Girard, Kansas: Haldeman-Julius Publications, circa 1930s. Side-stapled pamphlet, measuring 5 x 3.5 inches: 64. Original blue printed wrappers with union label on rear wrapper. Light edgewear, wrappers and text block toned.
Early printing of novelist Wallace Thurman’s first book, an opinionated guide to Harlem first issued as a series of articles in 1927, collected here as number 494 in Haldeman-Julius’s long-running Little Blue Book series: “Harlem has been called the Mecca of the New Negro, the center of black America’s cultural renaissance, Nigger Heaven, Pickaninny Paradise, Capitol of Black America.” Editor of the Harlem Renaissance quarterly Fire!!, Thurman surveys Harlem’s geography, demographics, and economy, as well as the neighborhood’s social, religious, and cultural life. He is openly skeptical of the buzz surrounding the Harlem Renaissance: “there are many never-will-be-top-notch literary, artistic and intellectual strivers in Harlem as there are all over New York. Since the well-advertised ‘literary renaissance,’ it is almost a Negro Greenwich Village in this respect.” Thurman would go on to publish two satiric novels set in Harlem, The Blacker the Berry (1929) and The Infants of the Spring (1932). A very good example of an ephemeral publication.