Historic American Autographs from Joe Rubinfine
Item 20 is a manuscript 1883 subscription book for Science magazine, a soon to be published weekly scientific journal. The collection of signatures of those subscribing is remarkable. Among the 500-plus subscribers are the autographs of Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Abraham Lincoln's son Robert, Colorado River explorer John Wesley Powell, author Oliver Wendell Holmes (Sr.), and many other notable people. $3,500.
Speaking of Robert Lincoln, item 41 is a sad letter from him to Frank Hatton, who had served with him during the administration of President Chester Arthur. Lincoln acknowledges Hatton's condolences on the death of his only son, Abraham Lincoln II, known as "Jack." Robert was the President's only child to survive to adulthood, and when "Jack" died in 1890, it meant that the Lincoln name would not continue (Lincoln's line survived for a century through his granddaughters, but his last descendant died in 1985). $750.
General George Custer had something of a short fuse, which may have contributed to rash decision-making. He displays some of his anger in a letter written to Lt. Myles Moylan on July 26, 1870, concerning a telegram from the latter. In fact, his letter is written on the back of Moylan's telegram. Moylan had sent Custer a telegram requesting he pick up Lt. Henry Nowlan at the depot in the morning. However, the telegram did not arrive until that afternoon, presumably leaving poor Nowlan alone and without transportation. Custer's wrath is directed at the telegraph company -- "This is but a sample of the manner in which business is done at the ...telegraph office and this dispatch like many others should not be paid for." Item 15. $12,500.
Joe Rubinfine may be reached at 321-455-1666 or Joerubinfine@mindspring.com.