Literature, Music and the Arts

Listings shown are sorted alphabetically.

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The Poet-President writes a poem on autograph collecting

- autograph manuscript signed, Washington April 2, 1844. In a very shaky hand Adams fills the title page of an autograph book with two stanzas of poetry on autograph collecting.

Fair volume! thou in spotless white
Hast come a stranger to my hand
Upon thy title page to write
As if with Prospero's magic wand.
Thy pure unsullied pages yet
Are emblems of the infant mind
But maxim sage, and sportive wit
The future reader here shall find

And Love and Friendship, each in turn
This cheerful tribute here shall bring
And here Religion's lamp shall burn
And here the minstrel's voices shall sing.
And when with Sentiment and Song
These pages shall hereafter glow
On him to whom they shall belong
May Fortune's choicest blessing flow

John Quincy Adams
Washington 2 April 1844

A more modern translation might read:

A very nice book! with nothing in it
comes to me from an autograph collector
With a request to write the first entry
As if anything I write would make magic

The blank pages
are like a newborn's empty mind
But in time it will be filled
with wise advice and amusing inscriptions

Each written by people who cared
and were pleased to be asked
And you will read the moral advice
And the little rhymes

And when time passes you will appreciate
all the more what was given to you and
May you be all the better and wiser for having
collected these memories.

The 7 1/2 x 8 3/4 page is lightly lined but never folded. Given the larger than normal page size for albums of the day as well as the lengthier than usual dedication it is likely this was part of an album collected by a child of someone fairly prominent in Washington. Unfortunately there is no dedication or ownership mark so we will never know who circulated the album or what other gems were in it. This is a particularly nice example given its unusual length and a poem to the growing fad of collecting autographs in albums.

Adams was a published poet. His full poems are very rare. The best that advanced collectors can realistically expect to hold are brief sentiments sent to admirers later in his life. Even those have virtually disappeared from the market as interest in John Quincy Adams grows among collectors. This is an especially nice example for serious autograph collectors on the autograph fad. [#3640]

$5,500.00
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Marian Anderson -- Singer, Civil Rights icon. SP inscribed “To __ Yours truly Marian Anderson”. The early 8 x 10 b & w glossy photo is a striking image with a noticeable crease in the lower right corner. Undated but probably signed in the 1930’s or early ‘40’s.

$250.00
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Onward Christian Soldiers!

Anglican Priest and hymnwriter. A signed quotation from his most famous work. He pens the first half of each of the first two verses. “Onward Christian Soldiers-Marching as to War, With the Cross of Jesus-going on before. Like a mighty army-moves the Church of God-Brothers we are treading – where the Saints have trod.” He signs the eight neatly written lines S. Baring-Gould and adds a short dedication beneath dated Feb 21, 1914. There is some ink blotting on “trod” but still an attractive and displayable quotation from one of the best known English hymns, written almost 50 years earlier than this presentation. [#5024]

$1,500.00
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The author and poet, most famous for her poem America the Beautiful, requests a copy of Richard Hakluyt's translation of Ferdinando de Soto's "Virginia Richly Valued…" The signed document, dated "Sept 8" no year, is a library request slip and signed in full: "Katherine Lee Bates". The 8 x 3.5 slip is mounted to a still card stock of the same size. [#4751]

$200.00
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Classic story of autograph collecting

Edward Bok – limited edition signed of his autobiography, a classic on early autograph collecting. This is #108 of a limited edition of 1,250 copies, 1922. This is a very good copy with some pages uncut and tight binding. The paper label is lifting at one corner.

$150.00
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On the death of Sara D. Roosevelt's sister (FDR's Aunt)

British novelist and short story writer. Two page letter signed August 16, 1940 to Sara D. Roosevelt, mother of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, expressing her sympathy on the loss of Sara’s sister Deborah Delano Forbes. Nice content about referencing the fall of France and a Bottome’s husband being wounded in WWI. Mrs. Roosevelt has written “acknowledged” in the upper left.Interesting piece for the FDR specialist. [#4673]

$75.00
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[Broadway] 30 Tony Award Winners on a 17 x 20 white foamboard with the silver cover of the Playbill magazine "Twenty five years of Tony Awards" in the center. The stars have added their over-sized signatures on the board.

Signers include Tom Bosley, Yul Brynner, John Raitt, Lauren Bacall, Ray Walston, Stanley Holloway, Robert Preston, Leslie Uggams, Zero Mostel, Jill Haworth, Angela Lansbury, Dick Cavett, Eddie Adams, William Daniels, Anthony Quayle, Carol Channing, Nanette Fabray, Ruby Keeler, Richard Kiley, Virginia Vestoff, Sam Levine, David Wayne, Florence Henderson, Alfred Drake, Vivian Blaine, Patricia Neway, Anthony Quinn, Gwen Verdon, Paul Lynde and Robert Morse. [#3801]

$500.00
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Louis Bromfield – American author, signed check, filled in by another person, for $125 on January 3, 1947. [#4995]

$75.00
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William Cullen Bryant signed slip also dated in the poet’s hand “October 17th 1873”. The heavy paper stock measures approximately 4.25 x 2.25. There is some soiling but a nicely centered example that would frame well with an engraving. [#4200]

$75.00
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Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winning author

Letter signed on her personal stationary Perkasie, Pennsylvania April 5, 1958. Buck writes to Emanuel Friedman about a business proposal or request for an engagement and lets him know her business agent will be in touch with him. The letter is boldly signed “Pearl S. Buck” and is in excellent condition. [#1046]

$125.00
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British author, autograph letter signed with initials. Two pages on a folded four page 8vo sheet, not date. There is a small tear from the wax seal on the third and four page which effects nothing, otherwise in fine condition with a couple of prior owner's pencil notations in blank spaces #4083

$250.00
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British born American author

Signed letter, 1 page, 4to cut, May 23, 1951. Caldwell responds to a speaking invitation that has since passed. She leaves open the possibility of participating next year. She signs in full “Taylor Caldwell”. The lower 1/3 of the letter has been cut and there is a thin strip of mounting tape on the lower border. [#2688]

$100.00
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James Fenimore Cooper –author, signed check. Cooper makes out a check on July 5, 1832 of his account at the Ostego County Bank in Cooperstown. The 2” x 5.5” check is mounted onto a stiff card of the same size. [#5071]

$200.00
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Cruikshank, George - British caricaturist and book illustrator for authors including Charles Dickens. An interesting pair of unsigned draft letters on the front and back of a single 8vo sheet. There are three drawings- one overwritten by his letter. Both deal with a movement to ship abandoned or orphaned children to Canada and other countries as a way to deal with London’s poverty and crime in the late 1860’s. Cruikshank took up the cause of fighting this movement, pricking public conscience by labelling the children as London’s “Gutter Children”. One draft is to the Editor of the London Times. Included is a copy of another draft of the same letter, also with some drawings held by Dartmouth College. [$5025]

$500.00
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Cecil B. DeMille Hollywood producer and director, signed personal check 6/16/52 with a reproduction of a Karsch portrait. Professionally framed.

$300.00
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Signed cover marked private addressed in Dickens’ hand and signed by him in the lower left in blue ink. The stamp was cut away and the front panel of the envelope then pasted onto another stamped cover in an effort to simulate the original appearance. There is some soiling but still nice clear contrast with the blue ink.

$750.00
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Union General and Historian

Samuel Adams Drake Union General and historian. ALS, 2 pages Kennebunkport, Maine 11/13/05. Drake tries to answer a source question about the location of a proposed Susquehanna Fort from one of his earlier histories. He explains he was still in his summer home “convalescing from a protracted illness.” He died three weeks later. Excellent condition with the envelope. [#4795]

$50.00
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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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American author, single page ALS, Oct 9, 1929 on his personal stationary to Leah Ruth, arranging a meeting. There is a small pencil notation in one corner, minor paper clip mark in the other but generally a fine example. [#4792]

$350.00
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British Poet

John Drinkwater British poet and playwright. One page ALS, 7/16/14 sending a poem or essay for the short-lived literary magazine New Numbers. He provides travel plans for forwarding proofs of the magazine. Two file holes on one side touch two words of a postscript written vertically in the margin. [#4789]

$125.00
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Scottish born German pianist and composer. Signed card inscribed and dated March 19, 1892. [#4626]

$50.00
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Russian violinist

Russian violinist, signed program on photo cover. The eight page program is for a December 23, 1919 recital at City Hall in Bangor, Maine. Some soiling and scuffing on the cover, away from the autograph and a flattened center vertical fold. [#4528]

$80.00
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American writer, one page ALS frin Chicago, Nov 26, 1888. In his typically tiny neat handwriting, Field acts on behalf of the Chicago Daily News asking a presumed critic to offer an opinion on a performance. The 4to sheet of toned paper is in very good condition with a single mailing fold running through a couple letters of his first name. [#4793]

$300.00
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1st Woman to win a Pulitzer for Drama

Zona Gale, author 2 ˝ page ALS Dec. 13, 1934 on a folded four page sheet of stationary from The Gotham hotel in New York. A brief thank you note for sending some material and mentions she is on her way home to Portage Wisconsin. Gale was a playwright and the first woman to win a Pulitzer for Drama. [#4889]

$75.00
 
Early conductor of hte Boston Symphony
Gericke, Wilhelm

Austrian composer and early conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Untranslated 2 page letter in German, no date. [#5088]

$75.00
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note and drawing to a noted astronomer

Ira Gershwin handwritten note with small caricature of a conductor, inscribed to Peter van de Kamp. Van de Kamp was a noted, although ultimately controversial astronomer and also a musician who conducted the Swarthmore College Orchestra. [#4350]

$250.00
 
Gibson, Charles Dana

Artist, best known for his "Gibson Girls" illustrations. ALS, four pages front and back of two sheets regarding a visit to Bristol, RI and wanting to buy property there. "C.D. Gibson"

$200.00
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5 time Oscar Winner
Composer, pianist

Johnny Green, composer and pianist. Signed letter, September 13, 1965 to Michael Daily sending two autograph cards, not present, and correcting the recipients information and pointing out that he has four not three Oscars. Green won Oscars for Best Score of a Musical for Easter Parade in 1948, An American in Paris in 1951, West Side Story in his final one, after this letter was written for Oliver in 1968. He also won and in Oscar in 1953 as Producer for The Merry Wives of Windsor. He was nominated an additional nine times for other works between 1947and 1969. [#4269]

$90.00
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Wilfred Grenfell, medical missionary and author noted for his work in Labrador. Two items: signed booklet Labrodor and North Newfoundland published by the international Grenfell Society and signed on the cover. Also a few pages removed from his book A Labrador Doctor including a blank flyleaf page signed and dated from Labrador April 1921. [#4882]

$50.00SOLD
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Author best known for his prolific works of fiction about the Old West. Signed check filled in and made out to “myself” for $500 on Nov. 16, 1928. He has both signed the front and endorsed it with a full signature on the back. [#4990]

$150.00
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Author best known for his prolific works of fiction about the Old West. Signed check filled in and made out to “myself” for $500 on Nov. 16, 1928. He has both signed the front and endorsed it with a full signature on the back. [#4990]

$150.00
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– poet and author, 1 page ALS, Dec. 19, 1892 to Edward Clement, Editor of the Boston Evening Transcript, correcting statements from another contributor or reporter "on an interesting literary topic with which I happen to be more familiar than she is." Unfortunately the corrections are not present but this wonderful one page example of her handwriting is in excellent condition and easily displayable.

Guiney's was a well-recognized author of the late 19th century whose work was more critically acclaimed than commercially successful. She wrote several books and volumes of poetry as well as a biography of Henri de la Rochejaquelein, the French general who helped lead the rebellion against the French Republic. [#3496]

$175.00
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British artist

Francis Seymour Haden, English artist, author on art, brother –in-law of James Whistler. Three page ALS on a folded sheet, January 1881 May Fair, Westminster. Haden writes to Lady Elizabeth Eastlake, also an author and art historian, asking about some sketches published in her book “Letters From The Baltic.” [#4900]

$90.00
 
Hale, Edward Everett

Edward Everett Hale, author and influential clergyman, brief ALS on personal stationary Oct. 14,1905 acknowledging a note but explaining he needs to defere an answer—probably for a speaking engagement. [#4880]

$125.00
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Author of Mary Had A Little Lamb and advocate for Thanksgiving Day

Sarah Josepha Hale author, poet and influential editor. One page ALS Febry, 3, 1848(?), to one of her publishers Carey & Hart suggesting that it might be better if they sent her poems to editors in her city than other cities. Hale wrote “Mary Had A Little Lamb” and is credited with pushing Abraham Lincoln to declare a national day of Prayer and Thanksgiving in 1863.

$250.00
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First Conductor of the Boston Symphony

[#4201]

$125.00
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American playwright best known for Porgy, later adapted to Porgy and Bess. Check for $5 on Dec. 24, 1948 filled in and signed by Heyward. [#4994]

$250.00
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Boston physician and poet (father of the Supreme Court Justice).

Oliver Wendell Holmes - poet, two page ALS, front and back of 8vo sheet. Holmes offers thanks for “…a little memento in the familiar hand-writing of my father. I cherish all such memorials and am gratified to add this to my collection of them. Abiel Holmes was a prominent colonial clergyman and early historian. Abiel of course had a more famous son and grandson. The letter is in excellent condition but the penmanship is quite fine and lighltly penned. [#4786]

$300.00
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Elbert Hubbard philosopher, author, founder of the Roycrofts. LS on Roycroft Shop stationary 10/3/1898 with the envelope to Miss Jordan. He tells her “doubtless you have come to the realization …that there is not much money in being a poet... although there doubtless is a lot of fun.” Hubbard founded a community for artists and craftsmen supporting itself in part through production of high-end crafts, woodworking and books. Hubbard’s most famous work was A Message to Garcia. The type is a bit weak from a dry ribbon but the signature is black and strong.

$175.00
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British Author and Member of Parliament, undated one page ALS of introduction of two young men. The letter is in black border House of Commons mourning stationary. Hughes wrote Tom Brown’s School Days and Tom brown at Oxford. There is one slight fold tear beginning at the margin in one spot and mounting remnants on the back. [#4544]

$125.00
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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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Jack London author of works such as "The Call of the Wild" and "White Fang". Signed slip of paper "Jack London, Sura, Fiji, June 5, 1908”. The slip measures approximately 5 x 3 and is in excellent condition. London visited the Fiji Islands, Samoa, and the Solomon Islands in 1908. He produced several works based on some of the people and experiences he had on this trip. This is a nice, uncommon example from that trip. [#4576]

$275.00
 
Longfellow, Henry W.
From the Charles Hamilton company

- ALS, one page Cambridge Feb 21, 1878 declining an invitation because he has so many engagements. It is mounted with a large oval photograph and framed from Charles Hamilton Autographs with Hamilton's "certificate of authenticity" and red wax seal on the back. Hamilton was one of the leading autograph experts in the mid to late 20th Century. This is a nice representation of a framed piece from his business.

$450.00
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First Edition of The Song of Hiawatha with a signature
Poet

Uncommon first edition with a signed slip pasted in. This 1855 first edition of The Song of Hiawatha was printed by Ticknor & Co. and includes the 12 page addendum of advertisements in the back for other Ticknor publications. It is possible this is a second or later printing of the first edition as some errors have been corrected. Bibliophiles are invited to educate me on the keys to spotting the distinctions between the several printings. On the inside cover is a small bookseller’s stamp “Sold by E.H. Bender/ bookseller/manufacturer/75 State St. Albany/Books Bound to Order” On the blank page opposite the title page has been glued a separate slip of paper 4/14/ x 2 ˝ signed “Yours Truly/ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow” There is some toning or glue show-through on the outer edges, slightly touching the “w” of Longfellow. The slip of paper has some design on the back which shows through. The signature is strong and clear. The book is in very good condition. Some foxing but the binding is tight. Rubbing to the bottom spine and a beginning split on the back spine. [#1775]

$500.00
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Lowell, James Russell poet and author of The Bigelow papers. Autograph quotation signed dated and signed. Lowell pens the last stanza from his poem Fancy’s Casuistry

These obstinate self questionings spare,
Leave what to do & what to dare
To the inspiring moment's care,
Nor ask for payment
Of fame or gold, but just to wear
Unspotted raiment.

J. R. Lowell
Elmwood
27th Oct, 1854

Published accounts of the poem have a different first line: “Such questionings are idle air:” so Lowell may have actually forgotten part of his own work or substituted a line with something he thought better fit a partial quotation from a longer work.

along wit an original cabinet photo.

$250.00
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Poet and playwright

Percy MacKaye poet and playwright, ANS 1923 on his personal stationary, which appears trimmed, from Hill-Top in Cornish NH thanking someone for a book. [#4884]

$100.00
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Original poem to FDR's mother on her 80th Birthday

Composer and musician. An original poem honoring Sara D. Roosevelt’s (FDR’s mother) 80th birthday with an inscribed dedication by Madison to Mrs. Roosevelt, along with a signed cover letter from Madison to Mrs. Roosevelt. Madison was a prolific songwriter in the first half of the 20th Century. Although somewhat overlooked today he had a rather unusual body of work putting poems written by presidents and their family to music. Interesting and different for the FDR collector. [#4537]

$125.00
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Henry Miller— American writer, payroll check to Albert Wiggins for $30, February 22, 1978 personally signed by Miller. His works included Tropic of Cancer which was part of the 1960’s Surpeme Court cases on obscenity and literary freedom of speech. [#4988]

$75.00
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Poet and author (1835-1908) ALS April (n.y.) on the front and back of a small folded sheet sending a small donation to a charity. [#4657]

$100.00
 
Plunkett, Edward (Lord Dunsany),
IRish writer and chess expert

Irish writer and dramatist, chess expert. Signed letter, 3 pages, July 10, 1922 on Dunstall Priory about a chess problem. Signed “Yours very truly Dunsany”. It is in excellent condition. [#4532]

$75.00
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Author, poet, playwright

Three page ALS April 30,1889 from Castle Hill in Virginia. In response to a request for a signed photograph the then popular author explains that her supply is gone. In another hand is an initialed postscript that she will send the photograph when she gets a new supply but the photographer is a “crank” and apparently not very good at filling orders. There is some toning to the letter with mounting remnants on along the fold of the 2nd and 3rd pages.

Rives was an author and poet whose fame and popularity may have been driven by her personality as much as her writing. Her first marriage, to a descendent of John Jacob Astor ended in divorce and her second marriage was to the artist Prince Pierre Troubetzkoy of Russian nobility.

Rives’ godfather was Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Her father Alfred was a Colonel in the Confederate Army and the Chief of Engineers to Lee. She eventually inherited and lived in Castle Hill, a plantation near Monticello which is now listed on the US National Register of Historic Places.

[#4174]

$75.00
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Author of The Blind Men adn The Elephant
Poet

One page letter, Burlinton VT, 1851. The poet and author of The Blind Men and The Elephant discusses the proper role of a poetry reading in an evening speaking program. Some toning and spots in a few places with some mounting remnants in the corners. [#4175]

$75.00
 
FDR speechwriter and screenwriter
Sherwood, Robert

Playwright, screenwriter, FDR speechwriter. Signed letter, Dec. 1947, mentioning his firend the poet Arthur Guiterman. #4145

$75.00
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Two page letter on blind embossed stationary of Lyceum Theatre “25 February1893” thanking someone for sending a play. The letter is handwritten by Bram Stocker, author of Dracula, as the secretary for the then more famous actor Henry Irving who has signed the letter. The fame of both reversed over time and letters like this are particularly interesting to collectors because of the writing in the letter more than the signature. [#4783]

$350.00
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possibly intended for Dickens
Dickens' friend, pushed for copyright protection in England

British author, friend of Dickens, leader in parliament who helped pass England’s copyright protection. ALS, possibly to Dickens, mentioning the House of Commons. [#4603]

$200.00
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Signed letter, October 11, 1923 on Seawood, Kennebunkport, Maine stationary responding to a request for his autograph. Signed in full "Booth Tarkington". There is a small rust mark from an old paper clip at the top of the letter and some minor brushing of the ink to a letter in his signature, otherwise a fine example.[#4081]

$150.00
 
Thackeray, William Makepeace -

Brief ALS, April 23 [ny] explaining that "it is not my wish at present to repeat my lectures on The Georges". These lectures on the British Monarchs became a printed work in 1852 The Four Georges. The letter is written in his typical fine, small hand and is in excellent condition.

$275.00
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Noted British sculptor,

Autograph letter signed, May 8, 1839, Wilton Place in London. He declines an invitation to the annual Artists’ Benevolent Fund dinner due to another engagement, signing the letter “Rich Westmacott”. This is a very nice one page example with a light vertical fold. His works are still very much a part of London’s landscape with examples in Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace Gardens and in the British Museum.

$150.00
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American playwright, signed check April 16, 1947 to the Plymouth Theatre Box Office for a pair of opening seat tickets to James Parish’s play “Message For Margaret”. This is a nice association and piece of Broadway history with one of the most famous playwrights buying tickets to another writer’s play, perhaps Parish’s most successful work. Williams’ own play A Streetcar named Desire hit Broadway later that year. [#4896]

$300.00