[Set of 12 Racist Chromolithographic Die Cuts:] Ten Little N****r Boys went out to dine, One choked his little self, and then there were Nine. ...


Complete set of 12 chromolithographic die-cuts depicting hapless African Americans, each die-cut reproducing a poetical verse from or based on the racist poem “Ten Little N*****s” by British poet Frank Green.

The popular poem recounts the story of ten African American boys whose group dwindles, one by one, down to “none” as each encounters some sort of mishap or accident: choking at the dinner table, being stung by a bee, being hugged by a bear, being swallowed by a large herring, “frizzled” by the sun, etc.

Typically seen as decorations in late Victorian scrapbooks, die-cuts depicting African Americans—indeed much ephemera of the time—almost always used racist imagery. Here, the boys—and they are called “boys” though they clearly are young men—are depicted as hapless, child-like or foolhardy and in eccentric, colorful clothing. They enact the verses of the racist poem.

For example the first card shows the group at table, one boy, hand to mouth, choking as the others look on in horror. The captioned verse reads: “Ten Little N****r Boys went out to dine, One choked his little self, and then there were Nine.” Or this unhappy scene: “Seven Little N****r Boys chopping up Sticks. One chopped himself in halves, and then there were Six.”

Rather than ending as Green’s original poem with the lone boy hanging himself, the present poem ends with him getting married. Two additional verses added to the 10-verse original transform the poem into a round, i.e. there is no resolution and the boys remain hapless over and over again. The married couple are shown with nine children “Whose Story we will tell you another time.” In other words, see verse one.

An complete set and narrative; miniature-like die-cuts perpetuating stereotypes and using racist language and images.


Description: [Set of 12 Racist Chromolithographic Die Cuts:] Ten Little N****r Boys went out to dine, One choked his little self, and then there were Nine. ...

[Likely printed in Germany. c.1880s–1890s]. Set of 12 Chromolithographic Die-Cuts. Each approx. 2¼ x 3¼ inches. Some wear at edges; abrasions to some printed captions; small losses to five diecuts; a complete set in near fine condition.

[3728558]

Price: $450.00