April 10 - Howdy Honey Howdy

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On April 10, 1905, a contract was signed authorizing the New York firm Dodd, Mead & Company to publish poems by Paul Laurence Dunbar in an illustrated book titled Howdy Honey Howdy.  There was no explicit reference to a cash advance, but "$1000" was handwritten in the margin.  The contract was similar to others between Paul and his publisher, but a special clause was typed at the bottom.

The author agrees to offer his next book to the Publisher before submitting it to any other publisher.

Contract for Howdy Honey Howdy, April 10, 1905.  Paul Laurence Dunbar Papers, Ohio History Connection (Microfilm edition, Roll 2).

Paul was months away from death, and the contract for his next book was handled by the executor of his estate.  As Paul's health declined and his literary output diminished, his publisher released a series of new books of old poems illustrated with photographs.  Howdy Honey Howdy contained 21 dialect poems, all of which had been published in previous volumes, including 11 that had appeared just months earlier in Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow.

Paul Laurence Dunbar, the well-known negro poet, is just recovering from a long and severe illness at his home.  He is now able to correct the proofs of his new volume of poems, "Howdy, Honey, Howdy!" which Dodd, Mead & Co. announce for Fall issue.

"How the Authors are Summering."  The New York Times Saturday Review of Books (New York, New York).  July 8, 1905.  Page 460.

Published Today
"Howdy Honey Howdy" by Paul Laurence Dunbar
Illustrated from photographs, and with marginal decorations in color.


DODD, MEAD & CO., Publishers

Advertisement.  The New York Times (New York, New York).  October 10, 1905.  Page 4.

Howdy Honey Howdy was an attractive volume suitable for giving as a Christmas present.  The book was illustrated with photographs of Black people portraying the characters in the verses.  The photos were taken by Leigh Richmond Miner, a white art instructor at the Hampton Institute, a Virginia school that provided vocational training to African Americans.

Front cover of Howdy, Honey, Howdy!

Front cover of Howdy Honey Howdy, by Paul Laurence Dunbar.  Published in 1905 by Dodd, Mead & Co.  Photograph by Leigh Richmond Minor.  Illustration by Will Jenkins.

Critical reviews of Howdy Honey Howdy were favorable, although the combination of dialect poems with images of African Americans in humble clothing and rustic cabins seemed to reinforce stereotypical concepts of Black life.

Paul Laurence Dunbar has put forth another collection of his verses.  They are all in plantation dialect, and the illustrations are from photographs of old-fashioned darkies.  This collection of pictures is very good and makes the book worthwhile just for that.  The title is that well known and well beloved darky greeting, "Howdy, Honey, Howdy!"  The picture on the book just under the title is of a bright-faced black woman, with a kindly, welcoming smile, and standing in a doorway with her hand extended all ready for a warm-hearted shake to some expected visitor.  It is very attractive and remindful of how good the Southern "Howdy" sounds;  and it makes you want to go right in and listen to the colored people talk and sing.  So you can go right into the interior of the book and half imagine you have entered the old log cabin.  You will see an old mammy in there that you know well, somebody very like old Uncle Remus, and an assortment of the cutest little coons.

"Darky Melodies Well Illustrated."  The San Francisco Call (San Francisco, California).  October 22, 1905.  Page 23.

HOWDY, HONEY, HOWDY by Paul Laurence Dunbar
Dodd, Mead & Co., New York

Appropriately bound in brown with brown margins framing the photogravures of the darky in all his haunts and occupations.

"Old Friends in New Garb."  The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky).  October 28, 1905.  Page 5.

Paul Laurence Dunbar writes musical verse, and in this volume, "Howdy, Honey, Howdy," he devotes himself entirely to negro dialect, which he naturally presents with accuracy.  He enters into the spirit of the black folk, their loves and cares and sorrows -- and his songs therefore vary from the gay and lively to the pathetic and sad.  Some of them fairly sing themselves, so musical is the swing of the lines.  One can be sure that the negroes about whom he writes would enjoy these rhymes as well as more literary folk.  The volume is handsomely printed and decorated and contains numerous photogravures representing black people in picturesque pose.

"Some Holiday Books."  The Indianapolis Morning Star (Indianapolis, Indiana).  December 19, 1905.  Page 8.