Majors and Minors.

Scarce First edition of Paul Laurence Dunbar's Majors & Minors

Majors and Minors.

DUNBAR, Paul Lawrence [Laurence].


Item Number: 90410

Toledo: Hadley & Hadley, 1896.

Scarce first edition of the author’s rare second book, self-published and one of only 500 copies printed. Octavo, original cloth, patterned endpapers, engraved frontispiece portrait of the author. Laid in is an original newspaper clipping announcing the dedication of a memorial to the author at his home in Dayton, Ohio. In very good condition, period ownership inscription to the verso of the front panel.

American poet, novelist, and playwright Paul Laurence Dunbar was born in Dayton, Ohio to parents who had been enslaved in Kentucky before the American Civil War. One of the first African American writers to establish an international reputation, in addition to books of prose, Dunbar composed the lyrics for the first all-African-American musical produced on Broadway in New York. Through "...the help of Dr. H. A. Tobey of Toledo and other white friends whom Tobey brought together, Dunbar was able to publish in 1895 his second collection of verse, Majors and Minors. The work contained 148 pages, 86 of them presenting verses in classic or standard English. The other poems were printed under the heading "Humor and Dialect." Although Dunbar thought of his poems in standard English as "Major," critics from the very beginning have tended to change his classification. Modern scholars realize that Majors and Minors is a remarkable work, and that it contains some of Dunbar's best poems in both dialect and standard English" (DANB).

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