London: Unity Theatre, (1942). Original lithographed poster, 54cm x 41cm (21” x 16”). Professionally matted and framed (not laid down) beneath UV-protective glass. Fine, unfaded example; Grade A.
London’s Unity Theatre was organized in 1936; decidedly left-wing in outlook, it had ties to the Communist Party of Great Britain and to Victor Gollancz’s Left Book Club Theatre Guild. The Theatre’s annual satirical revues, which pioneered the use of such agitprop techniques as dramatic documentary (akin to the “Living Newspapers” of the Federal Theatre in the U.S.), improvisation, and audience participation, marked an important phase in the evolution of dramatic performance art in Great Britain. A really lovely early work by S. John Woods, noted for his film and travel posters (including several for London Transport) in the 1950s.
Inaugural issue of Soviet Russia Today, the official organ of the Friends of the Soviet Union, a Communist Front group organized to extoll the achievements of the Five Year Plan. Sold at the give-away price of $1.00 per year, the aim was to get as many copies as possible into the hands of suffering workers during the Great Depression. It worked!
PROGRESS for June 26, 1970 - a motivational graphic extra that appeared regularly as an insert in Muhammad Speaks (now called “Muslim Journal”), official organ of the Nation of Islam. Though we’ve handled hundreds of issues of Muhammad Speaks, we’ve only seen a few examples of Progress - we suspect many were removed and used as wall decorations, as they are quite striking inside, most featuring the artwork of the pioneering graphic designer Abdal Eugene Majied - an artist whose work deserves to be better known.
Great promotional broadside for Sammy Harris, a talented Akron lightweight who died in the ring in at the age of 19, just as his career was taking off. Clean, Classy & Colorfull - what a shame to die so young.
History of the Black Man - great early Afrocentric history book by Earl Koger Sr, a Baltimore insurance agent whose companion volume, “Black Mother Goose,” is one of the classics of the genre. Well worth searching out, but quite hard to find.
We’re pretty much in love with this recently-acquired theatrical broadside, an uncommon survival from the heyday of Havana’s Chinese diaspora community, ca. 1920s-30s. We assume “Teatro Chung Wa” to have been affiliated with the “Casino Chung Wah,” one of the several Chinese cultural & political institutions that flourished in Havana’s Barrio Chino from the late 1890s through the 1950s.