THE WHITE SLAVE.
[Philadelphia?]: William Harrison, Dealer in Frames, Chromos, Stereoscopes, Views, Albums, &c. No. 345 South Street, Philadelphia." [c 1870s?]. Two nearly identical stereoview albumen prints, mounted side-by-side on cardstock. Oblong 7" x 3-1/4." Applied paper title-- "The White Slave" -- and publisher/vendor label on verso. Housed behind glass in a nice wooden contact print frame [not examined out of frame]. Very Good.
In each print, a young African-American man is dressed to the nines in boldly checked and striped pants, frock coat, large top hat, and expensive shoes. A young white boy shines his shoes. The setting indicates dissatisfaction with Emancipation and Republican Reconstruction. Many whites, North and South, experienced Reconstruction, not as an effort to elevate Blacks to first class citizenship; but as a reversal of fortune for whites, diminishing their social and economic status, displaced by upstart African Americans.
The Library Company describes this rare double print as follows: "Stereograph, possibly published in London, depicting a scene satirizing race relations in America. Shows the dandy standing and with one foot on the boy's shoe shine box in front of a back drop depicted as a wall adorned with broadsides referencing abolition, slavery, and emancipation. The dandy is attired in striped and checkered pants, a jacket with tails, a ruffled shirt, and top hat. He holds a walking stick under one arm and a cigarette in his other hand. The boy kneels and shines the dandy's shoes with his shining supplies and tools by his box. Broadsides include a "playbill" reading "Adelphi. Tonight The White Slave. Octoroon Farce" and an advertisement for "Fast Clipper. Clyde. For New Orleans." Other posts read "No Slavery. Freedom" and "Great Meeting. Negro Emancipation. Poor Slaves."
The Adelphi, the Library Company points out, was a London theater; hence, the possible attribution to a London source. On the other hand, the hub of the Clyde Steamship Company, founded in 1874, was New York City, equally suggesting the possibility of a New York imprint.
LCP P.2014.29 on line. Item #39120