C.1902 ALS by Virginian John Paul Bocock, Attorney, Poet, and Journalist.

Recommending articles on expert legal testimony and on upcoming world’s fairs and expositions

Interesting letter on the publication of magazine articles by attorney-turned-journalist and popular writer, John Paul Bocock (1856–1903).

A Virginian from a leading family, Bocock earned a Master of Art’s degree from Washington and Lee University in 1875 and subsequently studied law in Cincinnati. He practiced law there until 1883 when he joined the editorial staff of The Press in Philadelphia. In 1887, his journalistic career took him to New York City where he wrote for the newspaper The World and contributed poetry and prose to various magazines including Cosmopolitan, Leslie’s Weekly, Munsey’s Magazine, Harper’s Monthly, and Harper’s Weekly.

In this undated letter, Bocock writes to a Mr. Monro, likely an editor at the North American Review. Bocock recommends two articles suitable for publication, one of which appears to be a legal excursus on expert evidence and relevant to a then-pending case:

Judge [John] Woodward of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court [of New York] is putting the finishing touches to his able and radical paper on Expert Evidence in Courts of Law which will be in your hands in a day or two and can be used in August or September as you prefer. ... The Molineux trial begins in September. He says, e.g.: “In the absence of direct evidence, it is contrary to the spirit of Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence that a prisoner should be condemned to death on the evidence of handwriting experts alone.”

Judge Woodward’s article was, in fact, published in the North American Review in October 1902, thus our dating of the letter to that year and assigning the likely role of editor there to Mr. Monro.

Bocock’s letter also mentions an article on “Expositions, Their Conduct and Uses” by American mineralogist George F. Kunz (1856–1932). From 1881 until his death, Kunz wrote extensively on minerals and gemstones for scientific journals and academic reports. Kunz was also in charge of U.S. mining and mineralogical exhibits at several world’s fairs and expositions including Paris in 1889, Chicago in 1893, and St. Louis in 1904. Bocock mentions that there are several upcoming expositions and Kunz’ authority on them:

[Kunz] has attended every World’s Fair & fair of importance since ’76, [and] will, I trust, seem suitable for use in the August number. … He rattles some dry bones.

Kunz’s article, recommended by Bocock, may not have been published; it is not listed in a bibliography of his writings published by the Gemological Institute of America.¹

John Paul Bocock’s uncle, Thomas Stanhope Bocock (1815–1891), was speaker of the Congress of the Confederate States, and another uncle, James L. Kemper (1823–1895), was a Confederate general and post-war governor of Virginia. John Paul Bocock was a noted bibliophile and, in 1900, one of the founders of The Bibliophile Society.

Description: C.1902 ALS by Virginian John Paul Bocock, Attorney, Poet, and Journalist.

Long Branch [New Jersey], c.1902. [2]pp. Autograph Letter Signed. 8vo. Folds, very good.


Note. 1. George F. Kunz Bibliography Compiled by the Richard T. Liddicoat Gemological Library and Information Center accessed online.

Price: $125.00