1351856 HEARTS OF GOLD [Signed]. J. McHenry Jones.


Wheeling [W.V.?]: Daily Intelligencer Steam Press, 1896. First Edition, First Printing. Octavo, 299 pages. In Very Good condition. Bound in decorative green publisher’s cloth with gilt lettering to spine. Boards have light rubbing overall and light discoloration and wear to head and tail of spine. Text block shows light to light plus age toning interiorly (pages brittle), errata slip inserted preceding title-page, small dent and wear to fore edge of pages 5-78, missing first free end page, and inscription to second free end page: “With best wishes, J. McHenry Jones”. A remarkably well-preserved copy of an extremely scarce volume. Shelved in Case 3.


Shelved Dupont Bookstore

Price: $15,000


"Educator, orator, and activist J. McHenry Jones (1859–1909) grew up in eastern Ohio. A descendant of African American tradespeople and farmers, Jones chose a career in education. He became the principal of the Lincoln School in Wheeling, West Virginia, and then later spurred more than a decade of growth at the West Virginia Colored Institute (now West Virginia State University) as the Institute’s president. Overshadowed by a modern fascination with Booker T. Washington, Jones not only remained independent from the Washington machine but also carved out niches in state and national Republican party politics, African American societies like the Grand Order of the Odd Fellows, and interracial religious organizations like the Epworth League. Although the multi-talented Jones reportedly authored a handful of novels, critics have located only his 1896 Hearts of Gold, a rich story of Black life at the turn into the twentieth century." [West Virginia University Press]

Maxwell Whiteman listed Hearts of Gold as the thirteenth novel by an African-American author, and while more modern scholarship has adjusted the list, it can still be considered one of the earliest novels by an African-American author. Hugh Gloster concluded that Hearts of Gold was noteworthy because it was the first American novel with a leading character who was the offspring of a lawful marriage between a white woman and an African-American man.

A census in 2010 reported only eight known copies of Hearts of Gold, of which this copy was not included.

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