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Rare and Antiquarian Books

Letters and Holographic Documents

Some of our most valuable and collectible items in the Rare Book Room are letters and holographic documents from authors and famous people throughout history. When browsing through these items, be sure to keep in mind an important distinction between letters and holographic documents. While letters can be typed or handwritten, holographic documents are documents that have been completely handwritten in the hand that signed the paper. Some of the letters showcased were written from authors to other writers, and others are personal missives in the form of journals and diaries. As with all delicate and fragile items, careful and appropriate care and handling is required, but these letters are well worth the trouble, as they often provide deep and personal insight into our favorite authors and historical figures.



Typed Letter Signed

Typed Letter Signed

by KELLER, Helen

  • Used
  • Fine
  • Signed
Condition
Used - Fine
Seller
Hadley, Massachusetts
Item Price
$3,500.00

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Description:
1902. September 22 [1902]. Written to Mr. [William V.] Alexander, editor of Ladies Home Journal, who had requested a series of articles from Keller that were later published as The Story of My Life. Keller humbly thanks Alexander for payment for the last article; in part: "I only wish I could have made the story of my life more worthy of the generous praise it has received...It has meant a great deal in my life, and in Miss Sullivan's too -- the thought of the happiness that she says my compliance with your request has brought her is sweeter even than the thought of the kindness shown me in the letters that come constantly from old friends long silent and new friends whose words go to the heart..." Two 5" x 8" pages, typed with blue ribbon and signed "Helen Keller." A very early letter by Keller, preceding her first book, with exceptionally good content. Fine. No Binding. Fine.
Item Price
$3,500.00
ARCHIVE OF LETTERS: 21 pages

ARCHIVE OF LETTERS: 21 pages

by McCOURT, Frank

  • Used
  • Signed
  • first
Condition
Used - Folds from mailing. Near Fine
Seller
Fleetwood, Pennsylvania
Item Price
$9,375.00

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Description:
1983 - 1990. Letters. Folds from mailing. Near Fine. Superb archive of seven letters from the author of ANGELA'S ASHES to R'Lene Dahlberg, fellow teacher at Stuyvesant High School, friend, wife of author Edward Dahlberg, and muse. Mostly chatty correspondence, all but two pages handwritten by McCourt, complete with hand-addressed envelopes and mostly written in New York City. In one letter McCourt describes being at Rockaway Beach with his daughter Maggie who is searching for her lost hamster with a friend: "The little bugger won't come out. I've tempted him with everything from carrots to watercress. I've made assorted seductive noises. I've exposed mineself. I've even promised him a night out with a hamsteress. To no avail. Maggie & Clare are less interested in hamsters than in boys. It's all boys now. Boys, boys, boys. I'll break her face. She checks herself out in the mirror by the hour. I told her cut it out. She [sic] wearing out the mirror. Also, I'm getting an education in teeny bop mating… Read More
Item Price
$9,375.00
Untitled Story in The Best Short Stories of 1932 and the Yearbook of the American Short Story....
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Untitled Story in The Best Short Stories of 1932 and the Yearbook of the American Short Story. With Autograph Letter Signed

by Villa, José Garcia

  • Used
  • Hardcover
  • Signed
  • first
Condition
Used
Edition
First Edition
Binding
Hardcover
Seller
Schenectady, New York
Item Price
$420.00

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Description:
New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1932. First Edition. Hardcover. Blue cloth stamped in gold on the cover and the spine, top edge stained red. Mild soiling to cloth and light ripple to lower edges. A very good+ copy in tattered dustjacket with several creases, tears and old tape mends to the reverse. Comes with a holograph letter signed and dated May 12, 1933 by Villa (to whom this book is dedicated) and addressed to literary editor Harry Hansen. ; Octavo; Signed by One Author.
Item Price
$420.00
Autographed Letter Signed on "Headquarters Army of the United States" letterhead
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Autographed Letter Signed on "Headquarters Army of the United States" letterhead

by SHERMAN, William T. (1820 - 1891)

  • Used
  • Signed
Condition
Used
Seller
New York, New York
Item Price
$2,200.00

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Description:
Washington, D.C., 1871. unbound. Three-page handwritten letter with outstanding content, 8 x 5 inches, Washington, D.C., June 22, 1871. Written to former Confederate Brigadier General Marcus J. Wright, commander of the District of Atlanta, in full: "Your note of June 1, awaited me here on my return from Texas. It is sharp that you even noticed in the newspaper of the day the fact that less than a year ago Capt. Buel of the Ordinance Department, the same who was on my staff at Atlanta, and who was taken prisoner the day before we entered that place, was murdered at the U.S. Arsenal Fort Leavenworth, by a discharged soldier. Buel had punished this man for some offense and was retiring from a party inside Leavenworth to his own house, just outside after entering his own yard, with his wife on his arm, was shot dead by a man concealed in a brush within a few feet. The man for a time escaped, but was hunted and at last caught, he was so badly wounded in capture that he started confessing the deed,… Read More
Item Price
$2,200.00
AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED BY JOHN LE CARRE CONCERNING THE RETIREMENT OF GEORGE SMILEY; TOGETHER...

AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED BY JOHN LE CARRE CONCERNING THE RETIREMENT OF GEORGE SMILEY; TOGETHER WITH AN ORIGINAL CARICATURE PEN & INK DRAWING, INSCRIBED BY JOHN LE CARRE

by le CARRE, JOHN [PSEUDONYM OF DAVID JOHN MOORE CORNWELL]

  • Used
  • Signed
  • first
Condition
Used
Edition
First edition
Seller
Greencastle, Pennsylvania
Item Price
$2,250.00

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Description:
N. P.: Privately written by le Carre and drawn by Chas, 1995 & 1991., 1995 & 1991. First edition. An autograph letter signed from John Le Carré regarding the retirement of George Smiley. Written in black ink on the author's letterhead and dated 19th November 1995 he writes "I think George Smiley has earned his retirement now, and I must write about other people and other times. But thank you for wanting him back, which is the greatest compliment you can pay him - Best wishes John Le Carré". Together with an original ink caricature of John Le Carré in pencil and black ink on white paper, signed by the artist Chas. bottom right. The drawing is also inscribed by the subject in black in at the upper right corner "For Phil Smallwood with my good wishes and thanks for his support! - John Le Carré, London Feb 21 1991". Both items are presented side by side within a white card mount. Condition is excellent, the letter… Read More
Item Price
$2,250.00
Handwritten letter, in the original envelope to Sir Evan Cotton
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Handwritten letter, in the original envelope to Sir Evan Cotton

by Lord Curzon [Curzon, George Nathaniel, Marquess Curzon of Kedleston]

  • Used
Condition
Used
Seller
Hay on Wye, Herefordshire
Item Price
$154.14

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Description:
Handwritten letter, in the original envelope, franked Foreign Office. 6.45pm 21 August 23. 19cm x 12.5cm. 4pp.
Foreign Office 1 Carlton House Terrace S.W.1. August 19 1923 to The Editor, Bengal Past and Present, Calcutta Historical Society, Town Hall, Calcutta.
Curzon, George Nathaniel, Marquess Curzon of Kedleston (1859–1925), politician, traveller, and viceroy of India. At the time of writing, he was Foreign Secretary. In January 1924, Curzon vacated the Foreign Office and he was able to devote much of 1924 to completing one of his finest books, a study of Calcutta and the viceroys which was posthumously published under the title British Government in India; the work mentioned in this letter.
Sir Evan Cotton
(1868-1939) Liberal politician, barrister, administrator, journalist, historian and writer. His Calcutta Old and New, first published in 1909, remains unsurpassed to this day. He was the son of Henry Cotton (Liberal MP) the author of 'New India, or India in Transition' who opposed Curzon's… Read More
Item Price
$154.14
Autograph Letter Signed (Julia Child), to Mrs. Fairbanks
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Autograph Letter Signed ("Julia Child"), to Mrs. Fairbanks

by Child, Julia

  • Used
Condition
Used
Seller
Item Price
$3,500.00

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Description:
Paris, 1953. One and one half page pen and ink letter (26.5 x 21.5 cm.) on single sheet of pale blue Paul Cushing Child stationery, with ink date stamp ("May 18 1953"), addressed, "USIS. 5 Place de Rome, Marseille (B du Rh)". ~ An early letter from Julia Child, written while she was living in Paris with her husband Paul and working on her first book, the seminal Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Child writes to a Mrs. Fairbanks: "What a nice hour we spent with you the other afternoon. I only wish it could be repeated, as I would love to hear more about Thomas Wolfe and all you know about him. It would also be fascinating for me to hear much much more about your culinary experiences. Mrs. de Santillana [Child's editor] says you are the best cooks she knows, and I can well believe it from the interest you take. It is indeed a fascinating subject and a beau métier. Had a nice talk about friture de cheval pour les frites [possibly french fries cooked in horse fat] with your chauffeur on the way home… Read More
Item Price
$3,500.00
[MASSIVE ARCHIVE OF THOUSANDS OF ORIGINAL PHOTOGRAPHS AND PHOTOGRAPHIC SLIDES, ALONG WITH...

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Vietnam, Thailand, and elsewhere in Asia as well as the United States, Europe, and the Middle East ca. 1964-1974: Compiled by Jacob Harris, an American who served as a Senior Police Advisor in Vietnam and Thailand during the Vietnam War, 1964 - 1974, 1964 - 1974. First edition. A large and remarkable archive of images from Vietnam and Thailand, covering the decade from the Gulf of Tonkin incident and the beginning of the buildup of American forces in Vietnam to a year before the evacuation of the American embassy. Most notable are the many images showing the training of local security forces by American civil and military advisors. The collection was compiled by Jacob Harris, an employee of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of Public Safety (OPS), whose task was to train Vietnamese and Thai police and counterinsurgency forces. Most of the images, in the form of photographs and photographic slides, were created by Harris, his wife, or his associates, and illustrate… Read More
Item Price
$15,000.00
Early Autograph Letter Signed Reserving a Venue for the Premiere of His Harold en Italie
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Early Autograph Letter Signed Reserving a Venue for the Premiere of His "Harold en Italie"

by BERLIOZ, HECTOR

  • Used
  • Signed
Condition
Used
Seller
New York, New York
Item Price
$2,000.00

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Description:
BERLIOZ, HECTOR. (1803-1869). French composer; creator of Harold in Italy, Symphonie Fantastique, and other masterpieces. ALS. ("Hector Berlioz"). 2pp. 4to. Paris, October 9, 1834. To l'intendant general de la liste civile. In French with translation.
"I am planning to give three concerts over the course of next November. The Salle des Menus Plaisirs, which you have been kind enough to make available to me several times in the past, is really the only venue in Paris that lends itself to these kinds of musical events. So I request that you will grant me permission to hold mine there. These concerts, just like the ones I gave last years, would take place on Sundays at 2 in the afternoon. With all my respect, dear General Intendant, your humble servant…"
The 1830s were difficult for Berlioz. Bereft of the recognition he craved, and unable to earn a steady income from composing, he worked as a critic for several journals and newspapers and accepted the few commissions that came his way. Nevertheless, he… Read More
Item Price
$2,000.00
President of the Confederate States Writes a Historic, Lengthy and Bitter Letter to His Wife, Varina
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President of the Confederate States Writes a Historic, Lengthy and Bitter Letter to His Wife, Varina

by DAVIS, JEFFERSON

  • Used
  • Signed
Condition
Used
Seller
New York, New York
Item Price
$16,500.00

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Description:
DAVIS, JEFFERSON. (1808-1889). American secretary of war and president of the Confederate States. ALS. ("Jeff. Davis"). 4pp. 4to. Washington, D.C., January 3 and 4, 1848. To "My Wife," VARINA BANKS HOWELL DAVIS (1826-1906).
"After long expectation and painful anxiety I have just received your letter of the 19th of December, and have realized as much of pain from it, as you could have anticipated. Your suspicions and threats are equally unjust and unnecessary. I have not, that I am aware of, under the pressure of 'grave and important matters' ever shown myself unmindful of your comfort or your welfare, nor disposed to withhold pardon from you until 'too late to save from suffering,' nor exhibited a willingness that any one should take from you your 'rights as a woman and a wife,' nor sought to test your ability to love one who degraded you which you say 'would not render me better, and I should cease to lose one who did so.' You had an opportunity when I came to you crippled, so as to be confined to… Read More
Item Price
$16,500.00
The Rise Of David Bowie, 1972-1973, numbered and signed, new in sealed box
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The Rise Of David Bowie, 1972-1973, numbered and signed, new in sealed box: Autographed Taschen signed collectors edition

by Mick Rock

  • New
  • Hardcover
  • Signed
Condition
New
Edition
First
Binding
Hardcover
ISBN 13
9783836549059
ISBN 10
3836549050
Seller
Los Angeles , California
Item Price
$3,500.00

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Description:
In 1972, David Bowie released his groundbreaking album The Rise and F all of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. With it landed Bowie's Stardust alter-ego: A glitter-clad, mascara-eyed, sexually-ambiguous persona who kicked down the boundaries between male and female, straight and gay, fact and fiction into one shifting and sparkling phenomenon of seventies self-expression. Together, Ziggy the album and Ziggy the stage spectacular propelled the softly spoken Londoner into one of the world's biggest stars. A key passenger on this glam trip into the stratosphere was fellow Londoner and photographer Mick Rock. Rock bonded with Bowie artistically and personally, immersed himself in the singer's inner circle, and, between 1972-1973, worked as Bowie's official photographer. This limited and numbered edition brings together the best of Rock's Bowie portfolio with spectacular stage shots as well as intimate backstage portraits. Pictures for press, album jackets, and stills from promo movies sit… Read More
Item Price
$3,500.00
William Morris letter with signature
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William Morris letter with signature

by Morris, William

  • Used
Condition
Used - Good+
Seller
Los Angeles, California
Item Price
$1,250.00

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Description:
London, 1876. Loose Page. Good+. William Morris letter with signature; by Morris, William. London: 1876. 7" x 4 1/2" (17.8 x 11.4 cm). Loose Page. [1] p. Description: "Madam, you have my permission to publish my song with the music to which you have set it, though I must say I do not think it suitable for that purpose. However that is your affair. I have not heard of this having been set to music before. I am M..., William Morris." Probably addressed to Mary Grant Carmichael (1851-1935) who made various compositions on the texts of Morris. Date: 14 January 1876 Condition overall: Good+.
Item Price
$1,250.00
Typed letter, signed, on Office of the Vice President letterhead, regarding Christian A. Herter, Jr.

Typed letter, signed, on Office of the Vice President letterhead, regarding Christian A. Herter, Jr.

by Nixon, Richard

  • Used
  • near fine
Condition
Used - Near Fine
Seller
Lansdowne, Pennsylvania
Item Price
$232.00

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Description:
Washington, D.C.: Office of the Vice President, 1953. Near Fine. 1 typed letter on Office of the Vice President letterhead with eagl watermark, signed by Richard Nixon, dated 7 July 1953. Nixon was sending forms to Bryan F. LaPlante, Chief, Washington Area Security Operations, Atomic Energy Commission, to obtain a "Q" clearance for Christian A. Herter, Jr., who was to join Nixon's staff. Bears stamp of the U. S. Atomic Energy Commission in lower corner. Christian A. Herter, Jr. (1919-2007), had served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives until his father, Christian A. Herter, Sr., was elected governor in 1953. Later that year he became an aide to Vice President Richard Nixon, travelling to Asia with him. In the 1960s he joined Mobil Oil, becoming Vice President in 1967. In 1970, then President Nixon appointed him deputy assistant secretary of state for environmental and population affairs. In Near Fine Condition: lightly creased; one small spot near left-hand edge; otherwise, clean… Read More
Item Price
$232.00
Correspondence from Julia Child to Beverly Jackson, with photographs and other materials
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Correspondence from Julia Child to Beverly Jackson, with photographs and other materials

by Child, Julia; Beverly Jackson

  • Used
Condition
Used
Seller
Item Price
$7,500.00

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Description:
[Santa Barbara ; Cambridge, 2003. A convolute of correspondence, photographs, and other materials documenting the relationship between American icon Julia Child, and Beverly Jackson, reporter, novelist, collector, and a legend of the social circles of Santa Barbara. The two were long time friends, and neighbors in Santa Barbara's Montecito. ~ Contents: Fifteen original notecards or postcards, typed or handwritten, signed by Julia Child; one TLS; one fax, and one TLS in photocopy. Some on Child's Montecito Shores, Santa Barbara stationery, some on notecards of Julia Child Productions (SB), and some on notecards from the Irving Street, Cambridge home. Most of the correspondence is short, polite, 'thanks you's' and quick inquiries, for visits, meals shared, etc. ~ Eight original photographs (various sizes & dates), including black and white press print by Alan Berliner (of Julia with Robert Mondavi and Robert Balzer); Julia with Reginald Faletti (1978) by Jackson; color snapshots of Julia in her… Read More
Item Price
$7,500.00
History of England.
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History of England.

by George Macaulay Trevelyan.

  • Used
  • good
  • Hardcover
Condition
Used - Good
Binding
Hardcover
Seller
Miller Place, New York
Item Price
$175.00

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Description:
55 Fifth Avenue New York; 19 Paternoster Row London; Toronto, Bombay, Calcutta and Madras: Longmans, Green and Co., 1926. Hardcover, red cloth boards. Good/No Jacket. Included is an ALS from Trevelyan to T. R. Smith (whose small nameplate is on the front pastedown) dated 7 May 1920 and written on a small piece of personal stationery from Pen Rose, Berkhamsted. It is a brief note acknowledging Smiths suggestion that Trevelyan write a history of England. Trevelyan states that he is currently working on other projects that will keep him busy for several years. In 1920, at the time of the enclosed letter from Trevelyan, Smith had recently left the editorship of the Century Magazine and taken over the editorial department at Boni & Liveright. Although he was not the only one to encourage Trevelyan in this direction, it must have been a source of satisfaction to Smith when History of England appeared some years later, and he kept the letter tucked into his own copy of Trevelyans book. G. M. Trevelyan,… Read More
Item Price
$175.00