Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    (Saint Patrick's Cathedral) Archbishop John Hughes printed Circular Letter Signed "John Hughes Abp of N. York". Four pages, 8.5" x 10.5", New York, June 14, 1858 soliciting funds for Saint Patrick's Cathedral on Fifth Avenue in New York City. The letter reads, in small part: "The Archbishop of New York begs leave to apprise you that he will have the honor to call upon you personally, at the earliest opportunity, in reference to the great New St. Patricks Cathedral to be erected on the block bounded by 5th Avenue, West, and Madison Avenue East and between 50th & 51st Streets..." The notion of constructing such an enormous and expensive building on what was then the far outskirts of the City was labeled by the public as "Hughes' folly". Hughes, who possessed more foresight than his critics, hoped "to erect a Cathedral...that may be worthy of our increasing numbers, intelligence and wealth, as a religious community, - and at all events worthy as a public architectural monument of the present and prospective greatness of this metropolis of the American Continent..." Though he believed that the goal of completing the great monument was "not doubtful... its triumphant accomplishment will depend, in a great measure... from those to whom I have the honor of addressing this letter. The object of it is to ascertain whether there are not in my diocese, or rather, in the city of New-York itself, One hundred persons who will subscribe One thousand dollars each..." This was to be the beginning of a long fund-raising process with the " pay as we proceed up to the amount of Half-a-million of dollars; and if, at that point it should be necessary to obtain, on loan, Two, or Three hundred thousand dollars, I do not think that this need frighten any one. But I should not wish it to be consecrated in my life time until it is finished from the foundation-stone to the top of the cross of the uplifted spires..." Although the foundation stone was laid that summer, the construction ultimately took 30 years. Sadly, Hughes died in 1864, unable to see the completion of his great work. Saint Patrick's Cathedral was dedicated on May 25, 1879. Glue remnants along right margin of final page, usual folds, else fine condition. A wonderful piece of New York history!

    Shipping, Taxes, Terms and Bidding
    Calculate Standard Domestic Shipping

    Sales Tax information  |  Terms and Conditions

    Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments

    Glossary of Terms

    ‡ The owner placed a late bid on this unreserved lot and repurchased it, subject to applicable commission.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2008
    21st-22nd Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 494

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $9) 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 2019 May 14 Manuscripts - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    I don’t often do testimonials but in this case I felt truly obligated to thank Heritage Auctions for the extremely professional job your organization did for me.
    Charlie K.,
    Pittsburgh, PA
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2019 January 15 "Say it Loud" The John Silverstein Collection of African American Social History - Dallas
    2019 January 15 "Say it Loud" The John Silverstein Collection of African American Social History - Dallas
    REALIZED SO FAR $292,119