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Lot 10. Autographs is a collection of 11 autographs. Louise Harlow explored who were the people behind the signatures.

George William Curtis

Curtis, the son of George and Mary Elizabeth (Burrill) Curtis, was born in Providence on February 24, 1824,[2] and his mother died when he was two. His maternal grandfather, James Burrill Jr., served in the United States Senate representing Rhode Island from 1817 to 1820.

At six he was sent with his elder brother to school in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, where he remained for five years. Then, his father having again married happily, the boys were brought home to Providence, where they stayed till, in around 1839, their father moved to New York. Three years later, Curtis, fell in sympathy with the spirit of the so-called Transcendental movement. He joined the communal experiment known as Brook Farm from 1842 to 1843. He was accompanied by his brother, James Burrill Curtis, whose influence on him was strong and helpful. He remained there for two years, and met many interesting men and women. Then came two years, passed partly in New York, partly in Concord, Massachusetts, in order mainly to be in the friendly neighborhood of Emerson, and then followed four years spent in Europe, Egypt and Syria. He married Anna Shaw Curtis at the Unitarian Church of the Redeemer in 1856. Curtis, another New England transplant to Staten Island, was an author, editor of Putnam’s Magazine, and columnist for Harper’s. He was an abolitionist and supporter of civil rights for African Americans and Native Americans. He also advocated women’s suffrage, civil service reform, and public education. Curtis was a Founding Member of the Unitarian Church of Staten Island, originally, the Unitarian Church of the Redeemer. The Underground Railroad was in use during this time to help runaway slaves, and it is believed that the Curtsies’ and the Shaw’s were very involved in this effort. The Shaw sisters, Anna and Josephine, and their mother, Sarah Sturgis, also spearheaded local efforts to help the war effort. George Curtis was targeted by Southern sympathizers and, during the draft riots in NYC during 1863, Anna and her three children left Staten Island temporarily for the safety of her grandparents’ home in Roxbury Massachusetts. The Curtis and Shaw families, rooted as they were in the liberal soil of New England, counted among their close associates Emerson, Hawthorne and Thoreau.


The son of John McFee and Hilda Wallace McFee,[1] he was born (as was his sister) on the Erin’s Isle,[2] a three-masted ship owned by his father, a sea captain, in London, England.[3] The McFee family lived in New Southgate, a northern suburb of London.

In addition to books, he also wrote reviews for The New York Sun and The New York Times. One of his reviews was for Save Me the Waltz by Zelda Fitzgerald, in which he said, “In this book, with all its crudity of conception, its ruthless purloining of technical tricks and its pathetic striving after philosophic profundity, there is the promise of a new and vigorous personality in fiction.” Fitzgerald said that of all the negative reviews of her book, his “was at least intelligible.”[7]

McFee’s works included In the First Watch, an autobiography, published by Random House of Canada in 1946.[8] He wrote several collections of reminiscences; his hobby was making ship models.


This autograph is from a letter to Mr. Butterworth, from Will Carelton, asking for his manuscript for his story The Peacock and the Sea to be returned to him.  Which was indeed the case, as the story was published in Harper’s Young People on May 1, 1883.

Butterworth was also an author of Children’s stories and poems.


After graduating from college in 1869, Carleton first worked as a newspaper journalist in Hillsdale. He had been in the habit of writing poetry as a youngster. His first significant work published was “Betsy and I Are Out”, a tale of a divorce that was first published in the Toledo Blade, and reprinted by Harper’s Weekly. Carleton wrote this poem at the age of 25, when he worked as editor of the Detroit Weekly Tribune.[3] In 1872 he published “Over the Hill to the Poor House”, exploring the plight of the aged and those with indifferent families. This piece captured national attention and catapulted Carleton into literary prominence—a position he held the rest of his life as he continued to write and to lecture from coast to coast”


Born in Portland, Maine, Kellogg was the son of a minister and missionary to local Native Americans. He graduated from Bowdoin College in 1840 and Andover Theological Seminary. Kellogg served as a minister of the church in Harpswell, Maine 1844–54, as chaplain of the Boston Seaman’s Friend Society and pastor of the Mariners’ Church of Boston 1855–1865; and ended his life as minister of the church in Topsham, Maine from 1871 until his death in 1901

Kellogg began writing children’s books in the 1860s, and was highly productive. While he is best known to students of rhetoric as the author of the once-popular monologue “Spartacus to the Gladiators at Capua” (written for a student competition while he was still an undergraduate at Bowdoin), he later produced several series of books.


In a letter of introduction, Cozzens asks his friends on the west coast to meet his friend Dr. Frank Reynolds, whom he recommends highly.

Cozzens was born in New York City on 5 March 1818In early life, he became a wine merchant. Beginning in 1854, he was the proprietor and editor of Cozzens’ Wine Press, a magazine on the culture of wine. In its issues, which he ran until 1861, he particularly promoted American wines.

Cozzens had previously contributed humorous poems and articles to magazines, and in 1853 he issued his first volume, Prismatics, under the pen name “Richard Haywarde”. Then came The Sparrowgrass Papers, first published in The Knickerbocker, and collected in book form in 1856. The book, which was immediately popular and also published under the name Haywarde, followed a family that moved from New York City to the countryside in Yonkers. Three years later (1859) he published a volume of travel sketches, Acadia; or a Sojourn among the Blue Noses. The book reported on the difficulties of blacks who settled in Nova Scotia along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.

His other works include Poems(1867) and a Memorial of Fitz-Greene Halleck (1868). He was married with Susan (Meyers) Cozzens and was the father of the marine artist Fred S. Cozzens (1846-1928)

Sylvanus Cobb Jr. (June 5, 1823 – July 20, 1887) was an American writer of popular fiction during the mid-19th century. His work was published in the New York Ledger, The Flag of Our Union, The Weekly Novelette, Gleason’s Pictorial Drawing Room Companion,  The Weekly Novelette,  and elsewhere.
Cobb wrote prolifically. He “wrote and sold no less than 120 novels, more than 800 short stories, and found time to prepare some 90,000 manuscript pages of short items to pad out the columns of … weeklies.” Some say he sacrificed quality for quantity. According to one biographer, “Mr. Cobb was a fluent writer, who spent little time in perfecting his style. As he summed up his work he wrote in the 31 years that he contributed to the New York Ledger 89,544 large pages of manuscript.”[5] Others evaluated Cobb as “a prolific writer of sensational tales quite without literary value.
Several of his stories were adapted for the stage, including “The Mystic Bride.” His “stories were reprinted many times by other publishers including Street & Smith (Columbia Library); Beadle & Adams; Frederic A. Brady; Elliott, Thomes & Talbot; George W. Studley; Ogilvie (Detective Series); and Donahue (Flashlight Detective Series).”

Around 1869, Cobb relocated to Hyde Park Boston where he lived until his death in 1887. “Mr. Cobb amassed a large fortune by his pen, and built himself a handsome house at Hyde Park. His study was situated in a remote corner of the house in a tower built exclusively for his convenience. There he wrote uninterrupted, surrounded by all the curious odds and ends that he had picked up during his life.


William Henry Harrison Murray (1840–1904), also known as Adirondack Murray, was an American clergyman and author of an influential series of articles and books which popularized the Adirondack Mountains in Upstate New York. He became known as the father of the Outdoor Movement.

He served as pastor of Park Street Church in Boston from 1868 to 1874. He also delivered Sunday evening lectures about the Adirondacks in a Boston music-hall that proved highly popular, and he published a series of articles based on the lectures in a Meriden newspaper. In 1869, they were published as a book, Adventures in the Wilderness; or, Camp-Life in the Adirondacks.

The literary tone of the book made it extremely successful; it went through eight printings in its first year. Murray promoted New York‘s north woods as health-giving and spirit-enhancing, claiming that the rustic nobility typical of Adirondack woodsmen came from their intimacy with wilderness. A subsequent printing, subtitled Tourist’s Edition, included maps of the region and train schedules from various Eastern cities to the Adirondacks.

Although the book was to become one of the most influential books in the conservation movement of the 19th century, paradoxically, within five years it led to the building of over 200 “Great Camps” in the Adirondacks; “Murray’s Fools” poured into the wilderness each weekend, packing specially scheduled railroad trains. The book is cited as changing common parlance to use “vacation” instead of the British “holiday” for people vacating their city homes.



Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr (March 29, 1831 – March 10, 1919) was a British novelist and teacher.[1] Her career is an illustration of the capacity of woman under stress of sorrow to conquer the world and be successful. 

 E. Barr was the second daughter of a Methodist clergyman. The family moved several times during her childhood, and she attended various small private schools. When she was just sixteen she felt the need to help the family financially, and after two years of teaching she entered a normal school in Glasgow. Here she fell in love with a prosperous young merchant and married him.

In 1853 her husband was forced to declare bankruptcy, and a little later, in an effort to establish himself again, brought his wife and growing family to the United States. After living in several cities, the Barr’s settled in Galveston, Texas, which appeared to her to be the promised land, as she extolled it in several of her works. In 1867 her husband and three sons died of yellow fever, and in 1868, with the three surviving children, all daughters, Barr moved to New York City. For 19 months she was a governess in New Jersey, where she began her writing career. For the rest of her life she wrote steadily and became quite successful.

Her industry was remarkable. It is said that at the end of her life she herself had lost count of how many books she had produced. The National Union Catalog lists more than 75 works. In addition, she contributed a large number of short stories and essays to such periodicals as the Christian Union, the Illustrated Christian WeeklyHarper’s WeeklyHarper’s BazaarFrank Leslie‘s Magazine, and the Advance. Her verses alone netted her a $1,000 a year for 15 years and were reprinted widely in periodicals. Most amazing, perhaps, is her endurance. Up to the time of her death at eighty-eight she was writing fiction not perceptibly inferior to what she had done in her prime.

Barr was a woman of firm character and decided opinions. An extremely religious person, from her earliest years she believed she had psychic powers and was convinced her dreams foretold the future. Later she became an ardent believer in reincarnation. Additionally, she had strong convictions about the position of women. Her views on this occur again and again in her autobiography, All the Days of My Life (1913). “All my life long,” she says, “I have been sensible of the injustice constantly done to women.” In one place she remarks caustically that to a man his children are much more valuable than his wife; the former are of his flesh, but the latter is not, and can easily be replaced. It was a matter of course that she would applaud the efforts of the suffragettes, for whom she had nothing but praise.

She was genuinely interested in history, and many of her novels have carefully researched historical backgrounds. One reviewer praised her use of historical data: “Mrs. Barr is very skillful in correlating the interests of the past and present. Not only do the incidents presage the situation of today, but the characters blend in themselves the quaintness of the long ago and the universality of all peoples.” Another critic said that her fiction may be read for its historical data alone.

In spite of her use of historical facts, however, Barr’s work was not destined to last—it is too floridly romantic, too sentimental. One critic called it “extremely superficial,” and Barr’s own theory of fiction seems to bear him out: “I have always found myself unable to make evil triumphant. Truly, in real life it is apparently so, but if fiction does not show us a better life than reality, what is the good of it?”

Barr’s personality, high-strung and fanatical though it was, is of more interest than her writings. Her existence was one of exhausting labor, many trials, and many sorrows (of her six children, only three lived to grow up, and one of these was mentally unbalanced). Yet she retained an eager enthusiasm for living up to the very end.

Above her autograph she states simply



Samuel Griswold Goodrich (August 19, 1793 – May 9, 1860) was an American author who often wrote under the name Peter Parley. 

 From 1816 to 1822 he was a bookseller and publisher in Hartford. He visited Europe from 1823 to 1824, and moved to Boston in 1826. In 1833 he bought 45 acres and built a home in what is now Jamaica Plain. There he continued in the publishing business, and from 1828 to 1842 published an illustrated annual, The Token, to which he was a frequent contributor both in prose and verse. A selection from these contributions was published in 1841 under the title Sketches from a Students WindowThe Token also contained some of the earliest work of Nathaniel HawthorneNathaniel Parker WillisHenry Wadsworth Longfellow and Lydia Maria Child. In 1841 he established Merry’s Museum, which he continued to edit till 1854.Goodrich was associated with his brother Charles A. Goodrich in writing books for the young. His series, beginning in 1827 under the name of Peter Parley, embraced geography, biography, history, science and miscellaneous tales. Of these he was the sole author of only a few, but in 1857 he wrote that he was the author and editor of about 170 volumes, and that about seven million had been sold. An English writer, George Mogridge, also used the name Peter Parley, raising objections from Goodrich, who had the prior claim

 1857 he published Recollections of a Lifetime, which contains a list both of the works of which he was the author or editor and of the spurious works published under his name. By his writings and publications he amassed a large fortune.

 The Archives and Special Collections at Amherst College holds a collection of his papers.



Richard Storrs Willis (February 10, 1819 – May 10, 1900) was an American composer, mainly of hymn music. His best known melody is probably the one called, simply, Carol. This is the standard tune, in the United States, though not in Great Britain, of the much-loved hymn “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear” (1850), with lyrics by Edmund Sears. He was also a music critic and journal editor.



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