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To Alexander Meiklejohn


Published by Morning Star Press, Oakland, CA, 1956
Art / Print / Poster
From Main Street Fine Books & Mss, ABAA (Galena, IL, U.S.A.)

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Broadside. Folio (9¼" X 17"). Fine. Hand set and hand printed by Beecher. First separate printing. A tribute to the controversial educator and important civil libertarian Meiklejohn (1872-1964), a philosophy professor who founded the University of Wisconsin's radical Experimental College in 1928 (folded in 1932). In September 1929 Beecher became an English instructor there. Occasioned by reading some "testimony" of Meiklejohn's, Beecher seeks to celebrate his mentor before it's too late -- before "the long black limousine will stand / before your door and all unhearing you / will trundle off on casters while the winds / of elegiac oratory fill / the public prints and how the hearts will ache / of us who were your sons." A surprisingly emotional and personal outburst of affection for the educator whose "ideas broke the mould / of prejudice in which my mind was formed." He goes on: "You let the world in on me, were the yeast / that set me boiling with desire to know / not merely but to do. I thought I loved / my country. You taught why America / deserved my love and all mankind's because / America was more than just a land; / it was the sum of all that men had won / against the ancient darkness." Meiklejohn would live to see this tribute -- and then some, living another eight years before passing away in 1964 at the age of 92. One of the great American protest and radical poets, Beecher left his steel mill background to teach English and sociology at various universities; he worked various positions under the New Deal; his first published poem, "And I Will Be Heard" (1940), placed him on the literary map, and the book-length narrative poem "Here I Stand" came the following year; during World War Two he sailed aboard the first racially integrated ship, the S.S. Booker T. Washington, and wrote about those experiences in "All Brave Sailors"; blacklisted from teaching by refusing to sign a state loyalty oath in California in 1950, he became a rancher and farmer in Sonoma County; there he continued writing, founding the award-winning Morning Star Press in 1956 to publish his poetry and other socially-oriented pieces, becoming a gifted and accomplished practitioner in the process; this press then operated from San Francisco, Berkeley, and Jerome, Arizona; renamed Rampart Press, it relocated to Scottsdale, Arizona and other locales; "Report to the Stockholders & Other Poems" appeared in 1962 to critical acclaim and "To Live and Die in Dixie" in 1966; these later years were filled with guest teaching positions from Massachusetts to California, and Beecher was in great demand as a lecturer and poetry reader nationwide; descended from famed Abolitionists Henry Ward Beecher, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Lyman Beecher, much of John Beecher's poetry concerns itself with race relations, labor reform and other social injustices. Bookseller Inventory # 33338

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Bibliographic Details

Title: To Alexander Meiklejohn

Publisher: Morning Star Press, Oakland, CA

Publication Date: 1956

Edition: 1st Edition

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Main Street Fine Books & Manuscripts has been buying and selling quality books, autographs and ephemera since 1991. We specialize in general antiquarian, first editions, signed books and autographs and documents. We are members of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America (ABAA), Midwest Antiquarian Booksellers Association (MWABA), Universal Autograph Collectors Club (UACC) and The Manuscript Society.

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