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Steve Turner Collection of Rare African American Artifacts Fills Many Blanks In American History

| February 6, 2020 | Lifestyle

On February 20, 2020, a groundbreaking collection on African American history assembled by art dealer Steve Turner will be sold at auction by Cowan's in Chicago.

The auction is highly anticipated due to the rarity and importance of the items which add depth to the standard white historical account of how the American West was settled.

According to auction house owner, Wes Cowan, “This is one of the most important collections I’ve ever had the privilege of handling. This collection tells the tragedies and triumphs of the too often forgotten African Americans who transcended racial stereotypes to redefine the American Dream in the west.”

Assembled over twenty-five years, the collection boasts rare photographs, broadsides, pamphlets and manuscripts that will enable scholars to fill in many blanks in American history.

The story of western settlement is one of achievement, participation and the pursuit of the American dream by many different types of pioneers, not simply white settlers.

Underscoring this diversity such artifacts as:

· A close-up photographic portrait of of Harriet Tubman that captures her intense gaze

· A previously unknown carte de visite of Frederick Douglass as well as his walking stick

· The first cookbook written by an African American–"What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking." (Published in San Francisco, 1881)

· A large group of Black Panther material–posters, pamphlets, newspapers and pinback buttons

· A group of photographs of African Americans who were decorated for their service in the Civil War

· A large group of Buffalo Soldier material–photographs, documents and letters

· A broadside of President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation printed in San Francisco, 1864

Harriet Tubman. Cabinet card photograph, c. 1892.


A carte de visite of Christian Fleetwood, Civil War Congressional Medal of Honor Winner, c. 1865


Unpublished CDV of Frederick Douglass by Benjamin F. Smith, 1864


J.A. Palmer Wilde Woman of Aiken Cabinet Card, 1882


John C.H. Grabill Cabinet Card of Buffalo Soldier Wearing Buffalo Coat, ca 1886

Catalogue of the Steve Turner Collection, Cowan's Auction

Check out to view the 316 lots which will be sold at the auction on February 20, 2020.


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