Annals of the First African Church, in the United States of America, Now Styled The African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, Philadelphia [...] Established by Absalom Jones, Richard Allen and Others, in 1787… [with carte de visite photograph of author]
First edition of this rare history of the first African Episcopal Church in America, St. Thomas Church in Philadelphia. Mounted opposite the title page is a carte de visite photograph of the book’s author, William Douglass, Rector of St. Thomas from 1834 to his death in 1862. This copy with a later presentation inscription to the noted black collector of African-Americana, Leon Gardiner (1892–1945).
St. Thomas was founded by Rev. Absalom Jones (1746–1818), the first African American Protestant Episcopal priest. Douglass succeeded Jones as the second rector of St. Thomas Church. Of the copies we know of, none of them mention an albumen portrait photograph of Douglass facing the title page. One likely 19th-century image of Douglass that we can find appears to be a drawing derived from the present carte de visite portrait.
The book’s presentation re-binding bears the name John W. Jones. Was this copy previously owned by the ex-Virginia slave John W. Jones (1817–1900), the celebrated Underground Railroad agent of Elmira, New York? The presentation inscription to collector Leon Gardiner is from one W.H. Riley Jones. Perhaps if this was John W. Jones’ own copy, a relative may have had a worn binding replaced and chose to add to its cover a mark of provenance from it’s illustrious first owner.
The text of the Annals of the First African Church includes information on Absalom Jones’ involvement with Richard Allen in establishing the Free African Society in 1787 and on Allen’s later departure from it. Allen subsequently founded a separate African Methodist Episcopal church and became its first bishop in 1816. Also within is much on Jones’ life and ministry plus a brief memorial biography of Jones that includes Jones’ own autobiography.
Author William Douglass was an abolitionist, active in the British Anti-Slavery Society, and a participant in the Colored Conventions movement. He was married to Sarah Mapps Douglass (1806–1882), a member of the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society and noted educator at the Philadelphia Institute for Colored Youth.
Description: Annals of the First African Church, in the United States of America, Now Styled The African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, Philadelphia [...] Established by Absalom Jones, Richard Allen and Others, in 1787… [with carte de visite photograph of author]
Philadelphia: King & Baird, Printers, 1862. , –5, , –4, –172pp. First Edition. 7¼ x 4¾ inches. Re-bound c.1930s in a red cloth presentation binding with gilt titling on spine and name “John W. Jones” on upper cover; all edges gilt. Carte de visite photograph of author mounted opposite title page. Pencil ownership inscription on page 61 Alfred I. or J. Cassey. Small newspaper clipping on p with offsetting on opposite leaf. Some scattered pencil annotations and erasures. Gift inscription on front, free endpaper. Very good.
Not found in Work. Not in Blockson Catalogue.
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