The Ugly Side of History
W. G. Jackman, engraver. The White Republic against the World. Portrait of John H. Van Evrie. New York: For the subscribers of The New York Day Book, after 1868.
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This engraved portrait of author and newspaper publisher John H. Van Evrie recently appeared on eBay. There were no bidders, and AAS was able to subsequently acquire the print directly from the seller. Van Evrie was an outspoken white supremecist who bankrolled several papers and periodicals in New York during Reconstruction. He also wrote several pro-slavery tracts during the Civil War. The masthead of his main paper,The New York Day Book declared: "Devoted to White Supremacy, State Equality, and Federal Union." Today, Van Evrie is often cited for his 1860 book review of Walt Whitman'sLeaves of Grass (which he called "bull" and "filth"). Today, Van Evrie's views on slavery and race are appalling and extremely difficult to read, but the preservation of all aspects of American history -- the good, the bad and the really ugly -- is one of the roles of national depositories like the American Antiquarian Society.