Proud Shoes. [Presentation Copy]
Memoir of a prominent civil rights and women’s rights activist; inscribed to a supporter and correspondent
The author’s first book. Family memoir of prominent civil rights and women’s rights activist, lawyer, author, and Baltimore-native, Pauli Murray (1910–1985).
Presentation copy with inscription to Donald Stephens (1887–1971) of the single-tax enclave and utopian, Arts and Crafts community of Arden, Delaware:
5/12/57 For Donald Stephens with appreciation from Betsy Graves Reyneau and greetings from the author – Pauli Murray
Donald Stephens was the son of Frank Stephens (1859–1935), sculptor, single-tax campaigner, and co-founder of Arden. Donald, a WWI conscientious objector and himself a single-taxer, was instrumental in expanding Arden by co-founding the adjacent town of Ardencroft and is further noted for being a furniture maker and for conducting the Arden Craft Shop. (It is interesting to note that the dust jacket of Proud Shoes has a blurb by black academic and Delaware-native, J. Saunders Redding, who was later the first African American professor in Cornell University’s College of Arts and Sciences and who would go on to be the first black person to teach at any Ivy League school.)
The inscription indicates that the book was a gift from Betsy Graves Reyneau (1888–1964). Reyneau, “...a painter and member of the National Woman’s Party (NWP) who arrived at Howard [University] in the fall of 1943, introduced [Pauli] Murray to the history of women’s rights and its relation to the abolitionists.”¹
Murray’s family memoir, Proud Shoes, discusses her unusual family background: “...slave owning aristocratic Southerners, Cherokee Indians, free-born Yankee Negroes, a white woman of Swedish-Finnish descent, a half-Irish mulatto, and an octaroon slave of surpassing beauty.”
Murray was raised in North Carolina by her maternal grandparents, Robert and Cornelia Fitzgerald, whose home there is referenced in her inscription to Overholt. After graduating from Hunter College in 1933, Murray became a lawyer and worked in areas of civil and women’s rights. She was the first woman to receive a Doctor of Juridical Science degree from Yale Law School and was the first African-American female Episcopal priest. In her professional life she was praised by Thurgood Marshall. She was also a one-time collaborator with Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
Description: Proud Shoes. [Presentation Copy]
New York: Harper & Brothers, (1956). , 276, [1(colophon)]pp. First edition. Inscribed and Signed by author on the free, front endpaper. 8vo. Publisher’s gray paper-covered boards. Brief rubbing to boards at extremities; some foxing on endpapers; jacket soiled and rubbed, with some losses at folds and at edges, with old tape mend on verso; overall good to very good with a nice inscription.
Note 1. Rosenberg, Jane Crow: The Life of Pauli Murray (New York, 2017).