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REPRESENTING LITERATURE & POETRY
BRIARWOOD WRITERS' ALLIANCE CORRESPONDENCE AND PUBLICITY ARCHIVE. William "Bill" G. Thompson (American, 1922-2009) founded Briarwood Writers' Alliance in 1987 in Needham, MA. He was educated at Boston University and worked in radio and for RCA Victor records before entering into literary representation work with Lordly and Dame, a literary agency in Boston, during the 1970s through the 80s; after a few years he founded Briarwood and as its President represented more than 150 writers and poets - among them some Pulitzer and Nobel prize winners, and performers, booking lectures and readings at colleges and universities. His correspondence is lively and personable, and many of his letters close "Hastily," giving the impression of a bustling business and a a busy schedule juggling campus appearances, promoting poets and poetry, keeping abreast of publishing world news, and making sure his artists are happy and well taken care of as they make the rounds of lecture halls and ivy league faculty parties. Alphabetically his clients ranged from Chinua Achebe to Richard Wilbur. Besides copies of Thompson's correspondence, the individual files often contain a typed note and/or letter signed by the author, along with publicity photos, copies of reviews, etc. A complete list of the authors included in this archive is available upon request. $4,500.00
KATE GREENAWAY STRONGLY OBJECTS
GREENAWAY, Kate. AUTOGRAPH LETTER, SIGNED. Dated 26 October 1895: "Dear Madam, I am sorry to be unable to grant Your request for an interview -- but I have always made it a rule to refuse, as I strongly object to be interviewed. Yours truly, Kate Greenaway." Written on a single sheet of stationary, 6 by 4 1/4 in., with Greenaway's home address printed at the head, with a hand correction in ink. Attractively framed with a reproduction photograph of Greenaway in a double window rose-colored mat in gold frame, with small floral decoration in relief, whose overall dimensions are 10 by 12 1/2 in. $750.00
CRUIKSHANK, George. AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED. Nov. 4, 1847. to H.G. ADAMS Esq. 2 pages, 1 leaf discussing the publicaton of a poem, a portion of which Adams has sent to Cruikshank with the hope that Cruikshank can assist in its publication. Apparantly the poemsis on the same subject as that of Cruikshank's latest work A nice example. $425.00
UNPUBLISHED MANUSCRIPT TRANSLATION
MELI, Giovanni. BARKER, W. W., trans. THE COURTEOUS FAIRY and THE WORLD. Two Poems of the late John Meli in the Sicilian Dialect with biographical notes by the Abbe Contreras on the author; and the notes in the second edition of his works, to the poem of The World. Freely Translated into English Verse by W. W. Barker. Messina, 1815 to 1834. Quarto. 82ff. Manuscript in John Howard Payne's hand on lined paper. Beautifully bound in full walnut crushed morocco, intricately gilt, with five raised bands. Crushed green morocco doublures with wide walnut morocco dentelles, also intricately gilt. Silk moire endleaves. Slipcase. T.e.g. $5,500.00 #84438
Giovanni Meli (1740-1815) was a Sicilian physician, poet, essayist, and satirist from Cinisi, near Palermo. He held the chair in chemistry at the University of Palermo for twenty years, but his first love was Sicilian poetry. The Courteous Fairy ("La Fata Galanti") was his first substantial work in the Palermitan dialect, written at the age of 22, four years before his first published collection. Although much of Giovanni Meli's work has been translated into English and published, "La Fata Galanti" has yet to appear in print in English. The second title mentioned, "The World," would have probably been a translation of Meli's "L'Origini di lu Munnu," and is not actually included in the bound manuscript. William Wilton Barker (1769-1856) the translator, was the British consul in Messina. His wife was from Palermo, which could explain his proficiency in the Palermitan dialect.
The poem tells of a would-be poet who rescues a toad from a peasant. The toad reveals itself to be the Courteous Fairy in disguise. She offers him any favor he desires, and he asks for her help in becoming a poet. They travel on a winged horse to the Isle of Falsehood, the Isle of Medicine, Mount Parnassus, and more. His soul separates from his body to go to the Underworld and on his fabulous journey he meets numerous figures of literature, myth and antiquity, gently satirizing them all. Finally the Fairy advises him to give up poetry for more realistic pursuits, and reveals herself to be the creation of his own fancy.
John Howard Payne (1791 to 1852) was an American actor, playwright, and diplomat. Although discouraged by his family from entering the theater, he secretly published a journal of drama criticism while employed as an accountant. He had some success as an actor in New York, and then in London. He took to writing plays; among his triumphs were "Brutus, or the Fall of Tarquin" and "Therese, the Orphan of Genoa." His most famous song, "Home Sweet Home," he wrote in 1822 for an adaptation of an Italian operetta which he called "Clari, the Maid of Milan." Sometimes flush, but occasionally homeless or in debtor's prison, he was rarely paid sufficiently for his work. While in Paris he met and admired Mary Shelley, escorted her often to the theater, and corresponded with her from 1824 to 1831. She was more interested in his friend Washington Irving, who did not return her interest. He returned to the USA and made himself conspicuous by living with and writing a great deal on behalf of the Cherokees in Georgia in the years before the "Trail of Tears." In 1842 he was appointed USA ambassador to Tunis. He died there and his effects, including his papers, were stored in a damp warehouse by the port for many years, where much of the material disappeared. Eventually the remainder was returned to his family and dispersed. The item at hand contains a note dated 1929 recording that it was purchased "many years ago in Philadelphia."
Consulted: Brainard, Charles H. (Charles Henry), 1817-1885. Title: John Howard Payne; a biographical sketch of the author of "Home , sweet home" with a narrative of the removal of his remains from Tunis to Washington. By Charles H. Brainard. Illustrated. Boston, Cupples, Upham & Co., 1885.
Chiles, Rosa Pendleton. John Howard Payne: American Poet, Actor, Playwright, Consul and the Author of Home, Sweet Home. Reprinted from Vol. XXXI and XXXII of the Records of the Columbia Historical Society, Washington, DC, 1930.
Harrison, Gabriel, 1818-1902. Title: John Howard Payne, dramatist, poet, actor ... His life and writings, by Gabriel Harrison. Philadelphia, Lippincott, 1885.
Harrison, Gabriel, The life and writing of John Howard Payne. Albany, N.Y., J. Munsell, 1875.
WELLS, H.G. AUTOGRAPH LETTER, SIGNED & TYPED LETTER, SIGNED (latter with secretarial signature), to M.P. Shiel.
1. AUTOGRAPH LETTER, SIGNED on a single piece of stationery.
My dear Shiel,
(If I may be so familiar) It was very easy to be of some small service to you because I have always been a sincere admirer of your bold & vigorous work. Since those early nineties. 40 years ago. & more.
Yours, H.G. Wells
2. TYPED LETTER, SIGNED on one side of a single piece of lightly soiled stationery.
May 20th, 1937
My dear Shiel,
I've got your manuscript and letter and I began to read the first chapter of the former. I found it very interesting and then gave way to fatigue. The fact is at present I am scarcely existent mentally, I've got acute neuritis and I find it almost impossible to keep my attention steady on anything for more than five to ten minutes. Everybody says this will pass off presently but meanwhile I just cannot tackle the problems your book raises. My impression is that you've got something very important to say and that you have massed your evidence upon it instead of using supplements and notes so as to make it very difficult reading for the ordinary man of intelligence. What shall I do about it? I know someone who might show it to the Cresset Press and beyond that I cannot think of anything to further your desire for publication. What shall I do with the manuscript? Forgive this rambling letter. I've always regarded you as an outstanding and worthwhile writer.
H.G. Wells [secretarial signature]
Both pieces are creased for mailing, and are overall very good. For the two: $1,000.00 #38437 order or inquire
WITH BROCHURE: HELEN KELLER COMMITTEE ON THE DEAF-BLIND, AFB
KELLER, Helen. HELEN KELLER TYPED LETTER, SIGNED, 1946 ON PERSONAL LETTERHEAD. 1 folded 8 1/2 x 11" sheet, Helen Keller's personal stationery, addressed (with original stamped envelope) to a Mr. Bachand of Worcester, Massachusetts, and dated November 30, 1946. The letter, which is an entreaty for financial support for the newly formed Committee on the Deaf-Blind of the American Foundation for the Blind, refers to Mr. Bachand as "dear friend," and is signed in ink in Keller's hand. At the time, Keller had been working for the AFB for twenty years (as she reiterartes in the letter). The letter's eloquent appeal contains descriptions of the experience of being without sight or hearing. Note the following paragraph: "All your pleasure would vanish in a dreadful monotony of silent days. Even work, man's Divine heritage -- work that can bind up broken hearts -- would be lost to you. Family and friends might surround you with love, but consolation alone cannot restore usefulness, or bring release from that hardest prison -- a tomb of the mind and a dungeon of the body." The letter is creased but not terribly so. A small two-color brochure (not in Braille) soliciting funds is included, with the Board of Trustees of the Committee printed on the back. $675.00 #83532 order or inquire
SHAW, George Bernard. LETTER TO G. B. SHAW WITH HIS SIGNED MANUSCRIPT REPLY ON REVERSE, 1922. 8x10 inches, typed on letterhead of E. J. Larby, Ltd., London, "The Diary and Calendar Specialists." Brief letter announcing the publication in 1922 of a pamphlet, requesting Shaw's "brief expression of your own views on the proposal, with permission to publish the same." Larby published maps and touring guides, as well as books on leisure and sport; the author or name of the pamphlet is not given, and the pamphlet is not included (originally enclosed with letter). Judging by Shaw's handwritten reply on reverse he would prefer another calendar to the present one, "of the working of which I have nearly 66 years experience," and his wry note that since "my interest in the matter is the same as everybody else's I can see no obstacle to the change but pure inertia." Signed and dated 8/1/22. (The Larby letter is dated 29th December 1921.) $650.00 #80219 order or inquire
LARCOM, Lucy. AUTOGRAPH LETTER, SIGNED. Letter to Thomas Florian Currier, who was J.G. Whittier's next-door neighbor in Amesbury, on what became known as "Whittier's Hill." Currier's son, Thomas Franklin Currier, was Associate Librarian at Harvard University and was best known for his bibliography of Whittier. Whittier was Larcom's mentor. The "Horace" mentioned in the letter is Currier's brother, evidently wounded in a shooting accident.
Beverly Farms, Mass.
June 22, 1971
Dear Mr. Currier,
I am very much obliged to you for writing to me about Horace, as I had heard nothing since I called at the hospital. I think it is wise to keep him quiet and I should not wish to see him until it is perfectly safe, glad as I should be to be of service to him. But Mr. Whittier sent two notes to me, with the wish that I would call, so that I hardly knew what to do, until your note came. Horace had seemed to me like a younger brother, ever since I knew him, and I felt as anxious about the result of this accident as if we were really kin to each other. It was certainly a very strange accident! if such- and if a trial of skill, the young man might have chosen a less valuable target. It looks very badly, from every direction. but I am sincerely thankful that Horace is out of danger, and hope you will let me know when I can do anything for him.
Very truly yours,
The letter is on a single sheet, folded once, with text on two pages. It is creased thrice horizontally, and once more vertically. the last page is additionally signed by Larcom. Overall, very good. $325.00 #38406 order or inquire
SIGOURNEY, Lydia H., Mrs. AUTOGRAPH LETTER, SIGNED. A single sheet folded once at the center to form 4 pp., each 7 7/8 x 5 inches. The letter is dated Monday, April 29th (the year is not given) and is addressed to the author Mrs. [Louisa Caroline] Tuthill. The letter, a note of thanks on receiving a copy of one of Mrs. Tuthill's books, concludes: What you term with so much naivetté [sic] your "rye- field," must surely be titled my magic. That its produce may be nutritious to others, profitable to yourself, and acceptable to the Lord of the Harvest, is the wish of your friend, LHS. The letter is neatly creased from folding, with a short tear at one fold, else fine. $275.00 #65654 order or inquire
JAMESON, Anna. AUTOGRAPH LETTER, SIGNED. Three pages written on a single sheet (approximately 8 3/4 x 7 in.) folded once at the center to form four pages, and further creased for mailing. Written at Wootton Park and dated September 26, though without a year (however, the paper is watermarked and dated 1848), the letter acknowledges her receipt of a letter and her promise of advice and assistance when she returns home. It is signed "Believe me most truly yours, Anna Jameson." The fourth page, a blank, has glue residue at the corners, where the paper is slightly discolored; otherwise, it is a clean and legible letter. Anna Brownell Jameson (Irish, 1794-1860) produced many highly respected works, particularly of art history and criticism, biography, history, travel, and Shakespeare criticism. $125.00 #76061 order or inquire
HOLMES, Oliver Wendell, Sr. AUTOGRAPH LETTER, SIGNED. 17 lines, 1 1/2 pages, octavo. Written from Beverly Farms, [Massachusetts], September 19th, 1882, and addressed to the writer and editor H. E. Scudder. Holmes states that he is busy making arrangements for lectures at present and "had better not make any literary side- issues at this particular time..." In a postscript he asks "Who looked over the proofs of Miss Preston's article? p. 454. 'Fons Baudusiae splendidior bibro'! I was positively scared when I saw this mangling of an everyday quotation. I am afraid somebody will get hold of it and make it a handle for abuse." $750.00 #78618 order or inquire
BEAUREGARD, PIERRE G. T. AUTOGRAPH NOTE signed with envelope (1889). "I trust she may live | many years to give you | joy & remember the "teachings of early youth-" | I remain yrs very truly | G.T. Beauregard." Beauregard (1818-1893) was a Confederate General. $950.00 #78123 order or inquire
LETTERS FROM A CONFEDERATE GENERAL
JOHNSTON, General Joseph E., CSA. TWO AUTOGRAPH SIGNED LETTERS, dated 1/27/1886 and 3/13/1891, to a young lady. The first thanks her for her letter "in the stile of a young lady, from you who were a little girl in the days when I saw you often," and promises her a framed picture of him. (With traces of glue and a tear with small loss to back page, not affecting text. 2ff., 8x5"). The second assures her that both uniform buttons he has sent were intended for her. "Will washing them with gold hide the dirt of six or eight and twenty years? I am afraid not." (Fine. 2ff., 7x4.5"). Like Lee, Johnston (1807-1891) was a Virginian of Revolutionary ancestry, who attended West Point. He distinguished himself against the Indians in Florida, and during the Mexican-American War. When Virginia seceded he resigned his commission as Brigadier-General and joined the Confederate Army. According to the DAB he was famous for remaining undefeated: "he disliked risks." His pessimistic, or perhaps realistic, view of the strength of the enemy led him to propose an armistice in 1865. After the war he served one term in Congress, the Commissioner of Railroads. $875.00 #78105 order or inquire
SANTAYANA, George. AUTOGRAPH LETTER, SIGNED. A hand-written note, in ink, on a single sheet of water-marked stationary. 6 1/2 X 5 1/4." Sent form Paris, and dated August 25, 1928. It is addressed to Theodore Morrison (American poet, 1901-1988) and is a response to a letter from Morrison requesting a "human or poetical" piece for the "Atlantic Monthly" magazine. As Santayana explains in his polite refusal "...it is hard for me to separate the more agreeable from the more arid side of things, and I am afraid my poppies can grow only amidst the corn -- making both, perhaps, rather weedy..." It is signed "G. Santayana." The letter, folded once in the center for mailing, is very legible and very fine. $650.00 #63964 order or inquire
BERLIN, Irving. AUTOGRAPH. Signature, undated, in ink on blank sheet, 8" x 5". Very good; shows some creasing. $200.00 #45054 order or inquire
WORDSWORTH, William. A CLIPPED SIGNATURE of the popular Romantic poet. "Wm Wordsworth" boldly written in ink on a slip of paper (8.4 x 3.5 cm) and mounted on a slightly larger piece of paper. $750.00 #72631