University Archives is excited to announce its upcoming sale, Rare Books, Autographs, Manuscripts & Photos, on May 4, 2022

    University Archives is excited to announce its upcoming sale, Rare Books, Autographs, Manuscripts & Photos, on May 4, 2022. The 410+ lot sale will feature an impressive array of rare books, letters, documents, photos, ephemera, and relics. Highlights from the Presidential, World Leaders, Science, Music, Literature, Civil Rights, and Notorious collecting categories will draw significant interest.

    Presidential & World Leaders

    Our May sale includes outstanding autographed material from some of history’s best-known political leaders, including U.S. Presidents Thomas Jefferson and Ronald Reagan, and world leaders like Winston Churchill. President Thomas Jefferson boldly signed a naval appointment dated May 22, 1801 promoting Joshua Blake to the rank of lieutenant following the Quasi-War with France. Just three years later, Blake would be accused of cowardice during the Barbary Wars; he was later arrested and court-martialed after challenging his commanding officer to a duel. President Ronald Reagan wrote former British Prime Minister Lord Harold Wilson in April 1985 thanking him for his continued support of the Reagan administration and the United States in general. Reagan reiterates his commitment to the Anglo-American “Special Relationship” foreign policy position in this superlative 1p typed letter signed on White House stationery. Prime Minister Winston Churchill signed and presented a vintage photograph portrait in March 1945, the same month he triumphantly crossed the Rhine River following the Allied success of Operation Plunder. Exceptional items from world leaders Catherine de Medici, Moshe Dayan, Mikhail Gorbachev, Fidel Castro, Jawaharlal Nehru, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Yasser Arafat will also be offered.


    Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Watson & Crick, Thomas A. Edison, Max Planck, and Otto Hahn are just a few of the notables headlining our Science category. In an intriguing 1p typed letter signed by Albert Einstein, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist answered questions posed by a science fiction writer about whether intergalactic space travel was limited by the speed of light. Einstein evaluated the question according to both general theory and the theory of special relativity in this highly nuanced response that remains one of Einstein’s best technical expositions in English. Einstein wrote a 1p signed autograph letter in German to his English translator Ruth Norden about the worsening political and military outlook in Europe around 1937, juxtaposing it with the tranquility of the United States, stating, “When one thinks of Europe, one appreciates America!” Charles Darwin, in a superb 1p autograph letter signed with his full name “Charles Darwin,” discussed one of the five key elements of natural selection: hereditary traits. The idea that quirky, involuntary gestures could be transmitted from generation to generation had fascinated Darwin since his 1872 “The Expression of the Emotions of Man and Animals.” In this treatise, Darwin shared an anecdote about a man’s habit of raising his arm during sleep being passed down to his son and granddaughter. Medicine, archaeology, and computer technology round out our robust Science category.


    Highly desirable items of music history, complete with provenance, will also cross the auction block. The lyrics to Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man,” one of the most important songs from his 1965 album “Bringing It All Back Home,” were handwritten on a leaf of “The Ritz-Carlton” hotel stationery, and signed by him as “Bob Dylan 2009.” The lyrics are accompanied by a Jeff Rosen Certificate of Authenticity. Nirvana band members Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl, and Krist Novoselic boldly signed an “Insecticide” CD jacket in blue felt tip marker. The signatures were collected by intrepid autograph collector John Brennan, and are accompanied by a Letter of Authenticity by Beckett Authentication Services. George Gershwin, The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, and other musical legends are also well-represented.

    There are many more fabulous things to discover in our May sale, Rare Books, Autographs, Manuscripts & Photos. We hope you can join us!

    --John Reznikoff