Mar 25, 2021 - Sale 2562

Sale 2562 - Lot 264

Price Realized: $ 45,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 5,000 - $ 7,500
(LITERATURE.) 4 issues of Black Opals, the legendary limited-edition literary journal. 16; 16; 20; 20 pages. 4 volumes. 8vo, original illustrated wrappers, minimal wear, light spotting to two issues; minimal wear to contents; uncut, issue #3 unopened; each signed and inscribed by editor Nellie Bright on title page and elsewhere, issue #1 also signed on page 1 by Langston Hughes and 3 others, issue #3 also signed by 3 others. Limited editions, numbered #29 of 250, #3 of 250, unnumbered copy out of 250, and #193 of 200. Philadelphia: Reading Advertising Service, 1927-28

Additional Details

A complete run of the important run of Philadelphia's short-lived but influential literary magazine, "Black Opals," closely tied to the Harlem Renaissance. Subtitled "Hail Negro Youth," it featured work by leading "New Negro" authors including Alain Locke, Jessie Redmon Fauset, and Langston Hughes. These were the personal copies of Nellie Rathbone Bright (1898-1977), who served on the journal's 4-person editorial team. Each one is inscribed by her on the front wrapper. Other key figures were co-editor Arthur Huff Fauset (1899-1983), and artistic director Allan Randall Freelon, whose etching graces the first three covers. Gwendolyn Bennett served as guest editor of issue #2. The final issue has 3 full-page illustrations, by Smith McGlinn, Loïs Mailou Jones, and James Lesesne Wells (who also did that issue's cover illustration).

Interest in Black Opals remains strong. In 2017, an event at Philadelphia's Rosenbach Library was dedicated to its influence. Not in Lomazow's American Periodicals. We trace 13 American institutions which hold scattered issues of Black Opals, but only two (the Schomburg Library and the Free Library of Philadelphia) which hold a complete run of all four issues. Additional details on the contents are available upon request.