Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Charles Dickens Autograph Letter Signed "Charles Dickens". Two pages of a bifolium, 4.75" x 7.25", "Carlton House, New York"; March 4, 1842. The letter is addressed to George W. Putnam, who had been appointed as Dickens' personal secretary during his first visit to the United States. Dickens wrote to solidify details of his tour, and to make sure that his whereabouts were not widely publicized so as to limit the number of people at each stop. He writes, in full:

    "Mrs. Dickens is better; and we shall come on - without fail, I hope - by the 5 o'clock train tomorrow (Saturday). Pray do not on any account lead anyone to suppose that I shall remain in Philadelphia more than two days. We cannot make time, and must go forward. I do not think now, that I shall make any half in Baltimore; a I am assured by those who know the place, that if we do not proceed to Charleston with all possible dispatch, we shall find the heat most oppressive and uncomfortable. Do not talk about our movements, except so far as Philadelphia is concerned, to anybody. I have so thoroughly enjoyed the quiet I have had here for the last two or three days (owing to it having been generally supposed that I left New York on Monday), that I am more anxious than ever to travel peaceably. I received your letter this morning. They have moved us into a room looking upon Broadway, which is more cheerful and gay than our old one; to say nothing of it having a decent chimney, which the smoke goes up, instead of coming down. You had better give our Philadelphia landlord notice of our movements - I mean of our intention to leave on Wednesday morning. Don't let our coming be passed about, so that there may be no more people at the depot than there usually are."

    At the height of his popularity, Charles Dickens set sail for America to get a first-hand view of the young country. He arrived first in Boston, and was met with a mob of fans. Although he relished the popularity, the multiple engagements and constant socializing soon took a toll on the author. From then on, Dickens was keen to make his schedule private as he set about seeing the oddities of America. He visited prisons, asylums, schools for the deaf and blind, as well as going to the South in order to see slavery with his own eyes. The trip lasted four months, and at the conclusion, a somewhat disappointed Dickens returned to England and penned American Notes, which voiced his experiences while in the United States.

    The Dickens letter is accompanied by its original transmittal cover, which has also been signed "Charles Dickens", as well as by a letter of provenance from George Putnam. The short letter reads, in full: "Letter from Charles Dickens received by me in Philadelphia in the year 1842. George W. Putnam. Please acknowledge receipt of this & oblige. G.W.P."

    Condition: Usual mail folds, with some light toning. Overall very good.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2018
    25th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 562

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $250,000 (minimum $49), plus 20% of any amount between $250,000 and $2,500,000, plus 12% of any amount over $2,500,000 per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2020 September 14 - 15 Americana & Political.

    Learn about consigning with us

    Heritage Auctions and Mr. Chad Reingold were...professional and courteous in all transactions and provided outstanding service in answering my many emails. I recommend them at the highest level.
    Killy M.,
    Melbourne Beach, FL
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    The Collection of James Kwis Leonard Internet Rare Books Auction
    The Collection of James Kwis Leonard Internet Rare Books Auction
    REALIZED SO FAR $300,884