Boston: The Cornhill Company, . First edition. Octavo collates complete: 96, [8 blank]. Original cloth backed boards with gilt to spine and cover. Only the slightest touch of shelfwear to extremities of cloth at spine. Internally clean and tight. An exceptional copy of this history-making drama, which has only come to auction three times.
Angelina W. Grimke, named after her activist great aunt, made history with her play Rachel. Considered the first play published and produced by an African American woman, and to have an all black cast. Rachel was, as a result of this, “the first attempt to use the stage…in order to enlighten the American people relating to the lamentable condition of ten millions of Colored citizens in this free republic” (NAACP). First presented in 1916 at the Myrtill Minor Normal School, where Grimke taught English in Washington, DC, the play was soon after produced in New York and Cambridge. The granddaughter of a slave owner and a slave, in addition to being the descendant of one of the earliest and most outspoken intersectional feminists, Grimke was uniquely positioned to critique U.S. race relations at a time when the country sat poised between Emancipation and the Civil Rights Movement. An exceptionally scarce and important play. Near Fine (Item #2703)