving titled "Johnny Q. Introducing the Haytien (sic) Ambassador to the Ladies of Lynn, Mass. has several meanings. "Johnny Q." was of course John Quincy Adams, an outspoken defender of blacks. [In 1841 he would become one half of the defense team of the Amistad Captives.] The historic event ridiculed in this print occurred on February 1, 1839 when Caroline Augustus Chase, head of the Lynn Female Anti-Slavery Society, and 785 women of Lynn Mass. petitioned the Massachusetts State House of Representatives for the right to "marry, intermarry, or associate with any Negro, Indian, Hottentot, or any other being in human shape they may choose to marry." We could only locate copies of three of these five engravings: "The Wedding," "The Musical Soiree," and "Johnny Q."