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Drake, Samuel Gardner
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]