New York: Currier & Ives, 1860. First Edition. Broadside. Good.  Color lithographic broadside, image approximately 12 x 9 inches. Top half-inch of image trimmed, not affecting pictorial content. Toning, small chips and closed tears, early soft folds. Good. Early Currier & Ives portrait of the albino Dutch Lucasie family, whom Barnum brought to New York from Amsterdam in 1857, advertised for years at the American Museum as natives of Madagascar, and contracted for tours, as advertised here. Scarce.
Leighton, Pa., 1867. Softcover. Near fine.  pp., approximately 600 words. Bifolium on ruled paper, approximately 9 1/2 x 6 inches. Very minor soiling on first page, else near fine. Manuscript letter by a semi-crippled itinerant phrenologist describing his schemes and recent adventures to a confidant. The unsigned document is addressed to "Friend Harbert," who a later pencil inscription indicates was William Soesbe Harbert (1842-1919). A native of Terre Haute, Indiana and later resident of Des Moines, Chicago, and Pasadena, Harbert was a prominent lawyer, judge, and advocate of progressive causes. He was celebrated for his escape from the infamous Libby Prison during the Civil War, from which he emerged weighing ninety-seven pounds, and was also notable as the husband of Elizabeth Boynton Harbert, a leader in the women's suffrage movement. At the time of the letter's composition, Harbert was completing his law degree at the University of Michigan. The precise relationship of Harbert to the author of the letter is unclear, but the letter writer states that Harbert is the "only one outside my family" to know an unnamed secret ("even my own mother dont know it"). The secret appears to relate either to the author's fraudulent career or "some business" he mentions having to "settle up" back home. The author jokes that "open confession is good for the soul": "While I have experienced the keen fangs of excruciating mortification, of being, drawn on to a hot griddle, & broiled alive, before an audience, there is also a great deal of pleasure & satisfaction in the business. I am treated with the utmost respect & courtisiy, even in the first place.where I think, that it was pretty generaly conceeded, by most all in town that I was a humbug! in fact that opinion, was so prevalent that I thought so myself! Yet I more than made expenses. I am necessarily compelled to put on considerable style & I dont stay long enough in one place to find me out till I lecture & then they take the bait! . I think I will try to get of a pretty good speache here, probably two, & the people are very ignorant, & they may not discover the diference. I have the satisfaction of knowing more about Phrenology than they do anyhow, & I put off a few technical names, describing the brain & skull &c so that closes the M.D.'s & I can handle the rest of the audience pretty well. Up to the present time I have not dared to venture into a town where there is a paper published for fear I get blown so high that I would not get back again." An extremely unusual, colorful piece of correspondence documenting phrenology as quackery by one of its own.