Belle Boyd Document Signed and Three Photographs. ...Click the image to load the highest resolution version.
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DescriptionBelle Boyd Document Signed and Three Photographs. One page, 6.5" x 3", Richmond; March 28, 1864. A receipt acknowledging that Boyd received $500 in gold from William Bromwell, Disbursing Clerk of the Department of State. Boyd was paid "on a/c of my expenses as bearer of dispatches for the Dept. of State." Signed "Belle Boyd." This is the only known document signed by Boyd, and is especially significant because it directly relates to her career as a spy for the Confederacy. This very document first came to auction in the late 1990s and was sold for $8,937 - the same price listed in the 2003 Sanders Price Guide to Autographs suggesting that it is the only one of its kind. No additional auction records for another Boyd Document Signed can be found.
Accompanied by three unmounted studio portraits of Boyd, measuring approximately 2.5" x 3.5", dressed in two different dresses. In the first photograph, she is seated and wearing a white ruffled dress with a long train. In the other two photographs, Boyd is wearing a dark colored dress with white lace accents; in one, she is seated and the other she is standing while holding onto the back of the chair. All three portraits were taken at Brady's Washington, D.C. Gallery, circa mid-1860s.
One of the most famous and notorious of Confederate spies, Isabella Marie Boyd (1843-1900) became a spy at the age of seventeen, serving the Confederate forces in the Shenandoah Valley from her father's hotel in Front Royal, Virginia. During the spring 1862 Valley Campaign, she became a courier and provided valuable information to Generals Turner Ashby and Stonewall Jackson. A bold and daring young woman, Belle, at times, galloped headlong into the dark with cipher messages and even crept into rooms to eavesdrop on Union Army conferences. General Jackson made her a captain and honorary aide-de-camp on his staff. After being betrayed by her lover, she was arrested on July 29, 1862, and spent a month in the Old Capitol Prison in Washington. Following her exchange, she lived in exile with relatives for a time, but was again arrested in June 1863 while on a visit to her birthplace, Martinsburg, now West Virginia. On December 1, 1863, she was released, suffering from typhoid, and went to Europe to regain her health. While in England, Belle had a stage career and published "Belle Boyd in Camp and Prison." She died while touring the western United States. From the Bret J. Formichi American Civil War Rarities Collection.
Condition: The receipt has flattened folds and has light spotting throughout. There is an area of blue soiling at the upper left corner. On the top edge on verso are mounting remnants, along with red staining throughout. All three portraits have varying degrees of silvering. Some minor imperfections and scratches. Mounting remnants on verso of each. "Belle Boyd" is written in pencil on the verso of one.
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