The copy of Booker T Washington’s Up from Slavery sold by Hannam’s for £5000, overlain by the bookplate that Andrew Carnegie added when he was sent the book as a gift by its author.

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“By this mail I take the liberty of sending you my last book, Up from Slavery, which I hope you may find time to glance through”.

Penned on the notepaper of the Tuskagee Normal and Industrial Institute, and noting that its new library building will be finished by the middle of April, that letter and the book itself were sold for a far higher than suggested £5000 by Hannam’s (23% buyer’s premium) of Selborne in Hampshire as part of an auction that spanned four days: August 23-26.


The copy of Booker T Washington’s Up from Slavery sold by Hannam’s for £5000.

Booker T Washington – the initial T standing for Taliaferro – was born during the USA’s final years of slavery. At school, when asked his surname for registration, he had given the family name of Washington but he later learned from his mother that she had named him Booker Taliaferro at birth, though it was not a name used by their then ‘owner’. He immediately re-adopted it for his own.

The African-American educator, writer and orator become a prominent public figure in the US and an adviser to the White House in the years 1890-1915. The first of his several published works, The Future of the American Negro, had appeared in 1899.