Important Letters and Signed Documents from Thomas A. Goldwasser Rare Books
Jefferson was not the only person with a lot of questions about the competition. Robert Fulton is noted as, if not the inventor, then at least the developer of the first successful steamboat. However, he had a keen eye on the competition, and in 1813, he wrote to John D. Delacy to inquire about problems encountered by rival Oliver Evans. Evans' engine had suffered a failure, and Fulton wanted to know, "what was the cause was it because there was not sufficient steam, how was the boiler made...what was the diameter of the cylinder, and length of the stroke...how much was paid for the engine, where is it now, was it to pump water? If so from what depth and how much..." And so on. Item 3. $8,000.
Item 85 is an unusual letter from Ernest Hemingway to his third mother-in-law, Edna Gellhorn. Mrs. Gellhorn's daughter, Martha, a war correspondent as was Hemingway, married the writer in 1940, but it was not a suitable marriage. Martha was devoted to her career as a journalist, spending long periods of time away from home reporting on the war. She was not one to live in anyone's shadow. Hemingway, on the other hand, was not one to share a spotlight, and was looking for his wife to fill a more traditional role. This letter was written in 1945, and it is a friendly letter to his mother-in-law despite the fact that Hemingway writes of his impending divorce from her daughter. According to Hemingway, it was Martha who wanted the split, and he was trying his best to accommodate her in a way as not to be hurtful to either party. Hemingway writes that he is trying to make it look as if he wanted the divorce, though it was the other way around, so as it make it easier for her. "I love you and respect you very much, Mother," writes Hemingway, "and it is not any particular fun to have to divorce Marty when the ordinary and normal thing, when she wanted her marriage terminated for whatever reason, would have been for her to divorce me." Presumably Mrs. Gellhorn was an understanding woman, either that or Hemingway was even more obtuse than we imagine, as he mentions his future fourth wife in the letter - "Mary has been helping me wonderfully..." $10,000.
Thornton Wilder did not appreciate his plays being performed in abridged versions. Apparently, such a version of Our Town was performed in Hamden, Connecticut, in 1950, and Wilder whips off a letter to a Mr. Van Delinder: "I don't believe novels or plays should ever be presented in fragment and if you were an author you'd feel so also. Please don't write and explain and defend yourself. There is no explanation or defense..." Item 149. $500.
Thomas A Goldwasser Rare Books may be reached at 415-292-4698 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The website is found at www.goldwasserbooks.com.
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