E. W. Kemble's 1892 Illustrations

Edward Windsor Kemble was a young illustrator for a New York humor magazine called Life in 1884 when Mark Twain hired him to do the illustrations for Huck Finn. His drawings of Jim, as he himself put in a 1930 essay on "Illustrating Huckleberry Finn," "started something in [his] artistic career." Magazine editors, southern writers and the American reading public were so pleased with Kemble's representation of African American characters that by the time Houghton Mifflin recruited him to illustrate their 1892 two-volume edition of Uncle Tom's Cabin he was a specialist in what he called "negro drawings." Because of Kemble's association with the works of authors like Joel Chandler Harris and Thomas Nelson Page -- the post-Reconstruction Southern writers who sought to revise Stowe's account of the ante bellum South -- the decision to use his version of slaves is an indication of how, by the 1890s, the distance between Stowe's attack on slavery and nostalgic apologies for it had narrowed.
According to the advertising for the edition, Kemble prepared 146 illustrations, including 14 full-page "photogravures." Strikingly, well over half of them are of blacks, mostly unidentified slaves. The elegantly-bound copy of the edition in the Barrett Collection contains only 142 Kemble drawings (including 11 of the photogravures). Based on the "List of Illustrations" in the front of each volume, the following pictures are missing here: "TOM AND HIS CHILDREN (photogravure)," "TOPSY (photogravure)," "'WITNESS, ETERNAL GOD!' (photogravure)," and a "TAIL PIECE." All the rest, captioned with the titles provided in the two "Lists of Illustrations," are available here. You can see any by clicking on its icon at left.
Uncle Tom's Cabin, Or, Life Among the Lowly, By Harriet Beecher Stowe, Illustrated by E. W. Kemble. In Two Volumes. Copyright 1891 by Houghton, Mifflin and Co. Cambridge: Printed at the Riverside Press, 1892.