Mar 28, 2019 - Sale 2503

Sale 2503 - Lot 129

Price Realized: $ 13,750
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 15,000 - $ 25,000
"THE MAKER OF THE UNIVERSE IS NO RESPECTER OF COLOURS" BANNEKER, BENJAMIN. Bannaker's Maryland . . . Almanack and Ephemeris, for the Year of our Lord 1796. Woodcut ("The Anatomy of Man's Body") on page 3. [34 of 36] pages. 12mo, stitched; lacking final leaf, minor foxing and wear; untrimmed; signature of early owner Hezekiah Swearingen on title page. Baltimore, MD: Philip Edwards, et al., [1795]

Additional Details

The African-American scientist Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806) is perhaps best known today for the annual almanacs he published in Baltimore for 1792 through 1797. This issue features a lively introduction addressed to the "Gentle Reader": "We have ransacked all the repositories of learning to cull a few flowers for your amusement. . . . To whom do you think we are indebted for this part of our entertainment? Why, to a Black Man--strange? Is a Black capable of composing an almanac? Indeed, it is no less strange than true; and a clever, wise, long-headed Black he is. . . . The labours of the justly celebrated Bannaker will likewise furnish you with a very important lesson, courteous reader, which you will not find in any other Almanac, namely that the Maker of the Universe is no respecter of colours; that the colour of the skin is in no ways connected with strength of mind or intellectual powers." Typical of almanacs of this period, it contains detailed monthly calculations on sunrise, sunset, and phases of the moon, as well as predictions on the weather. Other features include a list of feast days, a description of the coming eclipses, a table of compound interest, a lengthy court calendar, and longer text pieces such as "Situation, Extent and Boundaries of the United States" and "Rules of Diet and Exercise by Dr. Sutherland." This copy was used, as many almanacs were during this period, as a diary and memorandum book. It includes notes by a farmer on the weather and the purchase of cattle. Drake, Almanacs 2243; Evans 28231 (scarcer corrected variant reading "eighth year of the federal government" on title page).