Boston: Sherman, French & Co., 1912. First Edition. Hardcover. Original gilt-decorated cloth. Johnson's first book, a fictional autobiography that appeared anonymously and explored the issue of a black man passing for white in America, serving as a launchpad for many later novels exploring the question of what it means to be black in America. This self-published first printing fared poorly, accounting in large part for the book's notorious scarcity, and it did not reach a wide readership until the second edition was published in 1927 and Johnson claimed authorship. INSCRIBED and SIGNED in full by the author "To Mr. Hamilton Holt,/With the sincere admiration/and esteem of the author,/James W. Johnson./New York City,/Sept. 30, 1913." It was in New York four years earlier that Holt helped to found the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which Johnson joined in 1917 and where he became in 1920 the first African American to be chosen as executive secretary of the organization, effectively the operating officer, a position he had until 1920. At the time of publication of this book Holt was proprietor and editor of the weekly INDEPENDENT. He was also one of this country's foremost internationalists, founding the World Federation League and serving as president of the American Peace Congress and director of the World Peace Foundation before spending years promoting the League of Nations. After an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate in Connecticut, Holt accepted the presidency of Rollins College in Florida. Blockson's 101 Influential Books: #56. Holt's bookplate on the front pastedown with a modern postage stamp honoring Johnson. Some spotting and discoloration to the scarlet cloth, mostly on the spine and at the rear with minor fraying at the head of the spine. Still a Very Good copy and exceptionally scarce when signed. Item #010722

Price: $15,000.00