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PHOTOGRAPH OF MATTHEW A. HENSON, "NEGRO WHO SAVED PEARY, OF NORTH POLE FAME, PROPOSED FOR HONOR MEDAL.

PHOTOGRAPH OF MATTHEW A. HENSON, "NEGRO WHO SAVED PEARY, OF NORTH POLE FAME, PROPOSED FOR HONOR MEDAL.

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PHOTOGRAPH OF MATTHEW A. HENSON, "NEGRO WHO SAVED PEARY, OF NORTH POLE FAME, PROPOSED FOR HONOR MEDAL.

by [Henson, Matthew]

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About This Item

[New York: Underwood & Underwood, 1927. Frontal photograph of Henson [1866-1955] to his waist, in suit and tie. 6-1/2" x 8-1/2." Very Good. With typed caption beneath, on stationery of Underwood and Underwood, with that firm's rubberstamp on the otherwise blank verso.

The Underwood caption reads:
"MATTHEW A. HENSEN [sic], NEGRO WHO SAVED PEARY, OF NORTH
POLE FAME, PROPOSED FOR HONOR MEDAL.

"NEW YORK CITY.- Matthew A. Hensen, negro messenger in the New York City Custom House, who, at the peril of his own life, saved Rear Admiral Peary at the North Pole, is due for belated recognition of his heroism.
"Emanuel Celler, Representative from the Tenth New York District, has sponsored a bill to have the Director of the Mint strike off a suitable medal commemorating Hensen's feat as co-discoverer of the Pole with Peary.
"Mr. Hensen, who resides at 901 Grant Avenue, the Bronx, is the only member of his race to have ever reached the North Pole.
"4022B4- Close-up of Mr. Matthew A. Hensen."

According to the Congressional record, "In 1926 Rep. Emanuel Celler, D., N.Y., tried to get him a $1,700 pension and a Congressional medal for bravery but nothing came of it." [July 12, 1973, page 23483.]
Around 1927 Henson was promoted to Clerk in the Custom House. In 1929, he moved from the Bronx to 246 West 150th Street in Manhattan, and lived there for the rest of his life. The location is now a national landmark. The Underwood firm, according to Wikipedia, was "a pioneer in the field of news bureau photography." The Company, founded in 1881, moved to New York City in 1887; in 1910 it entered the field of news photography, and remained active until the 1940s.
Researching family trees and federal census records, it's likely that Matthew Henson [1866-1955] was the nephew of Rev. Josiah Henson [1789-1883] former slave, author, abolitionist, minister, and likely inspiration for the title character of Harriet Beecher Stowe's 1852 novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. Matthew's father, Lemuel Henson [born c.1825-1832], appears to be Josiah's younger brother.

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Details

Bookseller
David M. Lesser, Fine Antiquarian Books LLC US (US)
Bookseller's Inventory #
37494
Title
PHOTOGRAPH OF MATTHEW A. HENSON, "NEGRO WHO SAVED PEARY, OF NORTH POLE FAME, PROPOSED FOR HONOR MEDAL.
Author
[Henson, Matthew]
Book Condition
Used
Quantity Available
1
Publisher
Underwood & Underwood
Place of Publication
[New York
Date Published
1927
Weight
0.00 lbs
Bookseller catalogs
AMERICANA;

Terms of Sale

David M. Lesser, Fine Antiquarian Books LLC

All items guaranteed as described, and subject to prior sale. Any item returnable for any reason within ten days after receipt, in same condition as sent, for refund of purchase price. My liability limited to purchase price paid. Wrappers described when present; 'dbd' means disbound. Non-U.S. shipments charged at cost. We observe all customs regulations.

About the Seller

David M. Lesser, Fine Antiquarian Books LLC

Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers.
Biblio member since 2005
Woodbridge, Connecticut

About David M. Lesser, Fine Antiquarian Books LLC

The Company, formed in 1989, specializes in the cultural, political, and social history of the Americas. Since 1993 David M. Lesser, Fine Antiquarian Books LLC has been a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America and the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers. David M. Lesser is also a member of the American Antiquarian Society. Located in New Haven's suburb of Woodbridge, Connecticut, visitors are welcome by appointment. We issue six printed catalogues annually.

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