Rare Americana: Autograph Letters

Autograph Letters from 18th century, 19th century, early 20th century American History – Handwritten Letters, Autograph Letters Signed, Correspondence, Letters of Content and Substance, etc.

1933 ALS regarding the North Carolina Myth of Napoleonic Marshal, Michel Ney

Supposed to have been executed in Paris after Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo, did Ney escape to North Carolina with the aid of the Freemasons? Fascinating letter from Katherine Ledwich (née) Meroney Morphy (1873–?) to Philadelphia author Colonel George Nox McCain (1856–1934).

$75

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1830 ALS by Col. Charles Gratiot, U.S. Army Chief Engineer, Constructing a Road near Old Point Comfort, Virginia

Gratiot writes to Maj. General Alexander Macomb, Commanding General of the Unite States Army concerning the officer in charge of the construction of a road. A graduate of West Point, Col. Gratiot succeeded Macomb in the office of Chief Engineer, serving from 1828 to 1838.

$225

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1834 Autograph Letter Signed from James C. Dunn in Mississippi reporting on the former Chickasaw Indian Nation

Letter addressed to President Andrew Jackson's advisor and Treasury official, Amos Kendall: “The Chickasaw reserves are well worthy of the attention of Capitalists.”

$225

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1898 Autograph Letter Signed by a Convict; Life as a Runner in Prison in Philadelphia

“Arthur,” prisoner number 1203, was inmate assistant to the guards. He describes his efforts to improve the education of one of his fellow inmate by teaching him math, geography, and grammar.

$100

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1869 Autograph Letter Signed by former Hawaiian Medical Missionary Seth L. Andrews

Now in private medical practice in Michigan, Andrews here outlines his early biography. Dr. Andrews spent about 12 years in Hawaii as part of the third missionary reinforcement of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.

$150

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Incoming Correspondence 1950–1953 to Sociologist Kurt Heinrich Wolff from later Collaborator, Josephine L. Burroughs

48 Psychologically intimate Autograph Letters Signed. Burroughs assisted Wolff in developing his psychological theory of “Surrender and Catch.”

$850

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1867 Autograph Letter Signed by Diocletian Lewis, Inventor of the Beanbag, Homeopath, Health Advocate

A speaker on temperance and women's education, Lewis here writes about an upcoming lecture in Illinois for the Western Literary Association. Lewis writes about a month after the burning down of the girls’ school he conducted in Lexington, Massachusetts.

$100

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1845 Autograph Letter Signed by Samuel Woodbury describing a Journey from Boston to the Cotton Fields of Gainesville, Alabama

Prospects seem bleak for this Yankee seeker of opportunity in the land of Dixie: “...times are very hard here cotton being the only commodity here...”

$75

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1877 Autograph Letter Signed by a Texas Rancher, Scoundrel, and Officer Charles T. Witherell, 1st Lieutenant, 19th U.S. Infantry, on Wool and Sheep Ranching in Texas

Witherell writes to borrow money for his Texas ranch right around the time he was tangled up with outlaws to buy stolen sheep and likely complicit in the killing of a bandit named John Bottom. He was also somehow muddled in the affair of the Casner Brothers’ murder which involved an ex-Quantrill raider.

$500

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1886 Autograph Letter Signed from a Colorado Gold Miner concerning the Mary Murphy Gold Strike

Detailed letter describes a new vein of gold and outlines a plan to buy a claim and begin the work of removing the ore. No need to send a “Mine Expert”, he writes, “...but a man who is an owner, a man of good judgment (not an enthusiast) & I think he can make his partners in the enterprise satisfyed…”

$300

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1864 to 1873 Letters by or concerning Civil War Surgeon Edwin C. Bidwell, 31st Massachusetts Volunteers

Includes a letter by Harvard Professor of Legal Medicine Dr. Frank W. Draper concerning Bidwell’s war-time “...account of the appearance of the bodies of two persons after lightning stroke.” With a draft of Bidwell's reply to Draper and a letter by another Massachusetts army surgeon commenting on Bidwell's solicitude for the soldiers in his care.

$225

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1911 Autograph Letter Signed by Irish Writer and Poet Susan L. Mitchell, writing about her Poetry and William Butler Yeats

Discusses her poem “Light of Light,” the proposed American publication of two of her books of verse, and asks her correspondent to give her love to “Mr. Yeats,” likely William Butler Yeats, then on tour in America with the Abbey Theatre.

$100

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