# 17327


[RACISM; ÉPINAL PRINT] The black man

$40.00 AUD

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Kansas City, Missouri : Humoristic Publishing Co., [1893-94]. No. 7. Épinal print, single sheet, folio (400 x 295 mm), chromoithographed, lower margin imprinted Imagerie d’Epinal. – Pellerin, imp.-édit. “Printed expressly for the Humoristic Publishing Co., Kansas City, Mo.”; original horizontal fold, 8.5 cm tear at upper right corner affecting the fourth illustrated panel, a few small tears to the edges of the sheet, the paper with mild toning, otherwise a clean copy.

At the close of the eighteenth century the French publisher Jean-Charles Pellerin was the originator of the so-called image d’Epinal, a popular print issued in the style of a broadsheet which took its name from Pellerin’s hometown in the Vosges region of France. The Pellerin publishing house continued to issue these prints throughout the nineteenth century, initially as wood engravings and later as lithographs, in the main individually but sometimes in bound portfolios. These commercially highly successful prints dealt with topical, humourous, moral and religious themes. The image d’Epinal was, in a very real sense, the precursor to the modern comic. During 1893-94 the Humoristic Publishing Co. of Kansas City issued a series of sixty Pellerin images d’Epinal which had originally been popular in France in the 1850s, but for the first time these prints appeared with captions in English. The print offered here is number seven in this series, and tells the tale of a young girl from a wealthy family who is terrified by a servant’s story about the Black Man, who is identified with the Devil. ‘During the night, the little girl dreamed that the black man ran after her and took her away in a large bag‘. When, next day, the girl spies a black man in her mother’s room, she is so frightened that she flees the house. Found by a policeman who returns with her to the family home, she discovers that the source of her terror is in fact the chimney-sweeper, covered in soot: a black man, not a black man. ‘Mary saw her error and never after believed in tales; her father however discharged the lying servant.

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