THOMAS NELSON PAGE HANDWRITTEN LETTER SIGNED, "Sincerely your friend, Thomas Nelson Page", 5.5 x 7, on "Ritz-Carlton Hotel, NY" letterhead, July 13, 1919, thanking a friend for a gift, by American lawyer, statesman and author of nostalgic books on the postbellum South. In fine condition, with usual letter fold, a small tear at top right and small chip on left edge.
Thomas Nelson Page (1853-1922) was a lawyer and American writer. He also served as the U.S. ambassador to Italy under the administration of President Woodrow Wilson during World War I [Wilson's race relations were not good and seemed to mesh with Page's anti-Civil Rights thinking]. Page's postbellum fiction featured a nostalgic view of the South in step with what is termed Lost Cause ideology. Slaves are happy and simple, slotted into a paternalistic society. The gentry are noble and principled, with fealty to country and to chivalry—they seem like knights of a different age. The ideology and thoughts that appear in Page's writing and in Southern ideology are no mere simplistic, archaic world-view; they are part of a complex history that has informed, for worse and for better, the evolution of the Southern mind to today. In today's world he would be called a racist, especially for the ignorant views he expressed in his comparison of the blacks of his own time with those of imagined blacks of the post Civil War, that he wrote about in his books. Thomas Nelson Page lamented that the slavery-era "good old darkies" had been replaced by the "new issue" (blacks born after slavery) whom he described as "lazy, thriftless, intemperate, insolent, dishonest….". Likewise, Page complained that African American leaders should cease "talk of social equality that inflames the ignorant Negro". He is part/cause of the historic struggle of the American Civil Rights movement.