New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1906. iv,436,[4, ads]pp. Modern quarter calf and marbled boards, gilt leather spine labels. Occasional minor thumb-soiling or creasing to text, but mostly clean. Untrimmed and with a few gatherings unopened. Very good. Item #4609
Presentation copy of the first edition of Merriam's history of African American political life, inscribed on the front free endpaper, "W.E.B. Du Bois with the cordial regards of The Author March 10, 1906." Additionally, Du Bois's library ink stamp, which reproduces his signature, appears on the front pastedown, and Du Bois's occasional check marks, marginal brackets, and underlining appear on several pages of the text. George Merriam's 1906 work would certainly have been of interest to W.E.B. Du Bois. According to contemporary reviews, the work was substantially similar to Merriam's previous work, Life and Times of Samuel Bowles, but with critical new additions including a dozen detailed sketches of prominent abolitionists and anti-slavery leaders, a new approach to the "underlying forces" that drove the issue of slavery, a fresh look at Reconstruction, and the present state of life in the South. At the time of the book's publication, Du Bois was working with the Niagara Movement, publishing his short-lived periodical, Moon Illustrated Weekly, and working to help African Americans in Georgia recover from the Atlanta Riot of late-September 1906.