Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Ezra Cornell Autograph Letter Signed. Two pages including integral address leaf, written on recto of first page only, 7.75" x 9.75", Newburgh NY, October 3, 1848. Written on blue lined paper; wax seal remnants on address leaf. Docketed on recto of first page and verso of second page. American businessman and founder of Cornell University, Ezra Cornell made his fortune in the telegraph business as an associate of Samuel Morse, having gained Morse's trust by constructing and stringing the telegraph poles between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland, to create the first telegraph line of substance in the U.S. After joining with Morse, Cornell supervised the erection of many more telegraph lines, earning a substantial fortune as a founder of the Western Union Company.

    Approximately five years after constructing that first telegraph line, Cornell penned this letter to D. Boardman, regarding the sale of subscriptions for telegraph stock and the necessary funds to pay his workmen. It reads, in part: "If you have not already done so, I wish you would give . . . and order to pay me what funds there may be. . . . My men in that vicinity want funds. Honesdale has filled up their subscriptions. Carbondale has nearly done so. I expect to bring Newburgh up to $5000 today and tomorrow I have a meeting at Singsing. Our work is going on finely, and our prospects for the most profitable telegraph line in the country, is increasing." In a postscript, Cornell adds: "I address this to you for the reason that I do not know whether you have organized or not and if so who of you is chairman." Letter is lightly age toned and in very fine condition. Excellent content!

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    March, 2009
    6th-7th Friday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 944

    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
    Only 2 days left to consign to the 2019 December 7 Historic Flags of World War II Civil War, Militaria, Arms & Armor Signature Auction - Dallas!

    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

    2019 September 21 - 22 The David and Janice Frent Collection Presidential &  Political Americana, Part VI Signature Auction - Dallas
    2019 September 21 - 22 The David and Janice Frent Collection Presidential & Political Americana, Part VI Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED $648,838