We will start with some very early writing from Truman Capote. This piece is undated, but it looks like a school English assignment. However, it is prescient of the career that awaited Capote in the years ahead. At the top of the sheet, he has written, "English, Capote," and in the center of the page added the heading, "Book Slogan." The slogan follows: "The Foundation of a nation is built on books." That's appropriate for someone who would go on to be one of his nation's most notable writers. Item 8. Priced at $750.
Item 20 is an early letter from Harlem Renaissance poet and writer Langston Hughes. It comes from 1925, when the 23-year-old Hughes was living in Washington with his mother. Hughes was running a poetry reading, with an interlude for a blues musician. Hughes notes in his letter that the blues "relieves the monotony of so much reading… Poetry recitals are usually such darn dull affairs…" Hughes was just starting to make a name for himself through his poetry at the time, but still had to deal with money issues, as it did not yet provide a living. So when he was short on cash, Hughes would work as a busboy at a hotel. His letter continues, "I've gone back to bussing dishes again. Had to. Rent day came, passed, and has been long gone and I haven't yet paid the lady." However, he adds that he has offers now to read in Baltimore, Cleveland, and New York. $1,500.
Item 23 is a signed document in Russian promoting better libraries in the Soviet Union. The author is Nadezhda Krupskaya, and if that name doesn't ring a bell, she was Mrs. Lenin. She and the future Soviet leader were married in 1898, perhaps more for revolutionary ideals that personal passion. She would follow him both to imprisonment in Siberia and exile in England. She would be appointed to various educational posts after the revolution, the last as Deputy Minister of Education from 1929 until her death in 1939. She would also hold various positions in the Communist Party, and her support of Stalin over Trotsky after her husband died enabled her to avoid the fate of so many other party officials who either crossed Stalin, or whom Stalin believed might pose some sort of threat to him. This letter speaks of ways of improving libraries, adding more books, and teaching people how to make use of libraries. It is all good stuff, but Krupskaya must have kept a blind eye to the horrible things going on around her in Stalin's Russia while she wrote of these nobler ideals. $2,000.
Item 4 is a signed transcript of Face the Nation from March 25, 1979. The signer is the interviewee, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. This interview came at a historic moment. Begin was preparing to sign a peace treaty with President Anwar Sadat of Egypt, a treaty still in effect today, which greatly reduced the threat of war in the Middle East. Unfortunately, not a great deal else has been achieved on the Middle Eastern peace front since then. Begin answers questions of the time, some eerily similar to the issues still faced today. Begin responds to whether he wants the PLO to recognize Israel's right to exist, saying he doesn't want it. "We have had the right to exist for the last 4,000 years," he explains. On the issue of abandoning settlements in Sinai, Begin responds that it is more important to have peace than for settlers to remain in their Sinai homes. $850.