Macon, Ga. Printed for the Author, 1892. ,195pp. Frontispiece. Original brown cloth stamped in gilt and black. Minor soiling and edge wear to boards. Contemporary bookplate on front pastedown, previous owner's inscription on front free endpaper, text lightly toned but clean. A fresh and bright copy in very good plus condition. Item #WRCAM56246
The uncommon second and expanded edition of this slave narrative and African-American autobiography by Rev. Robert Anderson. Reverend Anderson was born into slavery in Liberty County, Georgia in 1819, and later moved with his master, Dr. William J. Anderson, to Glynn County. Anderson hired himself out for various work until 1853, when he was able to purchase his own freedom for $1,000 and his wife's freedom for $500. Shortly thereafter, he became a Methodist minister, serving a number of congregations in Georgia throughout the remainder of his life.
The present work is both an autobiography of Anderson as well as a proselytizing work. Anderson includes two versions of his life story - his current version and that which was in the first edition, published a year earlier in Macon - and interweaves his autobiography with religious stories and dialogues. His intentions are stated clearly on the titlepage: "Besides containing a history of the leading events in the life of Rev. Robert Anderson, this book has a remedy for the cure of Small Pox, Millenium Story of Christ, the reason why God does not kill the Devil, and a series of questions alphabetically arranged." Following the titlepage, and prior to the beginning of his autobiography, Anderson prints several pages of the names of "Friends" in various cities who have bought his book in order to "encourage him in his efforts to exalt his own race to that position of morality and civilization attained by himself...."
The work contains both a small engraved portrait frontispiece of Anderson and a photographic frontispiece showing Anderson and his family, both preceding the titlepage. The titlepage has a handwritten price, reading "Price $1.50," likely written by the author. According to a brief passage at the beginning of the text, Anderson sold copies of the book himself; this is further evidenced by the original owner's inscription on the front free endpaper, dated 1895 in St. Augustine, Florida, which reads, "Rev. Anderson posed for me to sketch him - the condition being that I purchase a book."
The first edition of the work was also titled, THE LIFE OF REV. ROBERT ANDERSON, published in Macon in 1891 at a length of 119 pages. The present second edition, published a year later, is a much expanded work, and elegantly produced. The second edition is more readily represented in institutions, but very rare in the market, especially in such nice condition. Not in Work. LIBRARY COMPANY, AFRO-AMERICANA SUPPLEMENT 74. KAPLAN 133.