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    Ford's Theatre Group. Laura Keene Autograph Letter Signed. Keene starred in the fatal performance of Our American Cousin. After Lincoln was, shot, she cradled the wounded him in her lap. One and one-third pages, 5" x 8", Boston [Mass.], 1869, asking that a copy of the "new 'Showman's Guide'" be sent to T. Brougham Baker in Richmond, Va. Soiled, first page detached, mounted on a scrapbook remnant; regardless, an extremely scarce autograph. Lightly soiled; fine. Also: J. B. Wright, the Stage Manager of Ford's Theatre, Autograph Letter Signed. Three pages, 5" x 8", Allston, Mass., 10 June 1870, to John T. Ford. Being "much in want" Wright asks for settlement of an old account that would be a small sum to Ford: "You . . . are rolling in wealth . . . I am glad . . . [as] you have worked hard." He compliments Ford's "indomitable energy and perseverance . . . I know your generous heart and sympathetic nature for I have seen it and felt it." He closes asking if there might be some vacancy he could fill at the Washington Theatre the following season. Inlaid. Fine. Also: George A. Parkhurst, Actor Cast as One of the Bailiffs for the Fatal Performance of Our American Cousin, Autograph Letter Signed, two and one-third pages, 5" x 8", Philadelphia, 1890, asking one Simmons to find him an engagement in comic opera: "I was successful in burlesque many years ago but I then held a government position in Washington and did not wish to give it up." Vertical fold with mounting remnants on back page; fine. Also: Basil Moxley, Doorkeeper at Ford's Theatre, Two Autograph Letters Signed, each about one and one-half pages, 4.25" x 7", Baltimore [Md.], 1893, to Rosenburger (A.E. Fostell). He enumerates his assassination relics, including a lock of John Wilkes Booth's hair "and the top button of his drawers . . . taken from the body by myself", and offering to consider an offer; the second letter agrees to $100 cash for the lot. Toned; fine. Also: W. J. Ferguson, Call-Boy and Actor at Ford's Theatre and Supposedly the Only Witness Who Saw John Wilkes Booth Actually Shoot Lincoln, Autograph Letter Signed, 5.5" x 8.25", 1900, wishing a friend a good engagement and mentioning the pledge he had made for the Actor's Home. Fine with later docketing penciled docketing at top. Also: Tom Taylor, English playwright and Author of Our American Cousin, Autograph Letter Signed, three pages, 4.5" x 7", acknowledging a gift of prints. One vertical fold; fine. Together with Joseph S. Sessford, Ticket-Seller at Ford's Theatre, Nine Autograph Letters, variously signed, sent to E. Rosenburger [A.E. Fostell] from Washington, D.C., between May 1894 and September 1895, about 20 pages in all, small 4.75" x 7" to 6.5" x 10". Sessford's first letter, replying to a query, states that he was in the theatre box office only during the evening of the fateful day. Others mention that he owns some keys, but sold the one for the president's box to Gunther of Chicago; argue relic values, stating that Gunther paid $100 for a "small lot, and he is a very close buyer"; reveal that he never owned an original bill for the assassination night, "you cannot get one . . . for less than one hundred dollars"; note the death of (Thomas) Jones (the rebel agent who ferried the escaping assassin across the Potomac); offer letters of John T. Ford and a possibly unique floor plan of his original Washington theatre; decline an offer for some unspecified items, "such things are now eagerly sought after"; and ask to let him know of anyone who wants "box keys, playbills etc. of Ford's Theatre" since he has more for sale. All are fine.

    (all but Sessford archive): Fostell; Charles Hamilton Galleries, New York, 31 July 1969; Sessford letters: Charles Hamilton Galleries, New York.

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    Auction Dates
    November, 2008
    20th Thursday
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