[AFRICAN-AMERICANS] SIMMONS, Rev. William J.
Men of Mark: Eminent, Progressive and Rising
Cleveland: Geo. M. Rewell, 1890. Second Edition. Octavo (22cm). Original publisher's cloth, blocked in gilt and blind; red edge-stain; 733, pp; illus. Usual toning to page margins, else a straight, tight copy with gilt just lightly rubbed; edge-stain bright, clean, and unfaded; the fragile floral endpapers clean and strong. Easily on the better end of Very Good - an exceptional copy of this notoriously fragile book. Important Progressive Era work of African-American biography, presenting 90 biographical sketches (of which 57 are accompanied by engraved portraits) of prominent Black Americans in the areas of religion, science, politics, the arts, business and society. The author was a Baptist minister and President of Kentucky State University in Louisville. Simmons's work was originally published in 1887 in a massive, 1200-page edition of which very few copies have survived intact. The current Subscription Edition is considerably reduced in size (approximately 80 fewer biographies and 50 fewer portraits); it is also rather scarcer, with only 12 locations noted in OCLC. Both editions were produced by a small, regional publisher using inferior materials and it is rare to find a copy without serious flaws.