Hope you can join us on November 29, 2023!

    University Archives will hold its next sale on November 29, 2023. Rare Autographs, Manuscripts, Books & Sports includes over 470 lots relating to U.S. Presidents & First Families, Early America, Science, Literature, World Leaders, Music, Military, Art, Civil Rights, Religion, Aviation & Space, Sports, and many other specialized categories. Mark your calendars, as this will be your last opportunity to buy historical holiday gifts!

    U.S. Presidents & First Families

    Lot 1 is a poignant letter signed by John Adams addressed to his granddaughter, Elizabeth Coombs Adams, from 1822. When prompted to offer her life advice, the 87-year-old former President wrote: “Virtue and Happiness are so intimately connected…neither can exist without the other.” Adams urged his granddaughter to emulate both Ancient and Christian models to live her best and happiest life. A very sweet document demonstrating the strength of intergenerational family bonds, and just one lot of several in our November sale relating to presidential kinship.

    Lot 1, John Adams LS

    Lot 49 is an autograph letter signed by Abraham Lincoln regarding recently manumitted African American slaves, “the freed-men in Gen. Grant’s Department.” It is one of few Lincoln letters with slave content that remain in private hands. In the letter dated July 22, 1863, just two weeks after the pivotal Battle of Gettysburg, Lincoln mentions John Eaton, Jr. and James M. McKaye, two men tasked with investigating the condition of recently liberated slaves. Many more items relating to Lincoln’s family, political career, presidency, and assassination will also be offered.

    Lot 108 is a June 14, 1790 document boldly signed by George Washington, with a scarce printed “George Washington” heading. One of the earliest examples of a Washington presidential appointment, the document confirmed the promotion of Declaration Signer William Ellery. The item has a direct chain of custody to a direct descendant of William Ellery, William Ellery Loring. Washington appointments of other Founding Fathers are extremely desirable.

    Early America

    Our November sale includes exceptional autographed material by John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams, many Declaration of Independence signers, the Revolutionary War, and Colonial New York and Massachusetts. Lot 243 is a handsome document signed by Benjamin Franklin in his role as President of the Supreme Council of Pennsylvania, dated August 29, 1787, authorizing a 500-acre land grant in Westmoreland County. Franklin was concurrently serving as a Pennsylvania delegate to the Constitutional Convention, and he would sign the new Federal Constitution just three weeks later.

    Lot 243, Benjamin Franklin DS

    Lot 249 is a document signed by John Hancock on July 1, 1775, just two weeks after the Battle of Bunker Hill, appointing Crispus Graves as an Ensign under Col. Phinney’s command, “in the Army of the United Colonies, raised for Defense of American Liberty, and for repelling every hostile Invasion thereof…”

    Lot 277 is a muster roll of Capt. Hugh Maxwell’s Company, which served at Valley Forge, dated November 2, 1778. One of the 54 privates and officers named on the roll is an African American private named Catto Gray of Pelham, Massachusetts. Gray was one of many African American soldiers in the Continental Army who served side by side with White Patriots in combat duty.


    Lot 447 is a vintage sepia-colored photograph of Albert Einstein after Trude Fleischmann, signed and dedicated by Einstein to “Mrs. Leonore Marshall” in 1954. Like Einstein, Leonore Marshall expressed grave reservations about the potential dangers that could be unleashed by the development of the Atomic Bomb. Marshall co-founded the Committee for a Saner Nuclear Policy in 1956 and was a founding co-director of the Committee for Nuclear Responsibility in 1971. Our November sale also includes an autograph manuscript by Einstein relating to his Unified Field Theory and triangle theorems.

    Lot 451 is an exceedingly rare autograph document signed by Immanuel Kant in his capacity as Full Professor of Logic and Metaphysics at the University of Königsberg in east Prussia. The document dated September 8, 1793 certified that Kant’s student, Johann Erhard Sigismund Jester, had successfully completed Professor Kant’s Logic course. The same year, Kant published a treatise condemning some of the less logical aspects of organized religion.

    Marvelous Miscellany

    Lot 289 is the lyrics to “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” handwritten by Bob Dylan, ca. 2009, on a leaf of “The Carlyle” hotel stationery. The song was featured in the 1973 movie, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid,and enjoyed tremendous popular and commercial success. Accompanied by a COA from Jeff Rosen, Dylan’s manager.

    Lot 289, Bob Dylan signed handwritten lyrics

    Lot 400 is a fair copy in Russian of one of Sergei Esenin’s poems, ca. August 1925, whose translated title is “Foolish Heart, Don’t Beat.” Autographed material belonging to Esenin, known affectionately as the “Hooligan Poet,” is extremely rare because the poet died young. He committed suicide in December 1925, just months after penning this manuscript. Other well-known authors featured in our November sale include Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, J.D. Salinger, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Toni Morrison, and many more.

    Lot 370 is a superb 4-volume set of Marlborough: His Life and Times, signed by its author, Winston Churchill, in Vol. I as “Inscribed by / Winston S. Churchill.” The epic biography retells the splendid history of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, hero of the War of the Spanish Succession and Churchill’s ancestor. The volumes are sumptuously bound by Sangorski & Sutcliffe.

    Lot 350 is a series of U.S. decoration ribbons personally owned and worn by George S. Patton, Jr., housed in a CAG jumbo holder.

    These are just a few of the unique lots that will be offered in our November sale. We hope to see you there!

    Our New Year’s sale is tentatively scheduled for January 10, 2024.