Anthracite Coal Art of Charles Edgar Patience book cover

Book Cover Photo / Courtesy of EBONY Magazine [March, 1970]

Anthracite Coal Art of Charles Edgar Patience
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Charles Edgar Patience, an African American anthracite coal sculptor, was the grandson of a North Carolina runaway slave named Crowder Patience who in 1864 had enlisted in a Pennsylvania regiment garrisoned in Plymouth, N.C. At the end of the Civil War, he traveled with his regiment to Pennsylvania where he would settle and rear a family of eight children.

His 1st son Harry at the age of fourteen sought employment as a breaker boy at a local colliery. There he began to whittle objects from chunks of black anthracite, leading to his later becoming a successful entrepreneur of coal novelties. His 3rd son Edgar would take the business to an even higher level by fulfilling his aspirations of becoming a recognized sculptor.

His work was described in the March 1970 issue of Ebony magazine as “the world’s most unique sculptor.” In 1972 he was listed in Who’s Who in America. Unfortunately, just as his star was rising, he would die from the curse of miners' black lung disease. Even though he had never been a miner himself, the coal dust he had been inhaling throughout his sixty-five years had done great damage to his lungs.

This book has been written by his daughter for those readers who are old enough to remember when “anthracite was king” in northeastern Pennsylvania and for those who are not old enough to know. It is written for those who have no idea that coal can be a medium for sculpturing. It is written so that both present and future generations may come to know and appreciate the work of the pioneer anthracite coal sculptor, Charles Edgar Patience, who brought forth beauty and universal definition from the Pennsylvania “black diamond.” A wealth of photographs and a full name plus subject index enhance the text.

(2006), 2008, 5½x8½, paper, index, 170 pp.
ISBN: 0788442635