1904. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1904.
8vo, xiv, 190 pp. Color frontispiece with printed tissue guard, eight leaves of half-tone illustrations, text printed within pictorial border throughout. Orange cloth decorated in gilt, upper edge gilt. Name in ink on front free endpaper. Lightly worn copy, gilt gone from backstrip, dulled on upper board, faint spotting to the rear board, first signature loosening, some page corners creased but pages generally clean and plates free from foxing.
§ First edition. A collection of Uncle Remus stories told in rhyme. Harris writes in the author's note: "With the exception of the Tar-Baby story and one other, all the folk-lore stories herein embodied are new, having come into my hands from various sources during the past ten years." (The first Uncle Remus book was published in 1881.) BAL 7154.
Joel Chandler Harris, a white Southern journalist, collected folktales from enslaved and formerly enslaved African Americans on Georgia plantations. Serialized in newspapers across the country, they proved hugely popular, and the first collection (Uncle Remus: His Songs and His Sayings) published by Appleton in 1881 was bestseller on both sides of the Atlantic. The books were responsible for compounding racist stereotypes and disseminating them across generations of readers, as well as popularizing a false and rosy picture of the antebellum South. At the same time, Harris was the first folklorist to make a serious effort to preserve the Southern black oral traditions and his books have proved an important resource for ethnologists and contemporary African American writers seeking to reconstruct and reclaim traditional folktales. Item #123790