This next letter comes from a pioneer in the discovery of antiseptics, notably their use with surgery – Joseph Lister (Listerine is named in his “honor”). The year was 1893 when Lister wrote to Archibald Geikie, a noted Scottish geologist, that the name of James Crichton-Browne was on the ballot for membership in the Athenaeum. Crichton-Browne certainly had the credentials, being a member of the Royal Society and various other prestigious organizations, as well as having been knighted by Queen Victoria seven years earlier. He is noted in particular for his work in psychiatry. Still, Lister heard that political and judicial leader Sir John Coleridge was inducing other members to blackball Crichton-Browne, the reason being he refused to condemn vivisection (experimentation on living animals). We do not know whether Coleridge actually attempted to blackball Crichton-Browne, but if so, he was not successful. Crichton-Browne shows up on the records of the Athenaeum Club of London as having obtained membership in 1893. $775.
Next is a full-length signed photograph from silent film actress Theda Bara. She was one of the most successful actresses of the silent era. Her “vamp” image certainly attracted the men, and some regard her as the first sex symbol of film. However, after her five-year contract with Fox expired in 1919, she practically removed herself from film. She married a director in 1921, and made only two more movies after that. She never appeared in a talking film, and all but six of her 40 films were destroyed in a major fire at the Fox studio in 1937. She has signed this photograph and written in French, “Tres sincerement” (very sincerely). Theda was American (born Theodosia Goodman) but the studio portrayed her as having come from France, thinking this added some mystery and class to her image. $850.