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1770 - Letter to the son of a Massachusetts fishing fleet owner from an important Spanish merchant family who would soon funnel the first international financial and military aid to the Continental Congress

1770 – Letter to the son of a Massachusetts fishing fleet owner from an important Spanish merchant family who would soon funnel the first international financial and military aid to the Continental Congress

Joseph Gardoqui and Sons (Jose de Gardoqui e Hijos) This stampless folded letter with one page of text measures 15" x 9" unfolded. It was sent from Joseph Gardoqui and Sons (Jose de Gardoqui e Hijos) to Samuel White in Marblehead, Massachusetts. It is datelined "Bilbao 2d July 1770" and sent by "p favor of Capt. Cabott". The cover bears no other postal markings, so it was likely that Cabott docked his ship in Marblehead and no additional inland postage was required. In nice shape. A transcript will be provided. The letter reads in part: "We intend to send the present down, which tho' in haste serves to cover account sales of your 460 quints [460,000 pounds} fish of Potte desiring you wou'd order to have it examin'd & it now pays to our debits . . . doubting not but will be quite pleasing Last night came in safe Capt. Rapall whose cargoe of about 2/3 of Herrings is the only fish on hand which pray communicate to your hond Father. . . Your true Fds & hble servts. Joseph Gardoqui & Sons" . The Whites were Marblehead merchants who managed a significant cod fishing and mercantile fleet, which was manned, in part by enslaved crewmembers. (For more information, see Malloy's "Slavery in Colonial Massachusetts" online and the "Samuel White Papers, 1767-1775" at the Phillips Library.) One of Jose Gardoui's eight children, Diego María de Gardoqui y Arriquíbar, was an prominent Spanish politician and diplomat as well as, perhaps, the most important member of his family's business. He had been schooled in England and was fluent in English, so it is quite likely that he penned this letter to White. Diego, an unsung hero of the American Revolution, was close to King Carlos III and served as Spain's first ambassador to the Continental Congress due, in part, to his business ties formed while importing salt cod from Boston, Salem, and Marblehead. Gardoqui was acquainted with many Founding Fathers including John Jay, Benjamin Franklin, and George Washington with whom he had a close friendship. He organized the first shipment of muskets, pistols, and gunpowder to the American revolutionaries and continued to funnel military supplies throughout the war. Gardoqui was also instrumental in organizing a Spanish expedition of 11,000 men sent to Havana to fight with Governor Bernardo de Gálvez against the British in the Gulf of Mexico, Florida and Louisiana. In 1780 he met with John Jay in Madrid where he tendered 265,000 Spanish silver dollars to support the cause. Following the war, Gardoqui became Spain's first ambassador to the United States, and at the 1789 Inauguration parade, he walked in the place of honor immediately behind George Washington. (For more information, see Acosta's "Diego María de Gardoqui y Arriquíbar (1735-1789)" at George Washington's Mount Vernon online.) Letters from Gardoqui and Sons are uncommon outside of institutions, and this one testifying to its ties with the Marblehead fishing trade is of special interest. At the time of listing, nothing similar is for sale in the trade. The Rare Book Hub shows no similar items having appeared at auction, and OCLC identifies a handful of institutions that hold several Gardoqui letters between them. .
  • $750
1828 - Letter from Joseph Rolette at Prairie du Chien

1828 – Letter from Joseph Rolette at Prairie du Chien, Michigan Territory to Pierre Chouteau in St. Louis, the two most important agents of John Jacob Astor’s American Fur Trading Company, reporting that “the Indians are peaceful altho’ intrusions” have been made into ” their lands in search of mineral oar.”

Joseph Roletto to Pierre Chouteau This four-page stampless letter has one page of text and measures 16" x 10" unfolded. It is datelined "Prairie du Chien 20th Jany 1828" and bears a very fine example of a scarce Michigan Territory, manuscript postmark (see ASCC Vol 1 p 177) with an accompanying "25" manuscript rate mark. It was sent by Joseph Roletto to "Pierre Chouteau Esqr / Agent American Fur Co/St Louis/Missouri". Splits along the letter's folds have well-done transparent repairs and reinforcement with archival tape. Part of the letter is missing including some text, however, its content remains discernable. Docketing, presumably in Chouteau's hand reads, "Joseph Roletto/Prairie Du Chien, Jany. 20. 1828/Recd Feby 9/Answd Feby. 20. Feby 1828". The letter reads in part: "Having borrowed twenty barrels of super fine flour to be returned early [next] Spring, I will thank you to . . . charge to upper M[ississippi] outfit 1827. . . The Indians are peaceable altho' intrusions direcly [made into] their lands in search of mineral oar." . In the mid-1820s, lead was discovered in the Michigan Territory (today, southwestern Wisconsin) and white miners began to flock into Ho-Chunk territory. Although relations between the groups remained mostly peaceful, shortly before this letter was written, Redbird, a Ho-Chunk leader and three companions massacred two settlers and scalped a twelve-month old infant while in a drunken rage fueled by a mistaken belief that two tribal members had been hung for an earlier murder. Later, he and 40 warriors attacked a keelboat killing some of its crew. In response, 580 soldiers under the command of General Henry Atkinson were sent up the Mississippi River to Prairie du Chien from Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis. Other Ho-Chunk leaders, having no desire for war, met with Atkinson and subsequently forced Redbird and his three companions to surrender. Redbird was imprisoned, his companions were pardoned, and a peace treaty was signed. The Ho-Chunk peacefully resisted later attempted relocations; rather than fight, the bands simply returned to their homeland following each relocation until the government finally gave up and allowed those who wanted to remain in Wisconsin to do so. (For more information see, Banta's "A History of Jefferson Barracks, 1826-1860," King's "Lead, Land, and Cranberries: The Ho-Chunk Experience in the 19th Century," and the Wisconsin Historical Society's "Red Bird, Ho-Chunk chief, 1788 - 1828" all available online.") An exceptionally scarce early letter between two giants of the fur trade made more significant by its report that the Ho-Chunk uprising had subsided. At the time of listing, nothing similar is for sale in the trade. Rare Book Hub reports another Rolette-Chouteau letter sold at a Spink Shreves auction in 2010. No letters are reported by OCLC, but it is likely some are present in collections of American Fur Company papers located at several institutions. Unfortunately, missing a small section of text, so priced accordingly. .
  • $650
1674 [1846] - Official extract

1674 [1846] – Official extract, taken in 1846, from Colonial Council Minutes of New York, that detail the surrender of New York to the Dutch in 1673 as well as trial of the British captain who surrendered the province without ever firing a shot in its defense

This official six-page extract from the Colonial Council Minutes of New York measures 8" x 13" and bound within a blank leaf tied with a pink ribbon. This single 1846 document combines the official 1674 record of Captain John Burroughs surrender of the colony to the Netherlands in 1673 as well as his subsequent trial and sentencing. It is in nice shape. In 1609, under the flag of the Dutch East India Company, Henry Hudson sailed up the river that now bears his name searching for a northwest passage to Asia. Along the way men from his ship, the Halve Maen (Half Moon), exploring the region. Five years later, the Netherlands established Fort van Nassouwen, a factoring (i.e.,combination fort and trading post) near present-day Albany. In 1624, it established a second fur-trading settlement on what today is known as Governor's Island in New York Harbor and the following year, purchased the island in1626 from the Lenape band in 1626 where it constructed a citadel, Nieuw Amsterdam. Although the colony grew slowly, by 1650 the population had reached 8,000, however in 1664, during the Second Anglo-Dutch War, English troops appeared in the harbor and Dutch Governor Peter Stuyvesant, who had no force to defend the colony, surrendered it without firing a shot. After which, it was renamed, New York. Although it is commonly believed that ended Dutch rule in New York; not so. Nine years later in 1673, the colony would again trade hands after a Dutch fleet of 26 ships appeared in the harbor and 600 Dutch soldiers landed on shore. At the time the British governor was visiting Connecticut, and the Sheriff of New York, Captain John Manning, promptly surrendered the province to them rather than engage in combat. Almost immediately, Manning realized that he made a grave political error and caught a ship to England where he convinced King Charles II and his brother, the Duke of York, that he had not intentionally committed treason. In the interim, as part of peace negotiations that had very little to do with New York, the Netherlands returned the province to Britain. Upon his return to New York with what amounted to a royal pardon, Manning found its English residents were not as forgiving as the King. This extract provides a full first-hand account of the incident including the exact charges Manning faced, and the punishment imposed upon him. "The court have taken [Captain Manning's] case into serious consideration & examind all papers relating thereunto doth acquit him of ye treacherous part . . . but find him guilty of every particular besides & that the said crimes deserve to be punish with death: But in regard to his being in England since, and seeing his Maty & his Royall highnesse: They do adjudge ye sd John Manning to be . . . brought ought to the public place before ye City Hall, there to have his sword broken over his head & from that time be rendred uncapable of wearing a sword or serving his Maty in any public employ or place of benefit & trust within this government. . ." . (For more information, see Boxer's "Some Second Thoughts on the Third Anglo-Dutch War, 1672-1674" in Transactions of the Royal Historical Society Vol 16 and Rivers' "Orange is the New York" at the This Week in New York City website.) An exceptional document. Nothing similar is for sale in the trade or held by any institution per OCLC. One similar New York Council Extract relating to the establishment of Vermont as a separate colony was sold at a Swann auction in 2015. .
  • $750
1917-1919 - An exceptional nurse's photograph album documenting life in one of the first to arrive and last to leave hospitals supporting the America Expeditionary Force in France during World War I.

1917-1919 – An exceptional nurse’s photograph album documenting life in one of the first to arrive and last to leave hospitals supporting the America Expeditionary Force in France during World War I.

Alberta E. McKeever This half-leather photograph album is 13" x 9" inches. It was compiled by Alberta E. McKeever, a nurse in Base Hospital No. 27 which set up in the Mongazon Seminary at Angers, France. It contains 52 pages that hold over 300 uncaptioned items, including about 265 vernacular photographs ranging in size from 1" x 1¾" to 6¼" x 4½". There also are two large official photographs of transport ships, one 9" x 7" and one 10¼" x 5½", as well as over 25 small souvenir album photos, more than 15 postcards, and one Christmas card. The album also contains one of the Welcome Letters signed in print by King George that was presented to many arriving U.S. soldiers. All of these items have been glued to the album pages. A Foreign Service Certificate from the War Council of the American Red Cross is laid in. Although the pages and contents are in nice shape, the album is well-worn. Its hinges have been partially mended, and the original page 'locks' no longer function. Base Hospital No. 27 was an Army reserve hospital first organized in April, 1916 from the staff of the University of Pittsburgh's Medical School. With the U.S. entry into World War One, the hospital staff mobilized at Pittsburgh on August 18, 1917 and three days later boarded train cars bound for Allentown, where it began five weeks of training. It departed New York on September 27, 1917, on the transport S.S. Lapland for Liverpool, England. It departed England for France on October 16, and arrived at Le Havre, France the next day and arrived at Angers on the 19th. There, it occupied the Mongazon Seminary, a large three-story masonry structure, which was readily converted into a hospital, and began to receive patients on November 9, 1917. After constructing additional wooden wards, its normal capacity increased to 2,800 beds, and the hospital could be expanded to 4,100 beds for emergencies by setting up additional beds under canvas. The hospital closed its doors on January 5, 1919 and sailed for home where it was demobilized at Camp Dix, New Jersey on March 25, 1919. During its time in France over 19,500 patients, almost evenly split between medical and surgical cases, were cared for by Base Hospital No. 27. McKeever's photographs and postcards appear to be arranged chronologically. The first item is a large official photograph of the S.S. Lapland, the ship that transported the hospital to Europe, and it is followed by a series of snapshots of the warships that protected its convoy. Next are postcards and photographs from England, followed by photographs taken at Angers of the female nursing staff, wooden wards, male staff members and officers, presumable physicians. A series of photos show an arriving hospital train and patients in the wards. More photos follow showing the nurses, physicians, enlisted staff and patients at meals, ceremonies, and parties, as well at the Mongazon Seminary campus. has also included photographs of the local community as well as postcards and photos of places she visited, probably while on leave or pass. Several post cards show nurses visiting General Lafayette's tomb and U.S. troops marching through Paris. The album concludes with the relative scarce letter of welcome from King George, a "Mother's Christmas Prayer" card with a color illustration of a Blue Star service flag and holly branch, and the laid-in Foreign Service Certificate. The last photograph in the album is of the U.S. Transport Ship America. This is apparently the ship that carried McKeever back to the United States although the Army Medical Department history of the hospital reports the unit returned on the S.S. Manchuria. . (For more information, see Ford's The Medical Department of the United States Army in the World War, and various online military and genealogical databases.)
  • $1,000
  • $1,000
1855 - An Appointment and Position Description for the Master Machinist with overall responsibility of the operation of the "Machine Shop and Motive Power" for the Norwich & Worcester Rail Road Company

1855 – An Appointment and Position Description for the Master Machinist with overall responsibility of the operation of the “Machine Shop and Motive Power” for the Norwich & Worcester Rail Road Company

G. S. Perkins This 8" x 10" six-page, ribbon-bound document, dated May 1st 1855, from Acting President of the Norwich & Worcestor Rail Road Company G. S. Perkins, appoints "Richard Coulburn" (sic Colburn) as the Master Machinist responsible for company's Machine Shop and Motive Power. It charges Colburn with supervision of the five men assigned to the "Machine and Smith Shops" as well as the railroads "Engine Drivers." He is given the authority to hire employees, designate their duties, and if necessary, "discharge" them for cause. It also makes clear that Coulburn is authorized to act for the company president with regard to all measures regarding the "Locomotive department," and "1st To repair, and keep in repair, all the Locomotive and Tenders of the corporation. . . "2d To do this with the greatest possible economy and pumplitude. "3d To take care of the building and machinery [and] see that the Engine drivers, Firemen, and workers . . . serve the interests of the Corporation to the best of their ability [while being] strictly temperate and cheerfully attentive to their duty and that they do not suffer themselves to waist or misapply and materials, or machines. . ." Perkins was especially interested in the moral fiber of the employees, insisting Colburn take disciplinary action for "All intemperance . . . in any degree of the use of intoxicating liquors, shall be treaded as cause of discharge, also all gambling, at any time, or licentious or sensual habits , or low vulgarity." . In 1837, the Boston, Norwich and New London Railroad company merged with the Worcestor and Norwich Railroad Company to form the Norwich and Worcester Rail Road. At the time of this letter, the primary company facilities, including those mentioned in this letter, were located along Railroad Avenue in downtown Norwich. By 1900 the company had been absorbed into New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad system. Online genealogical records show that before Colburn was hired by the Norwich and Worcester, he worked for the Locks and Canals Company (later the Lowell Machine Shops), one of the first companies to manufacture locomotives in the United States, and around 1840 he was responsible for building one of the first "six-wheel" locomotives which was purchased by the Western Railroad (later the Boston and Albany Railroad, which became part of the New York Central system.) Colburn retired from the Norwich and Worcester in 1882 at the age of 67. He then manufactured croquet mallets until his death in 1901 at the age of 86. A seldom seen position description detailing the duties of a superintendent of locomotive power for a mid-19th century railroad. .
  • $150
1845 - Letter from a prospector describing life in the heart of Wisconsin's lead mining country

1845 – Letter from a prospector describing life in the heart of Wisconsin’s lead mining country

D. Haskell This stampless letter measures 16" x 12½" unfolded. It was written by D. Haskell at New Diggings, Wisconsin Territory on December 5, 1845 and sent to Phineas Whitney in Cumberland Center, Maine. It bears an excellent strike of rare combination handstamp and manuscript postmark that reads "NEW DIGGINS DEC 8th / W.T." (see ASCC Vol 1 p 444) and a manuscript "10" rate mark. There is old pencil docketing that includes "1-2010 Risvold Sale 525.000 555 / 600.00. . ." (The Risvold Sale was an auction conducted 27-29 January 2010 by the Spink Shreves Galleries. This letter was one of three in Lot 1140 that realized $1350 for the value of their philatelic markings alone with no mention of their contents.) The letter is in nice shape with some mended splits along several mailing folds that do not affect the text. European explorers had known of the lead deposits in what today is southwestern Wisconsin since the mid-1600s. However local tribes prevented access to all but a few Frenchmen from whom they had learned of the mineral's value as ammunition. By 1810, they were bartering over 400,000 pounds per year for trading post manufactured goods. In 1816, a St. Louisan named John Shaw passed himself off as a French and shipped twenty tons of lead to St. louis; the boom was on and prospectors surged up the Mississippi, overwhelming the local tribes who abandoned the area. The town of New Diggings sprang up in the heart of the mining district, and Haskell's letter describes what life was like in the area. Despite the hardships, the boom continued, and by the time of this letter, the region's population exceeded 10,000 and over 12 million pounds of lead was shipped annually by ox-train to and riverboat to St. Louis and New Orleans. "I will write a few lines letting you no that am well . . . although it has ben verry Sickley in the western country . . . thare has ben several deaths but they are mostley strangers come from down the river they are a flocking in to this cuntry lik sheep I had a letter from Brother Moses son a short time ago he said thar was lots of them that had the wisconsin fever. . . I was a tending windlass [probably to hoist ore] in the fornoon it being so cold I did not go out in the afternoon . . . Thare are about 25 to 30 mules from hear [and although] timber is scarce they draw timbers 5 miles to make a farme [frame]. . . i have not spent quite enough prospecting I and my partners have a share in three prospects wich we wan to prove this winter & we are at work in two of them. . . I think you would not write often than i if you had the same chance ware I boarderd this summer was in an old log cabbin with one rom 16 fet squar & ten persons young & old with the rats runing over our faces. . ." . (For more information, see Henry's Galena, Illinois During the Lead Mine Era, Legler's Life in the Diggings, and Carter's New Diggings is an Old Diggins, all available online.) A description of early life Wisconsin's lead region, both historically and philatelically valuable. At the time of listing nothing similar is for sale in the trade. Rare Book Hub reports no listings for similar items. OCLC shows personal paper collections at the Wisconsin Historical Society contain mining records. .
  • $750
1839 - Letter regarding witnesses at an upcoming trial that was carried by an enslaved worker from an Alabama lawyer to his client

1839 – Letter regarding witnesses at an upcoming trial that was carried by an enslaved worker from an Alabama lawyer to his client

A. Gilchrist This four-page stampless folded letter is datelined "Haywith 12th Sept,r 1839" and measures 8" x 10¼" unfolded. It is annotated "By Boy" indicating it was carried by an enslaved worker from A. Gilchrist to Colonel John Mc Hall at Washington, Alabama. The letter has some minor soiling and postal wear. The letter is related to an illness of a Mr. Crawford which Gilchrist feared might affect the conduct of a trial or, perhaps, even influence other witnesses to avoid testifying. It also briefly discusses the case, which was related to the Tobin (spelling?) family. . An entry in Brewer's Alabama, Her History, Resources, War Record, and Public Men From 1540 to 1872 indicates that a lawyer named Archibald Gilchrist lived in Lowndes County, Alabama (just outside of Montgomery) during the first half of the 19th century and served at least one term as a state senator. Washington County is located about a hundred miles southwest of Lowndes, and an 1835 map in Bradford's Comprehensive Atlas shows that it included a city named Washington which apparently no longer exists. Colonel John Mc Hall could not be found in online genealogical records, perhaps because the name in the address is somewhat indistinct and the spelling may be incorrect. Although we have sold several examples of slave-carried mail over the past 20 years, such mail is exceptionally scarce. When encountered, the covers inevitably bear annotations similar to "Per boy" or "By Jane" indicating that the carriers had permission to be traveling alone on missions for their masters. At the time of listing, no other slave-carried mail is for sale in the trade or listed in OCLC. Also, no auction records for slave-carried mail are found at the Rare Book Hub, however the Stamp Auction Network shows that two have appeared at auction in the last 25 years. .
  • $800
1863 - Letter from a soldier in one of the most disgraced Union regiments of the Civil War reporting that it had been banished to Hilton Head Island as punishment for burning its barracks in Chicago and destroying a historic fence at Yorktown after it had been paroled following its ignominious surrender at Harper's Ferry

1863 – Letter from a soldier in one of the most disgraced Union regiments of the Civil War reporting that it had been banished to Hilton Head Island as punishment for burning its barracks in Chicago and destroying a historic fence at Yorktown after it had been paroled following its ignominious surrender at Harper’s Ferry

Jacob Brown This four-page letter, sent by Jacob Brown to his father, is written on rather scarce patriotic stationary featuring a strutting rooster in red and blue, titled "Game Cock of Uncle Sam 1776 1882". It is datelined "Head-quarters Hilton Reg't Co. B. 115th regt / Hilton Head South Carolina Feb 6 1803". It is enclosed in its original worn and soiled patriotic mailing envelope featuring a U.S. flag bearing a streamer reading "The Union Forever" with a legend that reads "Fast Colors. / Warranted Not to Run" that was once franked with three 1-cent blue Franklin stamps; two are now missing. It bears a double-circle Port Royal [South Carolina] postmark dated "Feb 7 1862". A transcript will be provided. The letter begins with a description of Hilton Head Island and a derogatory comment about African-Americans and President Lincoln's recent Emancipation Proclamation. "I take the Plesher once more to write a few lines to you to let you now that we moved again and that I am well yet as can be expetted for the change of Climate. . . we haved had considerable of rain wile here and it rains two day witch makes it quite unplesent. . . we are encamp on an Iland here with a large Fort and nearley surronded by gun Boats. . . this Iland is a low marshey Country being as low as the tide of the Ochen . . . witch makes it unhelthey in warm weather and the soil is of a light sand and wen the wind blows it puts me in mind of a northern Snow Storm. . . the water we have to drink flows through the marsh [which] is inhabited by them Butiful reptiles the Aligater. . . last of all the niger witch feel quite aristeratic under Old master Abes Blackamation. . ." He then explains why his unit was reassigned to such an inhospitable place. I am "confident of wat we was sent here for we was sent here under celled orders. . . we was convicted and centenced by the secretary of war and sent here for Burning the Barracks and rase corse fense at Duglas Camp Chicago and our Pay stopt sinse we left yorktown the 22th of last month our Cornel is a going to Washington in a few day to have a reinstatement of the regiment. . . it may go all wright yet eney way we will do the best of it. . ." . On August 1862, the 115th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment broke camp at Fonda, New York and boarded train cars bound for Maryland to protect the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and by 3 September had assumed defensive positions at Harper's Ferry along with three other regiments. Their positions left much to be desired and failed to neutralize the surrounding high ground. General Lee's Confederate Army was advancing up the Shenandoah Valley and elements of it surrounded Harper's Ferry emplacing 50 canon on Maryland Heights and beginning a fierce barrage into the town. Although the defenders knew that a relief column was on the way, before the Confederate attack began in earnest, the Union defenders surrendered in mass, over 12,400 men, although having only suffered 44 soldiers killed. As part of the 115th parole agreement, it was sent to Chicago were it encamped at Camp Douglas and some nearby horse barns. There, quarters were poor, rations sparce and tainted, sickness common, and the soldiers sullen. By November, the troops refused to bear arms and conduct drill or perform guard duty. Regular army units brought in to control the mutiny were continuously pelted by stones and brickbats, eventually shot at least one man who was trying to escape from camp. Eventually, the 115th and other mutinous units were summoned to Washington, and just before they boarded the departing trains, the soldiers torched their barracks. Arriving in Washington, the 115th encamped at Arlington Heights where its men were employed as laborers to strengthen defensive positions, before being shipped to Tidewater, Virginia to do the same. While there, members of the regiment destroyed a historic fence at the Cornwallis surrender sight, breaking it into small souvenirs that "are now in thousands of northern homes, p
  • $950
1906-1907 - Pair of Jamestown Exposition letters with their accompanying illustrated mailing envelopes

1906-1907 – Pair of Jamestown Exposition letters with their accompanying illustrated mailing envelopes

Both letters are on official Jamestown Exposition stationery, and both are in nice shape. The first letter was sent by the Board of Jamestown Exposition Managers for Massachusetts soliciting subcommittees within the state to provide "articles illustrating colonial history, such as furniture, clothing, cooking utensils, articles manufactured in the colonies, books, jewelry, lace, fans, portraits and paintings, samplers and examples of needlework" worthy of being exhibited at a world's fair. The letterhead and envelope both feature an illustration of the Seal of Massachusetts. The envelope is postmarked December 15, 1906. The second letter was sent from Richmond by William Washington Baker, one of the commissioners of the exposition, on colorful Jamestown Exposition stationery (both writing-paper and envelope) that features the state flag of Virginia. Baker, who had been a Confederate privateer during the Civil War was a successful businessman and former member of the Virginia House of Delegates. It is addressed to John W. Churchman, a member of the House of Delegates, in Staunton. In the letter, Baker humorously chides Churchman about running for Speaker of the House. "I saw by the Times-Dispatch this morning that you claim to be the very oldest member that ever served anybody, anywhere, much less in the House of Delegates. . . Now I have a little bird whispering to me that you had better be on the lookout. . . You have two very formidable opponents, that are after your scalp, and if you didn't get a move on they would wear your auburn locks around their waist. I was sorry to hear this especially after you had aired your age &c before the Richmond female sex. Well, you remember the old adage, "Pride goes &c.," . . ." . Baker was defeated for the speaker position by R. E. Byrd of Winchester. Two scarce and attractive Jamestown Exposition items. .
1840 - Letter between business associates reporting that the ice on the Hudson River in Troy

1840 – Letter between business associates reporting that the ice on the Hudson River in Troy, New York had broken without any damage to docks or timber stored upon them and recommending switching to the manufacture of “wall strips” in the coming year as there was “no movement in the lumber market.”

C.W. Thompson This two-page stampless letter measures 8¾" x 12½". It was sent by C.W. Thompson in Troy on 12 February 1840 to business associates, the Nye Brothers, in Champlain, New York. It bears a circular red Troy postmark and a manuscript "18¾", the cost to mail a letter between 150 and 400 miles. In nice shape. A transcript will be provided. In this letter, Thompson keeps his promise to write the Nye Brothers to inform them of changes to the Hudson River. It reads in part: "The Ice in the river here broke up yesterday, it was about 18 inches thick & it was feared much damage would be done but there was verry little. I believe there was no Lumber carried off any of the docks on either side of the river. Although the water was verry high we now think the danger is over the water is Falling & will probably be off the docks tomorrow or the day after. . ." He goes on to report that he is making progress getting payment from creditors for several "notes" and hopes the accounts "all will be paid when business opens in the spring. . ." In closing, Thompson advises that "there is no movement yet in the Lumber Market & it is yet impossible to say how Lumber will be. I presume it will open Slow Sale. I think it would be well to make a fair quantity of Wall Strips as there are none now in Market & there verry few making [them]. . ." . A nice first-hand account of the upper New York lumber market beginning to reopen after a frigid winter and frozen rivers. .
1852 - Letter from a foreman reporting the status of laying track for the Ohio and Pennsylvania Railroad with a crew of "men not worth a damn."

1852 – Letter from a foreman reporting the status of laying track for the Ohio and Pennsylvania Railroad with a crew of “men not worth a damn.”

E. F. Judkins This four-page letter from E. F. Judkins is datelined "Loudonville [Ohio] December 19 1852". There is no mailing envelope. In this letter, Judkins, who was apparently the foreman of a track-laying crew for the Ohio & Pennsylvania Railroad relates the difficulties he is facing and his hope to soon be appointed as a conductor. "The next week after you left I went to Wooster to get some money to pay the men that were to work for me and Bailey sent me to this place to buy timber. . . I am at present track laying here and a hard time I have had no boarding places and men not worth a damn and no chance to change off for better but I am in hopes that I shall not be here always for I have something better in view I spoke for a situation on the road when it is finished and the men I spoke to applied to Mr Courtney the present superintendent for a Conductors birth for me and he said I should have it and when I get there if you want to go with me on a train I shall feel it duty bound to give you as good a situation as the next man has Should I get disappointed in that Bailey has offered me work for a year yet and before them all is Mr Stimpson who wanted me to work for him but there must not be any thing said as to that except in private. . . When I get done laying track I would like to have you out here to start a train with me should fortune smile on me enough to get it and you know sure I am of it. . ."1852 - Letter from a foreman reporting the status of laying track for the Ohio and Pennsylvania Railroad with a crew of "men not worth a damn." The letter also discusses Judkins concerns about leaving his wife and children at home rather than bringing them with him while laying the track through Ohio. . The Ohio and Pennsylvania Railroad was chartered in two states: Ohio on 24 February 1848 and Pennsylvania on 11 April 1848. It was approved to build a route from Allegheny City. Construction began on Independence Day in 1849, and the line had been extended to Wooster, just east of Loudenville by August of 1852. When it reached Crestline on 11 April 1853, a throughline from New York City to Cincinnati was formed via its connection with the Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati Railroad. The Ohio and Pennsylvania eventually was consolidated with other regional lines to form the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago Rail Road which when completed in December, 1859 provided the Pennsylvania Rail Road system dedicated track between New York and Chicago. (For more information, see Wikipedia.) .
Early 1930s - Handmade songbook with lyrics to 80 songs illustrated with fan magazine illustrations of the singers and movie stars who popularized them

Early 1930s – Handmade songbook with lyrics to 80 songs illustrated with fan magazine illustrations of the singers and movie stars who popularized them

Adella Deuel This appealing songbook, titled "Songs Popular in 1930 - 1931," measures 7" x 8½". It was made by Adella Deuel of Rochester, New York and includes handwritten lyrics to 80 popular songs illustrated with clipping from fan magazines. The bright yellow composition notebook's cover features a printed illustration of college 'sheik' holding a megaphone and wearing a yellow slicker raincoat covered with handwritten 'collegiate' slang from the late 1920s and early 1930s. (Looks like it this guy could have walked right out of the opening of Good News, the classic MGM musical set in Tait College.) In nice shape. Some of the songs include: Sunny Side Up, After the Ball is Over (the biggest Tin-Pan Alley hit of all time revived in the 1932 hit film of the same name), Would You Like to Take a Walk, My Cigarette Lady, The Sidewalks of New York (another 'Gay Nineties' classic revived in the 1934 Shirley Temple film, Little Miss Marker), Vagabond Lover, Rio Rita, Betty Coed, Happy Days Are Here Again, Just a Gigolo, Million Dollar Baby, and many, many more. Fan magazine clippings include images of Rudy Valee, Janet Gaynor, Eddie Quillan, Robert Montgomery, Joan Crawford, John Bowles, Bebe Daniels, Maurice Chevalier, Douglas Fairbanks, etc. . A terrific keepsake from the early years of the Great Depression when the music and film industry used snappy songs and screwball romantic comedies to provide the public with some cultural relief during the dreary days of the 1930s. .
Circa 1870 - The inventor of the circular ribbed knitting machine revolutionized the hosiery industry recounts efforts by his employers and competitors to cheat him from money due and steal his patents

Circa 1870 – The inventor of the circular ribbed knitting machine revolutionized the hosiery industry recounts efforts by his employers and competitors to cheat him from money due and steal his patents

[John Pepper] In this unsigned 12-page summary on stationery headed "Office of J. Pepper's Hosiery Mill, / Lake Village, N. H. 187 ", John Pepper claims that employers and competitors cheated him, infringing upon his patents. In nice shape. A transcript will be provided. John Pepper invented the first successful ribbed knitting machine in 1852 which revolutionized the hosiery industry, but his ownership of the patent was clouded by agreements and partnerships made with employers and competitors. Hosiery was big business in New England, and by 1860, Pepper was making 72,000 pair of socks annually. This summary provides Pepper's case against industry kingpins including Henry Hastings, Henry Marchant, John Nesmith, and the Aikens family. "When I invented the Circular Ribb Machine . . . I shew . . . the work to a Mr Marchant [who] told me to beware of [Hastings] as he had found him a great rascal. . . I was poor [with] no learning and Hasting being [an] agent of the mill [I} put confidence in him. . . Nesmith came down to the mill [and] I was . . . told they were going to move the machiney to Franklin [including my] Ribb machine They offered not only to buy the invention but to [make] me superintendent of the mill at the salary of one thousand dollars [and there] was also a clause . . . giving the patent back to me if the Co failed to use the invention for six months in succession. . . "I took the job [but] lost my house which I mortgaged [to put] my money into supplies . . . and come out . . . $4,000 in debt . . . The Mill afterwards burnt [and] the patent was not used [and] Aikens began to build machines and sell them and there was no one to stop them. . . I went to Nesmith who was president . . . and told him the six months was out and I wanted the patent [back, and] I tried from time to time to get possession of it [until] in despair I applied to Hastings [who] said if he got it I should have it - but found afterwards it [was] put into a Co and he [was] one third owner . . . but made him promise to let me [own] all the machines This he agreed to at once [but I] now find . . . the other members . . . pay in nothing. . . There have been constant infringement of [my patents and copies of my machines] have been made openly. . . I improved the machine [and this] stopt the sale of the Aikens machine . . . then Derby Ribb goods were called for and I got up an improvement whereby [other kinds] could be made. . . I patented this invention. . . "The company never paid me for anything from first to last for building machines [so] my only chance to be paid was to sell the machines and take my pay as the Co from the first had no working capital. . ." In the summary, Pepper suggests that he was being sued by the company for doing so, but I have been unable to find the case or any reference to its resolution. . (For more information, see Lehman's "Socks and Stockings, Shirts, Drawers, and Sashes," and Candee's "Portsmouth! N.H. and New England's Knitting Industry! 1832 - 1875", both available online.) A unique first-hand record of the industrial revolution in New England's 19th century textile mills. At the time of listing, nothing similar is for sale in the trade, and the Rare Book Hub shows nothing similar has ever been listed at auction. OCLC shows that the Pepper Company's later records from 1880 to 1906 are held by the American Textile Museum Library. .
1928 - A one month pocket diary detailing the life of a free-wheeling young woman living the party-life at Miami Beach

1928 – A one month pocket diary detailing the life of a free-wheeling young woman living the party-life at Miami Beach, Florida

This 2.5" x 5" pocket diary for the month of February 1928 was kept by an unidentified young woman living in Miami Beach in which she devoted two detailed pages to each of the month's 29 days. (It was leap year.) In nice shape. Written in pencil, but easy to read. The diary documents the life of an independent young women living on her own in a beachfront apartment. She has no visible means of support, never mentions a job, and some entries suggest she is supported by her parents. Instead of the drudgery of work, her life is one continuous party; her days are filled with lounging at the beach, driving all around southern Florida, shopping for clothes, dating, movies, nightclubs, dinners, dancing, drinking, and spiritualist parties. Seldom was she home before 1:00 a.m., and it was not unusual for her to be out until the wee hours of the morning. Some excerpts include: "Billy called me on phone said he would be over at 7 p.m. I came up & manicured my nails. Got dolled up & was ready when Billy came - We went to Little River & saw "Male & Female" with Tom Meighan & Gloria Swanson. . . Came out and drove to Buena Vista had a drink & drove to Miami . . . "I dolled up . . . hopped on trolley & went to Miami. Took a walk and went to Hollywood office to listen to band. . . Sat out front with Dorothy & a lady came along she knew & the 3 of us went for a walk to So. Beach. On the way back a guy with a big red car picked us up & drove all around the Beach. . . "A Mr. Geo Simmons I met yesterday at Hollywood called to see me but I chased him. . . Had a couple of ladies in for a smoke. . . "Now 2 ready to hit the hay. . . wonderful evening. All women 12 in all & some hot bunch! . . "Had a couple drinks & pack of smokes. . . Went over to Besses & drove her car with 5 girls to Columbus Hotel to a 500 game. None of us won. Went to the Frolics night club. Had a bottle of Rye & ginger ale - watched the Revue. . . Left at 114 & drove to Beach. . . It is now 320 a.m. . . "Went out for a walk & on corner flirted with 3 fellows [who]took us to town & and over to Silver Slippers - saw a wonderful show & danced - had high balls etc bill was $32. . . It is now 345 a.m. . . My eyes burn for lack of sleep. Must keep better hours. . . "We all went to Bohemian Club - had bottle of Bacardi & ginger ale. Watched revue then drove to Hollywood - had lots of fun - came back to town & restaurant - fine feed. . . It's now 415 a.m & I am ready to hit the hay - have a slight hang-over. . . . A fascinating account demonstrating the change that occurred in America's social mores following World War One, detailing the life of a young woman that would never have been imagined in the previous decade. .
1843 - Letter from an important missionary at the Oneida Duck Creek Reservation in Wisconsin describing his effort "endeavoring to labor for the good of the Indians."

1843 – Letter from an important missionary at the Oneida Duck Creek Reservation in Wisconsin describing his effort “endeavoring to labor for the good of the Indians.”

Henry Root Colman This three-page stampless letter measures 15½" x 12½" unfolded. It was sent by Henry Root Colman to his brother-in-law, Richard P. Speir, who had recently settled in New Orleans. It is datelined "Duck Creek June 17th 1843" and bares a manuscript postmark reading "Duck Creek / W.T. June 19" and a "25" rate mark. In this letter, Colman explained, "An Indian Missionary does not see much of the world or have the privilege of sharing very largely in the blessings of civilized life. But all this we expected before we came here. We have been and are still endeavoring to labor for the good of the Indians. We have had some success among them but have not as yet seen any general outpouring of the spirit in the awakening and conversion of souls. We hope however to soon sow the seeds which may yet produce a plenteous harvest by the blessing of the Lord. . . "We have had an unusual cold long winter which has produced a great scarcity in bread stuffs [and] some of the Indians have suffered very much. They have obtained a temporary supply. They have brought in enough to Green Bay since navigation opened but the difficulty is to get cash to buy with. The cold season and scarcity of bread stuffs makes the Indians very uneasy and discontented. There is much talk among them of removing to Missouri. Whether they will ever start or will get there if they should set out time alone will determine. I am trying to teach school this summer . . . and farm . . . while I preach to the Indians and visit among them. . ." It is also clear that the Colmans were worried about Spier. "You appear to have changed your habits very much, & have become quite a migratory animal since we bid you farewell at Northville. I hope however, the change has not been for the worse. . . You intimate that contentment is the object of your pursuit, and because you was not content at home, you left for the South in hope to find it there . . . yet there is one thing that we have all lived long enough to prove & that is, that contentment is not a plant of foreign growth, but it flourishes in the breasts of all who cultivate, and nourish it. . . We hope dear Brother that you will not rashly expose your life & health for the sake of gain in the swamps of Louisiana. May the good Lord direct your way. . . if you are in search of health why . . . breathe the Miasma of the south? If you will come to Wisconsin you may enjoy as healthy a climate as there is to be found under the Sun. . ." . Between 1795 and 1845, the State of New York unconstitutionally imposed over 20 treaties upon the Oneida Nation that stripped it of hundreds of thousands of acres as federal courts claimed they were powerless to prevent the theft. In response the federal government granted the Oneida 300,000 acres of land and a significant portion of the tribe began to move to Wisconsin where the Duck Creek Reservation was eventually established near Green Bay in 1838. The "unusual cold long winter," known for years as the 'hard winter' reported by Colman was, indeed, devasting to both crops and wildlife; the ground remain covered with two feet of hard-crusted snow through March and nearly caused the extinction of wild turkey in the region. Henry Colman had been an itinerant Methodist Episcopal preacher in New York when he relocated with his family to Duck Creek in 1840. After five years of ministering to the Oneida, the family relocated to the Brotherhood Indian Nation at Fond du Lac where Christian members of the Mohegan, Pequot, Niantic, Narragansett, Montauk, and Tunxis peoples had migrated during the Great Awakening in the mid-1700s after becoming dissatisfied with the moral corruption prevalent among white New Englanders. There, he also ministered to the white population until overtaken by ill health. In 1847, Colman received a $10,000 grant to establish a college (today Lawrence University) at Appleton, across Lake Winnebago from Fond du Lac, from the noted Massachusetts Episcopalian reformer and philanthropist, A
1864 - Broadsheet requesting donations of Relics

1864 – Broadsheet requesting donations of Relics, Curiosities, and Autographs, as well as examples of manufacturing and craftsmanship to be exhibited and sold during the U.S. Sanitary Commission’s Great Central Fair to be held in June of 1864

A three-page broadsheet, measuring 8" x 10", titled "GREAT CENTRAL FAIR, / To be held at Philadelphia, June 1864, / FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE UNITED STATES SANITARY COMMISSION." It was published jointly on March 1, 1864 by the commission's Executive Committee of the Great Central Fair and the Committee on Relics, Curiosities, and Autographs. In nice shape. The broadsheet specifically requests that "in the spirit of unbounded patriotism, "people, churches, businesses, farms, and organizations donate "Relics, Ancient and Modern. Curiosities, Natural and Artificial; and Autographs of distinguished men, in Religion, Art, Science Labor, and Benevolence" as well as representative "specimens" of their work. These were to be exhibited and sold at the fair, which was held between 7 and 28 June 1864, as part of the commissions ongoing effort to alleviate the deprivation, suffering, or agony of "brave soldiers of the Union, in camp, field, and hospital. . . " . The U. S. Sanitary Commission was a private organization formed in June of 1861 in response to a plea, issued a month earlier by the Army Surgeon General, for the public to establish "an intelligent and scientific commission" to assist the overburdened Medical Department in comforting the soldiers by "preventative and sanitary means." The response was overwhelming and during the war, the commission organized thousands of volunteers and raised $25 million (over $442 million in today's money) At the Great Central Fair, even President Lincoln participated. He, his wife Mary, and son Tad visited the fair on June 16. Admission fees were doubled for that day, and over 100,000 people jammed the fairground hoping to see the President. Lincoln donated signed copies of the Emancipation Proclamation that were sold to the crowd for $10. By the time of its close on June 28, more that $1 million was raised through admissions, concessions, and sales of goods and souvenirs. (For more information, see the commission's self-published The Sanitary Commission of the United States Army: A Succinct Narrative of Its Works and Purposes, and Allen's "A Presidential Fundraiser" at the Library of Congress Blog, both available online.) Surprisingly scarce. At the time of listing, no other examples are available for sale in the trade. The Rare Book Hub reports no examples having been sold at auction. OCLC shows only one may be held by an institution in the Sanitary Commission graphics collection at Penn State. .
1901 - An eye-popping business envelope sent by the Buffalo chapter of the Ladies of The Maccabees to the Supreme Record Keeper

1901 – An eye-popping business envelope sent by the Buffalo chapter of the Ladies of The Maccabees to the Supreme Record Keeper

Bina M. West This business envelope was sent by the Buffalo, New York chapter of the Ladies of The Maccabees to the Supreme Record Keeper, Bina M. West, at its national headquarters, the Maccabee Temple in Port Huron, Michigan. It is franked with a 2-cent stamp cancelled by a Buffalo duplex post mark dated January 4, 1901. The L.O.T.M beehive logo is printed in the upper left corner, and the reverse is almost completely covered with a printed membership synopsis. Most impressively, the sender affixed five colorful labels advertising the Pan-American Exposition that was soon to be held in Buffalo from May 1 through November 2, 1901. . The Knights of the Maccabees, a sub-group of the Order of Foresters, was organized the 1870s and based its name, ceremonies, and rituals on the pious and heroic Jewish brothers and their followers who overthrew the Seleucid Empire's Hellenized Jewish rulers of Judea in 167 BCE. The group grew rapidly and by 1880 had over 10,000 members in Canada and the United States. One of the organization's main purposes (probably its principal purpose and attraction) was to provide low-cost life insurance to its members. After a period of near insolvency and a schism between its Canadian and U.S. Great Tents (i.e. chapters) , the Maccabees reorganized in at the Supreme Tent (national meeting) held in 1881 at Port Huron, Michigan. Sabina "Bina" Mae West Miller is said to have attended a Knights of Maccabees' picnic in 1891 and after learning about its life insurance mission vowed to create a parallel beneficial organization specifically for women. Subsequently, she was instrumental in establishing the Ladies of the Maccabee's as an auxiliary of the Knights of the Maccabees under the leadership of Adelphia Grace "Mother" Westbrook Ward. By 1913, it had over 80,000 members and had paid out over $50 million in death benefits. The organization was renamed as the Women's Benefit Association in 1915 and still exists today as the Woman's Life Insurance Society. (For more information, see the McElroy's "Bina West Miller: Pioneer" at the Foundation for Economic Freedom website, the "Maccabees & Ladies of the Maccabees" Facebook page, the Women's Life Insurance Society website." .
1761 - Continuation of the Account of the Pennsylvania Hospital; From the First of May 1754

1761 – Continuation of the Account of the Pennsylvania Hospital; From the First of May 1754, to the Fifth of May 1761. With an alphabetical list of the Contributors and of the Legacies which have been bequeathed, for Promotion and Support thereof, from the first Rise to That Time

[Samuel Rhoads and hospitals committee on publication.] Issued as a separate volume continuation of Benjamin Franklin's Some account of the Pennsylvania Hospital which was published in 1754. This was prepared by the hospital's "committee on publication" and printed at Franklin's printing house. The pamphlet, measuring approximately 7½" x 10", is complete but for the preliminary title leaf (provided in facsimile). It is paginated continuously with Franklin's first volume, and its pages are numbered 41-77. It is string-bound to period paper stock in the rear. Some soiling and foxing with insect predation along the right margin which does not affect the text. (See Evans' American Bibliography #7197 and Morton's The history of the Pennsylvania Hospital.) . The impetus for publishing this continuation was the realization by the hospital managers in 1759 of a pressing need to raise funds for the facility. After the situation became desperate following an unsuccessful petition to the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1760, the managers decided to raise money by issuing this continuation of Franklin's publication to bring the hospital's history up to date. Franklin is listed as a hospital manager on the publication's first page, however as he was abroad in England at the time, Richard Rhoads stepped in to lead the publication committee. Franklin's printing firm, Franklin and Hall, published the booklet, which described hospital activities, patient care, sources of support, income, and expenses. As a direct result, members of the Pennsylvania Assembly visited the facility and allocated £3,000 to retire its debts. (See Cohen's Benjamin Franklin's Science.) Extremely scarce. Although digital, microform, and reprint copies abound, there are only few extant physical examples of the original printing. None are for sale in the trade, although one dealer is currently offering Franklin's part one. The Rare Book Hub shows only 21 examples have appeared at auction in the past 166 years. OCLC records are fuzzy, and it is difficult to identify actual physical originals among the plethora of reprints and digital or microform copies, however it appears no more than five or six institutions have the real deal. Missing the preliminary title leaf and showing some insect predation, so priced accordingly. .
1850s - Five different religious pamphlets published by the American Tract Society

1850s – Five different religious pamphlets published by the American Tract Society

This lot consists of five different religious tracts published by the American Tract Society probably during the 1850s. They range in size from 4¼" x 7" to 4½" x 7¾". Three have four pages; one eight pages; and one 12 pages. One of the tracts, "The Brazen Serpent," features an illustration from the Book of Numbers (Bemidbar or In the Wilderness in the Torah). All of the tracts are complete, and all have some soiling or foxing. The titles include: No. 165 - "Importance of Distinguishing Between True and False Conversions" No. 382 - "Have Me Excused" No. 404 - "I Have Not Time" No. 511 - "The Brazen Serpent" by Rev. Edward D. Griffin, D.D. No. 531 - "Saving a Soul from Death". The American Tract Society was (and remains) the most prolific publisher of religious texts in the United States. Before it was founded in 1825 with the merger of the New England and New York tract societies, the Bible was the only widely distributed religious book in the country. Formed with the expressed purpose of making short religious lessons readily and cheaply available, it started off slowly but soon its tracts became incredibly popular, and their distribution reached incredible levels. By 1850, it had 529 different titles in its inventory, and it was printing 27,000 pamphlets daily. Between May 1847 and May 1848, over 8 million were distributed, primarily by Society colporteurs, i.e., traveling salesmen who also provided religious counseling and led church services. The Society is still printing religious tracts, and business is still booming. Its headquarters relocated from New York City to Garland, Texas in the 1970s and today has well over 100 printing houses in 70 countries that print its tracts in more than 100 different languages. Despite the immense number of tracts that have been printed, early printings, while certainly not rare, are also not commonly found; most likely the vast majority were simply thrown away with time. Today, the early tracts most often surface on ebay. (For more information, see Thompson's "The Printing and Publishing Activities of the American Tract Society from 1825 to 1850 in The Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America Vol 35 No 2, Brief History of the American Tract Society published by The Press of T. R. Marvina, and the American Tract Society's website.) .
Circa 1851-1857 - Letter sent via the Augusta & Atlanta Rail Road (later the Georgia Rail Road and Banking Company) regarding the delay of a visit home because the family and its enslaved workers had contracted Scarlet Fever

Circa 1851-1857 – Letter sent via the Augusta & Atlanta Rail Road (later the Georgia Rail Road and Banking Company) regarding the delay of a visit home because the family and its enslaved workers had contracted Scarlet Fever

A. M. Fannin This stampless letter measures 15½" x 9¾". It was sent by A. M. Fannin and M P Allen to their relatives, care of "Miss L. A. Fannin / Madison / Ga." It bears a faint circular red "Augusta & Atlanta R.R." station agent postmark and a manuscript "5" rate mark. >p>In this letter Fannin and Allen express their concerns about a Scarlet Fever epidemic that has struck their family and its enslaved workers at Madison. "All said all the negroes have had the sarlet fever Sis was so uneasy was the reason why we did not write is it so All had a very sore throat and high fever Ms Allen gave him Dr. Simmon's fever medicine he has quite recovered. . . you must not expect us down till you all get well I would not have the boy exposed to the scarlot fever. . . Mrs Chercer is quite sick, Mrs Tom Gibbs is in very poor health unable to leave the house. [the] little girl has gone entirely blind. . ." . Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, Scarlet Fever, was a mostly benign childhood disease. That changed abruptly around 1820, when a pandemic of particularly severe strains periodically erupted around the world. Although many outbreaks remained mild, often they resulted in a number of fatalities. An especially lethal outbreak occurred at Augusta, Georgia in 1832-3. No doubt that was bearing heavily on the Fannin families minds when this letter was written in the 1850s. Although the letter is undated, we know that it was sent between 1851 and 1857 because of the rare Augusta & Atlanta R.R." station agent postmark. Although most of the word, "Augusta" is very faint, probably due to an off-center strike, enough is visible that it can be identified as the #455-A-4 postmark in Towle's U.S. Route and Station Agent Postmarks; this postmark was only used during those years. Very little information about the Augusta & Atlanta Railroad is available. It was originally chartered in 1833. Several years later that charter was amended to include banking operations and the company's name was apparently changed to the Georgia Railroad & Banking Company. Although the banking side of the business was extremely successful, railroad operations remained small. By 1850 it operated only 213 miles of track, and by that had only increased to 232. As a result, the quantity of mail processed by the company (which was also referred to as the Georgia Railroad) was small. (For more information see Martin's Atlanta and its builders : a comprehensive history of the Gate city of the South, Katz & Moren's "Severe Streptococcal Infections in Historical Perspective" in Clinical Infectious Diseases Vol. 14 and Storey's "Georgia Railroad" in Georgia's Railroad History and Heritage accessible via the Internet Archive Way Back Machine.) At the time of listing, no other examples of mail processed by Augusta and Atlanta are for sale in the trade. None have appeared at auction per the Rare Book Hub and none are held by institutions per OCLC. The Stamp Auction Network shows one example has appeared in a philatelic auction (Lot 1032 in the Schulyer Rumsey Auction Sale 45, 24-27 January 2012 which realized $850). .