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.

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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1813 Autograph Letter Signed by Lawyer John Pickering of Salem, Massachusetts concerning a Case of Libel and the Impressment of American Sailors in the War of 1812

The crux of the libel case was that John Pickering and the Committee on Impressment conducted their investigations “unfairly” so as to mislead the public. Pickering was the eldest child of Timothy Pickering, American Revolutionary soldier and, later, third U.S. Secretary of State.

$225

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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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Two 1925 Autograph Letters Signed from Florida by 19th Century Acrobat and “Panto” Actor Ed. B. Montague

Aging acrobat and “acting Ape” pantomime performer, Ed. B. Montague looks back to his younger days on the flying trapeze. He recalls an old stage rival and their pantomime roles as “acting Apes.”

$250

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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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1878 Autograph Letter Signed by Yale Professor Thomas A. Thacher, discussing the Post-Reconstruction South and a bust of Yale President Theodore Dwight Woolsey by Augustus Saint-Gaudens

Letter to former U.S. Attorney General Edwards Pierrepont discusses Louisiana politics, singling out former Confederate General now Congressman Randall L. Gibson. It was Pierrepont who commissioned the bust by Saint-Gaudens.

$75

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1910 Letter from Delaware Presbyterian Minister Fraser L. MacLeod, writing from Arizona Territory

With observations on its scenery, agriculture, and its not being “a white man's land.” MacLeod's preaching there was as “[g]ood as Barnum's circus to some of them.”

$50

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1849–1850 Three Letters from her Father in Baltimore to Katharine Kalbfus Lewis of Philadelphia

Affectionate letters to a recently married daughter: “...make your husband happy, and you will be happy yourself, study to please him, and you will please your self.”

$150

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