Lot 676: ALS, one page both sides, 8 x 9.75, December 20, 1840. Letter to historian and journalist William Leete Stone, Sr., in part: "I return you the letter of Mr. Bacon and beg when next you write to him you will express to him how much I feel obliged by the kind interest he manifests…and by his suggestion as to a visit to the spot where Columbus first landed. Such a visit would indeed be most interesting to me did circumstances permit me to make it; but he is mistaken in the idea that I have any work in hand connected with the landing of Columbus. The report that got into the papers, must have originated in the circumstance of Mr. [James Fenimore] Cooper being occupied in a work founded on that subject, and in my name being…substituted for his. I have seen Mr. Wiley and will do the needful with respect to the biography of Campbell as soon as I can command a moment's leisure. I am glad to find you are extending your interesting and romantic researches into the valley of the Susquehanna." Addressed on the reverse of the second integral page in Irving's own hand, with the red wax seal still intact. In very good condition, with intersecting folds (passing through two letters of the signature), left edge nearly entirely detached, toning and small tears to edges, slight show-through from writing to opposing sides, and toning and mounting remnants to reverse of second integral page. Irving accurately attributes Bacon's confusion to Cooper's recent publication of Mercedes of Castile, a historical novel set in the 1490s that follows the preparations and subsequent westward voyages of Christopher Columbus. Given the mention of Cooper, a fellow New York writer who rose to eminence at the same time as Irving, this interesting letter offers insight into how these two professional rivals kept tabs on their respective careers.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 466
Wednesday, 9th December 2015
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