Los Angeles: Wilfern Publishers, 1958. Vintage original promotional book, pictorial wrappers, stapled, [48 pp.], 8 3/8 x 5 1/2″ (21.5 x 14 cm.), just about fine.

First and only edition. Willie Bryant (1908-1964) was an African American jazz bandleader, vocalist, and disc jockey. In the 1950s, he was the emcee at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem and was known as the “Mayor of Harlem”. This idiosyncratic book is a kind of lexicon of Black hipster slang. But it also contains portraits of various leading singers, primarily African Americans, and also little tips from Bryant on how to succeed as a disc jockey, tributes to various Black musicians of the past and present, as well as examples of African American hipster jokes.

WorldCat lists only one known copy of this book at the Bibliothèque nationale de France, and does not indicate holdings at any American library. This is a genuinely rare book, and a remarkable window into mid-century African American culture.

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