Lot 8092: Lengthy ALS signed "Bartolomeo Vanzetti," three pages both sides, 8 x 10, May 22, 1927. Letter to Lilly Sarnoff, written while imprisoned in Dedham Jail. In part (spelling and grammar retained): "Now on hope…we are hoping very little. As a matter of fact we have never hoped in Courts and Judges…we are still hoping only on what the comrades and the people will compel the State to give us. Because our case is grave, the solidarity so vast and great, the accuse so weak and wreched, and our defencive proofs so strong and evident: people have always hope that we will have won. Thus, from one trial to another, from the first to the last seventh appeals, the people hoped in a victory and they always got a defeat. Now we are in the hands of the Gubernatorial discretion. A bad beast, believe me. But as the evidences in our favor are so strong, as the protest is universal, the people hope again in a victory. Our case a proved one thing positively: That that handful of men invested of power by the stupidity of the people and who call themselves public-servants care a fig for the people wishes and pay no attention to the people claims…I guess it was Victor Hugo who said that 'Hope would be the last godness in life were it not for disperation.' I think that there is still something beyond disperation. And I have learnt that man cannot lives without hoping. You ask: for what is man, when hope is death? I answer: A death man—I mean so phisically…You understand that there ate several things deriving either directly or indirectly from our case—of which I am glad, proud, and conforted. The judges have joined us against their regime—our figure project themselves higher than those of other persecuters in history; the comrades have been, as it were, galvanized by our trial and are performing wonders. Mankind as done for two obscure and rebellious workers what on the past would have only be done for saints and kings…Have all our greetings and good wishes from Nick & I." Vanzetti also discusses demonstrations at Madison Square Garden and their inaccurate portrayals in newspapers. In very good condition, with intersecting folds (a vertical fold passing through a couple letters of the signature), one small area of paper loss affecting no text, scattered creases, and soiling to the last page.In the famed Sacco and Vanzetti case, the anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were convicted of killing a guard and paymaster during the 1920 armed robbery of the Slater and Morrill Shoe Company in South Braintree, Massachusetts. Vehemently proclaiming their innocence, the pair soon became the center of a worldwide cause celebre in which many prominent writers, artists, and academics pleaded for their pardon or a new trial. By the time of this letter, the two had exhausted their appeals and been sentenced to death on April 9, 1927. As Vanzetti writes in this letter, their fate fell into the hands of Massachusetts Governor Alvan T. Fuller, who faced last-minute petitions to grant clemency to the convicted anarchists. He assembled a panel that determined Sacco and Vanzetti had received a fair trial, and despite ongoing large public protests they were executed by electric chair on August 23, 1927. As a lengthy letter with outstanding content including reflections on his trial, the public's reaction, and philosophical musings on 'hope,' this is an ideal Vanzetti letter of the utmost historical interest.
RR Auction's Remarkable Rarities Auction 461
Monday, 28th September 2015
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