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When Washington Was in Vogue
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Originally published in serial form in the African American tract, the Messenger, from 1925 to 1926, this story was rediscovered by Adam McKible (English, John Jay Coll. of Criminal Justice) and is being published as a novel for the first time. Williams (1871-1929), the first professionally trained African American librarian, writes of the days (and nights) of the Harlem Renaissance in Washington, DC, instead of Harlem. Charming and conventional protagonist Davy Carr, a World War I veteran, goes to the nation's capital to research a book on the slave trade. He finds a room very much to his liking and, through his proprietress, Mrs. Rhodes, meets her prominent, well-to-do, and intellectual friends, as well as her daughter, Caroline. These people give him a different perspective on Washington society and nightlife, which he relates in a series of letters to his friend, Bob. Davy's letters also touch on serious matters, such as how blacks accept the variations in their own skin tones. Slowly, after observing so many other details, Davy reads the signs and clues in front of him-Caroline's strong feelings for him and his own for her. Davy often speaks of the pleasures of sitting before a crackling fire in the hearth, and that would be a good place to enjoy this sincerely delightful book. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries.-Lisa Nussbaum, Dauphin Cty. Lib. Syst., Harrisburg, PA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

This lost epistolary novel of the Harlem Renaissance, originally serialized in The Messenger in 1925-1926, is slight in plot but deep in detail, an invaluable addition to period scholarship. Williams, the country's first professionally trained black librarian, aptly portrays the 1920s African-American high society of which he was a part. After WWI, army officer Davy Carr moves to Washington, D.C., to research a book on the African slave trade. Lodging at the refined home of Margaret Rhodes, he meets her two daughters: older, serious Genevieve, and irrepressible, flirtatious Caroline. Davy immerses himself in their busy society, attending dances, teas, socials and sporting events, and, as in any novel of manners, he makes detailed observations of this new world's mores, writing his findings to a friend. Although he has a fine eye for details in others' lives, Davy realizes he has been blind to his own feelings for the mischievous and darker-skinned Caroline. Williams provides a glimpse into a parallel universe of privilege in which slight variations in skin tone said everything about status, and stuffiness was de rigueur (Caroline, Davy muses, "makes not the slightest outward show of culture in her ordinary social relations, [but] she has... a perfectly uncanny fluency of speech, as I have found out to my discomfiture"). As a light-skinned man who refused to "pass," Williams had an abiding interest in intraracial tension, and the absence of white characters further dramatizes the issue. Though the story holds little suspense, McKible's discovery is sure to provoke scholarship and discussion, and attract well-deserved attention. (Jan.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

"As delightful as it is significant." -- Essence "When Washignton Was in Vogue brims with life." -- Boston Globe "Richly rewarding." -- --Honey "Charming . . . a sincerely delightful book." -- Library Journal "An engaging, eminently readable work." -- San Francisco Chronicle Richly rewarding. ----Honey As delightful as it is significant. --Essence "An engaging, eminently readable work."--San Francisco Chronicle "An engaging and vibrant peek into a world known to exist, yet rarely presented with such vivid and unapologetic detail."--Brian Keith Jackson, author of The Queen of Harlem "A love story . . . rendered with the keen eye of a sociologist."--Booklist "Dramatic frisson for historians and Black studies scholars."--Kirkus Reviews "Charming . . . a sincerely delightful book."--Library Journal "An absolutely fascinating novel. . . . A page-turner, witty and charming."------Elizabeth Nunez, author of Bruised Hibiscus and Discretion "When Washington Was in Vogue offers a welcome and consistently entertaining glimpse of a pivotal era in our recent past."----The Crisis "As delightful as it is significant."--Essence "McKible's discovery is sure to provoke scholarship and discussion, and attract well-deserved attention."--Publishers Weekly "Richly rewarding."----Honey "When Washington Was in Vogue brings this time and place vividly to life.... Great Gatsby with a happier ending."--Wall Street Journal "When Washignton Was in Vogue brims with life."--Boston Globe "Fascinating and complex . . . Williams's lively and insightful account of Davy Carr enhances the African American canon."----Kathleen Pfeiffer, Associate Professor of English, Oakland University When Washington Was in Vogue brings this time and place vividly to life . Great Gatsby with a happier ending. --Wall Street Journal" When Washignton Was in Vogue brims with life. --Boston Globe" As delightful as it is significant. --Essence" An engaging, eminently readable work. --San Francisco Chronicle" Richly rewarding. ----Honey" McKible s discovery is sure to provoke scholarship and discussion, and attract well-deserved attention. --Publishers Weekly" When Washington Was in Vogue offers a welcome and consistently entertaining glimpse of a pivotal era in our recent past. ----The Crisis" A love story . . . rendered with the keen eye of a sociologist. --Booklist" Charming . . . a sincerely delightful book. --Library Journal" Dramatic frisson for historians and Black studies scholars. --Kirkus Reviews" An engaging and vibrant peek into a world known to exist, yet rarely presented with such vivid and unapologetic detail. --Brian Keith Jackson, author of The Queen of Harlem" An absolutely fascinating novel. . . . A page-turner, witty and charming. ------Elizabeth Nunez, author of Bruised Hibiscus and Discretion" Fascinating and complex . . . Williams s lively and insightful account of Davy Carr enhances the African American canon. ----Kathleen Pfeiffer, Associate Professor of English, Oakland University"

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