Americana and Ephemera

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Boy Scouts - a small signed photo card by Dan Beard with a signed slip from Ernest Thompson Seton who adds an ink drawing of a paw print. Both were early leaders of American Scouting.

$225.00
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Bishop Brooks may not answer God’s call
Episcopal Bishop (1835-1893)

Autograph letter signed, November 28, 1877, Boston, one page. Brooks politely declines a request for an article. This would seem like a routine response until it is placed in the context of the latest technology – the telephone.

Bishop Brooks writes “I would gladly help your Fair through the “Telephone” if I could—but I am sorry to say that such an article as you desire is quite out of my habits &, I am sure, out of my power. I could send you nothing but a Sermon—so you must excuse me & believe in my sincere good-will.”

The letter is addressed to Edw. S. Garlster (or Garleston), with no address. Less than two years prior to this letter, Alexander Graham Bell, in February 1876, patented his new invention. It is tempting to think that one of the nation’s most prominent religious figures was asked to comment about this new invention. Drawing a line between his role as religious leader and someone who might comment on the secular implications of modern technology he charmingly sidesteps the issue by saying he merely can only write a sermon.

The letter is missing a quarter-size bite at the top. Brooks has crossed out the address of his hotel and added 17[_ Mar] borough St. The date Nov. 28 has been crossed out and “Dec. 18” written above. It is possible he wrote the letter in November, put it aside and then re-discovered it two weeks later when he moved into his residence at Marlborough St in Boston. Except for the loss of paper as noted, the letter is in excellent condition and is a nice early reference to the telephone, which had not yet been made commercially viable. The letter is worthy of further research.

Brooks has often been referred to as “the greatest preacher of the 19th Century.” He was a prominent figure during the second half of the 19th Century. Educated at Harvard, he served in major churches in both Philadelphia and Boston. At the end of his life he became a Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Boston. He is perhaps best remembered today as the author of the favorite Christmas Hymn “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” He has a minor connection to Abraham Lincoln as the minister who delivered the sermon when Lincoln’s body reposed at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. [#2398]

$250.00
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Signed album page “B.K. Bruce Miss”. Bruce was a former slave who went on to become the first African-American to serve a full term in the United States Senate. There is a portion of a small newspaper article pasted down to the page. Bruce is not an easy signature to find and most seem to be on documents rather than anything from the Senate. [#4746]

$100.00
 
Complete two volume set of Eminent Americans engravings
Complete two volume set of Eminent Americans
119 historical engravings from the 1860's

A scarce two-volume set of the National Portrait Gallery of Eminent Americans published in 1862 by Johnson, Fry & Company in New York. The engravings are from original paintings by Alonzo Chappel. There are a total of 119 engraving. The images measure 5 ¼ x 7 ¼ and are on full 8 x 10 pages with a facsimile signature of each subject beneath his image. Each individual has a biography narrative of many pages, beautifully typeset in a double column format. Original protective tissues for each engraving are present, resulting in a complete set of engravings in an overall high state of preservation.

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$1,000.00
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Special limited numbered edition of his autobiography

Signed book, limited numbered edition. Darrow’s autobiography The Story of My Life was published in 1932 by Charles Scribner’s Sons. This volume is the limited pre-publication volume signed by Darrow. This is number 254 of only 294 copies. There is wear at the corners but the book is tight and clean throughout. There is a gifting message to a prior owner on the blank front end paper. The signature page is perfect. [#2547]

$1,750.00
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early historian and bookdealer writing to another historian

Samuel Gardner Drake, early American Antiquarian, author and Boston bookseller, one of the founders of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. ALS, two pages on a single 8vo sheet, Boston 1853. Drake replies to fellow historian Henry Onderdonk, Jr. The context suggests Onderdonk was contemplating a humorous work on the ever present but anonymous John Smiths of history. Drake suggests he could fill several volumes just on tracking half the real names “Smith” used. He then relates an amusing first-hand account of “John Smith” checking into a crowded hotel Drake stayed at in Philadelphia in 1834. The next morning John was gone along with a watch, money and coat of other guests. This is an amusing piece of cordial banter between two early noted historians commiserating over the difficulty of sorting identities when people share a common name. [#4903]

$75.00
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Business Leader, backer of Transatlantic Cable (1819-1892)

Autograph letter signed, 1 page, 8vo, New York, March 30, 1872. Field writes to Edwards Pierrepont, accepting a dinner invitation which he had not responded to because he had to check on his wife’s schedule. Pierrepont was a judge who in 1875 was tapped to become Ulysses S. Grant’s Attorney General.

The letter is strong, black ink with the typically exaggerated first “C” in Field’s signature. Typical folds do not detract from the condition nor the attractive appearance of this piece. [#2945]

Field was a leading business man after the Civil War. He built up a fortune and then used a good portion of it to connect the world with a trans-atlantic telegraph line. After much expense and disappointment an initial, working cable was laid in 1858. When that failed just a few weeks after the first message, Field went to work creating a second line.

$225.00
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Temperance leader arranges a lecture

ALS, one page, Worcester, Massachusetts May 1868. The Temperance leader and lecture circuit favorite arranges a possible appearance. There is some toning over most of the page and some mounting tape on the back page visible on the left side. [#4160]

$50.00
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Politician turned American Federal of Labor leader

William Green, longtime president of the American Federation of Labor. An early ALS as Ohio State Senator dated May 31, 1912. Although Green had a brief stint in politics his real opportunity to lead and drive change was through the labor movement. In many ways he helped modernize the union movement to be less confrontational and more successful in improve workers standards of living and job benefits. Green informs a supporter that he has been selected by Green to be a delegate to the state senatorial convention. Most of Green’s autographs are from this later period as a union leader. His earlier letters as a politician are less common. [#3512]

$75.00
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D. W. Griffith, pioneering filmmaker, clip from a letter with Sincerely yours in type and a large signature below. [#4891]

$250.00
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First Conductor of the Boston Symphony

[#4201]

$125.00
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Poet, abolitionist, feminist

Signed card, 4 1/2 x 2 1/2, "Know your calling, your country, and your sex. Julia Ward Howe July 1889". Excellent condition . [#3654]

$350.00
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Theologian and father of the author Henry James

Two page ALS, May 13, 1886, to Mr. Morse proposing an article of about 40 pages on radical religions. James wrote many works on religion and comparative religion. The letter is on the front and back of a single sheet of thin paper. There are chips, nicks and the start of small tears along the edges. Henry James Sr. was the father of the author Henry James Jr., psychologist William James and the diarist/author Alice James.[#4086]

$100.00
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The start of the Supreme Court’s landmark Telegraph Case
Morse protects his patent for the telegraph

Samuel F. B. Morse, autograph letter signed January 18, 1851, one full page to Rev. R. H. Seely concerning his patent dispute with Alexander Bain over the telegraph and electromagnetics. Scottish inventor Alexander Bain had developed an early form of a fax machine which, using electrical impulses, was able to copy images and then transmit them over wire. This was an invention that used some basic transmission principles from the telegraph and enhanced them by copying images rather than Samuel Morse’s dot-dash method to convey messages. Henry O’Reilly took Bain’s invention to create a competing model to Morse’s telegraph.

Morse writes to Rev. Raymond H. Seely, a prominent Congregational minister in Massachusetts. Morse expresses his frustration over the challenge to his patent. In part: “I am compelled to have my mind wholly absorbed in the self defence in the interminable litigation that has been forced upon me, from having in a sad hour for my own peace, given way to the delusion that a Patent was a protection and guarantee of justice. ... Bain’s machine infringes in several points upon mine, and it is for this infringement that a motion for injunction will be heard in April at Phil.” At a much later celebration with Morse in Paris Seely recalled being in the room with Morse when the first telegraph message was sent.

The legal challenge to O’Reilly mentioned here ended over two years later in the Supreme Court’s landmark patent case O’Reilly v. Morse, more commonly known as The Telegraph Case. The Supreme Court upheld Morse’s claim of inventing the telegraph but denied his claim of a patent on a scientific concept or idea, in this case the properties of electrical impulses.

There are several mailing folds and some wrinkling resulting from an earlier mounting along the left edge but the writing and signature is uniformly dark and strong.

$7,500.00
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leading abolitionist

Abolitionist; small slip of paper "Yours Truly Wendell Phillips Sept 24th" [#1702]

$50.00
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leading historian of the first half of the 19th Century. Prescott writes a single page ALS with address panel about a shipment of marbles. His work focused on Spanish history but his approach to research and writing influenced the writing of history for generations. [#4669]

$125.00
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Pre-dating Lincoln's call for a November National Day of Prayer
1858 November Thanksgiving

Massachusetts Broadside proclaiming a Day of Thanksgiving. The Proclamation issued by Governor Nathaniel Banks declares Thursday November 25, 1858 as a day of Public Thanksgiving and Praise. The Broadside sheet measures 22 ½ x 18 ½. There are some fold separations which can be easily repaired and reinforced, otherwise the document is fresh and white. These broadsides make wonderful display pieces for any home or office.

$175.00
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Booker T. Washington, author, educator and civil rights leader ALS on Boston hotel stationary 1/22/1893 explaining he will not be able to meet because of a prior engagement. Two minor fold tears have been professionally repaired on the back. [#4877]

$350.00