Autograph Manuscript Poem
ALS with Poem "Mother to Son"
New York, 1946.
New York: 1946.
HUGHES, Langston. ALS with Poem "Mother to Son". New York: May 27, 1946.
An autograph manuscript poem entitled "Mother to Son." Following the signed poem is a note from the author stating "Copies by the author especially for/ Stephen May, New York, May 27, 1946."
Single sheet of onion skin paper, folded for mailing, horizontally in thirds (8 1/2 x 11 inches; 280 x 215 mm). Manuscript in 26 lines in blank ink on verso only. Accompanied by Hughes mailing envelope, with his address printed on the back and a return address label on the front (9 1/2 x 4 1/8 inches; 241 x 105 mm). Envelope is typed out to "Stephen May/ 286 Park Avenue/ Rochester 7, New York" postmarked May 29, 1946. Envelope with some minor wear and toning, but still very good. Letter is about fine.
Well, son, I’ll tell you: Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair. It’s had tacks in it, And splinters, And boards torn up, And places with no carpet on
the floor— Bare. But all the time I’se been a-climbin’ on, And reachin’ landin’s, And turnin’ corners, And sometimes goin’ in the dark Where there ain’t been no light. So boy, don’t you turn back. Don’t you set down on the steps ’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard. Don’t you fall now— For I’se still goin’, honey, I’se still climbin’, And life for me ain’t been no
"Langston Hughes was a central figure in the Harlem Renaissance, the flowering of black intellectual, literary, and artistic life that took place in the 1920s in a number of American cities, particularly Harlem. A major poet, Hughes also wrote novels, short stories, essays, and plays. He sought to honestly portray the joys and hardships of working-class black lives, avoiding both sentimental idealization and negative stereotypes." (The Poetry Foundation dot org).
"From the Stephen May Autograph Collection. As a youth in the 1940's, Stephen May (1931-2016) collected autographs of famous people, identifying individuals through Who's Who publications and contacting them with a thoughtful, lengthy, well-researched letter introducing himself, acknowledging the individuals' accomplishments, asking one or two pertinent questions and, finally, requesting that they return a signature. Some responded simply with an autograph on a provided 3x5 card while others included bonus material with the signature in the form of a poem, letter, friendly greeting, or words of advice for the teenage boy." (Second Story Books).