University Archives is excited to announce the launch of its late summer sale, Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books, which will be held online on August 17, 2022. At 537 lots, this sale is our largest ever, trumping the previous company record-holder, our 534-lot January 6, 2022 auction. The upcoming sale boasts a spectacular variety of items representing the best of U.S. Presidential, Early American, and Civil War/Western collecting categories. As always, we also have unique and superb offerings in Music, Entertainment, Sports, Space, Art, Literature, and more.
Washington, Lincoln, Wilson, FDR, JFK, and Obama are just a few of the presidents represented in the August sale. Lot 100, an engraving of “The First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation Before the Cabinet,” after Francis Bicknell Carpenter’s original oil on canvas, is displayed above the assembled signatures of all eight figures depicted: Abraham Lincoln, William H. Seward, Edwin M. Stanton, Gideon Welles, Salmon P. Chase, Caleb B. Smith, Edward Bates, and Montgomery Blair. A truly handsome piece important to the history of Civil Rights in America, accompanied by PSA/DNA Letters of Authenticity, and already assembled!
Lot 81 is a possibly unique combination of items, both slabbed by Beckett Authentication Services, which relate to John F. Kennedy’s political aspirations in the late 1950s. Kennedy signed a personal check reimbursing travel expenses and enclosed it along with its original typed letter signed in the spring of 1956. Kennedy, then a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, was wooing fellow senators in his bid to win the upcoming Democratic Vice-Presidential nomination; Kennedy lost to Estes Kefauver, but the attempt garnered him significant national attention.
George Washington boldly signed a document appointing an Irish immigrant named Thomas Lowry as the first United States Marshal of New Jersey, following the passage of the 1789 law creating the law enforcement agency, on January 28, 1794. Lowry had been a Continental Congressional delegate and an officer in the New Jersey militia during the Revolutionary War, and through him, the document is even related to Washington’s celebrated nighttime crossing of the Delaware.
The history of American settlement, from the “Mayflower” through the Early Federal period, is well-represented. Benjamin Franklin engrossed and signed a receipt in 1756 for his “Pennsylvania Gazette,” the Philadelphia newspaper he had established in the late 1720s. Franklin collaborated with a Scottish printer named David Hall for eighteen years, during which the “Pennsylvania Gazette” became politically aligned with the Patriot cause.
Lot 259 is a promissory note inscribed with over 25 words and signed by Benedict Arnold in 1771, four years before the Revolutionary War and nine years before his defection to the British. The receipt was for building supplies, boards and “parcell staves,” and was probably penned in New Haven, Connecticut, where Arnold had lived since the early 1760s as a prosperous merchant.
Daniel Boone signed an enormous pay receipt sometime during his service as a delegate of the Virginia General Assembly, ca. 1781-1791. The manuscript document highlights one of Boone’s often overlooked roles as legislator. In 1781, during Boone’s first term as delegate representing Fayette County, now in modern day Kentucky but then part of Virginia, Boone was kidnapped by British cavalrymen seeking Virginia Governor Thomas Jefferson and others in Charlottesville, where the Assembly had fled in advance of British troops.
Autograph letters signed, historical documents, cartes de visites, prints, and relics related to some of the biggest names in Civil War leadership and Western expansion will be offered at our August sale. Lot 369 has an interesting connection to the 1876 Battle of Little Bighorn, in that both its author, George A. Custer, and its recipient, George W. Yates, were both 7th Cavalry officers killed there. Custer’s lengthy autograph letter signed was written at Fort Lincoln, Dakota Territory on June 11, 1871. In it, Custer advised Yates to acquire good cavalry mounts: well-bred Kentucky horses at reasonable prices. The letter is ex-Forrest Fenn, Butterfields Auctions, and the Estate of George W. Yates.
Jefferson Davis, exiled in Canada in April 1868, wrote an autograph letter signed to fellow Confederate John Taylor Wood about his ongoing federal prosecution case (not to be resolved until Grant’s Christmas Day amnesty of that year), and about the economic distress of black freedmen that he had witnessed during a recent trip to the Deep South. Davis wrote in part: “The negroes have to a great extent become vagrant and the common complaint was that neither crop or stock could be protected from their thieving. The poor creatures are however much to be pitied for their destitution and we who knew their utter inability to govern themselves may well question whether they or those who forced them into their present condition are most responsible for the crimes they commit…”
Lot 381 is a 2pp autograph letter signed by Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson addressed to a correspondent named Truheart that we speculate attended the 1859 execution of failed insurrectionist John Brown in addition to Jackson, who wrote about the hanging to his wife. The letter concerning a lecture on hypnotism was written in 1852 when Jackson was teaching natural philosophy and artillery tactics at the Virginia Military Institute, seven years before the Harpers Ferry uprising.
Other premier auction items include a Babe Ruth signed first edition copy of “The Babe Ruth Story,” a pair of beautifully framed Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio signed checks, and a Bob Dylan signed LP of “Blonde on Blonde” accompanied by a Jeff Rosen Certificate of Authenticity. These are just a few of the remarkable and significant items that will cross the auction block at our August sale. We hope you can join us!