Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1901. Original yellow-orange cloth decorated in black and silver.
First Edition of this landmark novel in the history of American race relations. Chesnutt was a mixed-race American born in 1858 to two free Afro-Americans in Cleveland; after the Civil War they returned to Fayetteville North Carolina. Chesnutt first worked as a teacher in Charlotte, but ultimately moved back to Cleveland in the early 1880s (passing the Ohio bar in 1887). He launched a successful stenography business there in 1889, closing it a decade later to devote his full energy to writing (two volumes of short stories in 1899, three novels in 1900, 1901 and 1905 -- the last two of which, including this one, did so poorly that he had to resurrect his stenography career).~Chesnutt's ambitious and complex novel... was based on the 1898 race riot in Wilmington, North Carolina, which some of Chesnutt's relatives survived. The event left a considerable number of African Americans dead and expelled thousands more from their homes. THE MARROW OF TRADITION centers on two prominent families, the Carterets and the Millers, and explores their remarkably intersected lives. Major Philip Carteret, editor of The Morning Chronicle newspaper, emerges as the unabashed white supremacist who... seeks to overthrow "Negro domination"... Dr. William Miller, following his medical education in the North and abroad, has returned home to "his people," establishing a local black hospital. Dr. Miller's wife, Janet, is the racially-mixed half-sister of Major Carteret's wife... Throughout THE MARROW OF TRADITION, Chesnutt depicts the problems of the New South, offering an invective that criticizes the nation's panicked responses to issues of social equality and miscegenation. [Kirkpatrick]~This is a very good-plus copy, with the two almost-unavoidable problems of this particular binding -- minor soiling of the light-colored cloth, and some erosion of the spine stamping. There is scarcely any other wear, and the silver on the front cover remains nice and bright. Item #13833