AE Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2007 Issue

New Acquisitions at Wessel and Lieberman

Labor

Rockwell Kent election poster, Tacoma's Twenty-Seven.


Here is an account of a very different pioneering trip into the American Northwest. The title explains the journey: A Pioneer's Search For an Ideal Home by Phoebe Goodell Judson, who crossed the Plains in 1853 and became a resident on Puget Sound before the organization of Washington Territory. Mrs. Judson provides the unusual woman's perspective of traveling west by covered wagon, experiencing accidents, a drowning, fear of Indians, and childbirth on the trail. The author was in no hurry to tell her story. Her book was privately published in 1925, when Mrs. Judson was 95 years old. This copy is signed by her, which is uncommon as she passed away shortly after her book was published. Item 106. $750.

Item 105 is a photograph which recalls a most unhappy incident in America, but perhaps can help us understand the seemingly incomprehensible sectarian violence we encounter in other parts of the world. We are not that far removed. It is a photograph of Tacoma's Twenty-Seven. Names of Citizens Indicted for Causing the Chinese Exodus from Tacoma, W.T. November 3d, 1885. William P. Jackson's photograph does not show a bunch of obvious hooligans in jail suits. It displays 27 well-dressed, distinguished looking "gentlemen," including Mayor Robert Jacob Weisbach. They had led a mob of some 500 white men through the Chinese neighborhood of Tacoma, breaking down doors and threatening Chinese residents until most were forced to flee the area. Some were forced to march many miles in the cold rain to a location far from the city. The "Tacoma 27" were indicted, but were quickly released on bail and the indictments later dropped. Their intimidation succeeded in removing the Chinese from Tacoma. $600.

Rockwell Kent is best known as an illustrator, artist, and writer. His illustrations in editions of Moby Dick and Candide helped seal his reputation. However, Kent was also deeply political, involved in left-wing politics that became ever more radical as he aged. Kent would be forced to testify during the McCarthy hearings, and his gift of paintings to the Farnsworth Art Museum in Maine was refused because of his politics. Kent responded by giving them all to the Soviet Union. In 1948, Kent ran for Congress on New York's American Labor Party ticket. The party endorsed Progressive Party candidate former Vice-President Henry Wallace for president. Item 40 is a rare poster from that campaign, with Wallace's name on top, and Kent's as the candidate for Congress. $750.

Wessel and Lieberman Booksellers may be found online at www.wlbooks.com. Their telephone number is 206-682-3545.

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