News-Antique.com - Nov 30,-0001 - New York – Following the highly successful sales of The Forbes Collection of American Historical Documents, Part One and Two staged in 2002, Christie’s is pleased to offer Part Three on November 15. Primarily focused on Presidential letters and manuscripts, this third installment is expected to fetch between $4 – $6 million. The documents offered continue to stand as a testament to the late Malcolm Forbes’ passion for collecting and his exquisite eye for important Americana.
One of the principal lots offered this season is the most significant document in Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, the Emancipation Proclamation (Philadelphia: Frederick Leypoldt, June 6, 1864) (estimate: $650,000 – $850,000). The Proclamation has become one of the fundamental charters in American history, paving the way as it did for the 13th Amendment and the permanent abolition of slavery in the United States. The oversize document, signed by both President Lincoln and Secretary of State, William H. Seward, was printed in limited edition by two Philadelphia abolitionists who were dedicated to the cause of the Union. It is only one of approximately 15 surviving copies, most of which are in permanent public collections. In the last 40 years, only three copies have been offered at auction and the appearance of the Forbes copy will be a cause of great excitement in the community of manuscript collectors.
Along with Lincoln, many other major Civil War figures are represented in the sale, such as U. S. Grant, Robert E. Lee and most notably Julia Ward Howe, the poet and abolitionist who composed “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” The sale includes Howe’s original draft of that work (including a discarded stanza), which she composed in the night and early dawn of 18-19 November 1861 following a tour of Union army camps ($300,000 - $500,000). Howe was inspired by a wish to make
some kind of direct and meaningful contribution to the Union war effort. She succeeded famously.
Once her verses were published in the Atlantic Monthly and widely distributed as sheet music, her stirring words became the anthem of the Union cause and remain to this day the best known American hymn.
Malcolm Forbes had a perceptive eye for personal and revealing documents and correspondence, and several examples are represented in the sale, such as a grief-stricken Robert E. Lee writing to his son about the death of his most trusted and valued subordinate, Stonewall Jackson (estimate: $100,000 – $150,000). Ulysses S. Grant’s March 1865 letter to George Meade shows the tense state of the Union commander’s mind on the eve of victory (estimate: $18,000 – $25,000). A 1967 letter from then governor Ronald Reagan has the future president explaining his decision to approve California’s liberal abortion bill (estimate: $3,000 - $5,000). A particularly dramatic example is Theodore Roosevelt’s typescript of a speech he gave in Milwaukee in 1912. Before he could deliver it, a deranged bartender shot him, the bullet piercing the speech text in T. R.’s vest pocket. Fortunately for Roosevelt, the bullet was deflected