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Delegates to the First National Convention of the Socialist Party of the United States of America. Held at Chicago, Illinois May 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th 5th and 6th, 1904
Chicago: Geo. D. Evans, [ca 1904]. An historical image of great importance, capturing all 183 official delegates to the first nation-wide convention of the first nationally influential Marxist political organization in America. Following four years of attempts at unification, beginning in 1897 with Eugene Debs's Social Democracy of America (formed from the remnants of his National Railway Union) and following various factional splits in the Socialist Labor Party and the Social Democratic Party, representatives of the major American socialist organizations succeeded in coalescing at the so-called "Socialist Unity Convention" of 1901, giving birth to the Socialist Party of America. It would be another three years before the Party called its first National Convention, drawing together representatives from 33 states. The meeting, unsurprisingly, proved contentious, revealing tensions between the Party's left and right elements that would remain unresolved until the Communist Party split of 1919. All 183 delegates to the convention are pictured here, along with assorted spouses (and a few children), all identified in the printed legend below the photograph. A significantly rare image. Only one copy located per OCLC (Library of Congress); no history at auction or in the booksellers' catalogs to which we have access. Large-plate albumen photograph, 245mm x 420mm, mounted on printed pasteboard mount, overall dimensions 410mm x 510mm (ca 16"x20"). Group portrait, with each figure numbered in negative; inset portion shows slightly enlarged portraits of nineteen delegates (the Executive Committee?), including Eugene V. Debs at center. Printed portion of mount lists all 212 subjects, keyed to numbers in the photograph. Mount edgeworn, with cracks and a few marginal losses to mount, the largest measuring ca. 1" x 1-1/2"; all losses well away from printed area. Photograph slightly faded and foxed, but still sharp with all figures easily discernible; Very Good.
      [Bookseller: Lorne Bair Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2016-05-11           Check availability:      Biblio    

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