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    Katharine Lee Bates Autograph Lyrics to "America the Beautiful" Signed. One page, 8.5" x 13.5", n.p., n.d. [1912-1929]. Offered here is Bates' final version of the well-loved anthem, with all four stanzas, penned entirely in her hand and signed "Katharine Lee Bates." Ms. Bates was a professor of English literature at Wellesley, a noted scholar, and a prolific author publishing many volumes of poetry, books on her travels, and stories, verses, and plays for children. Bates is best remembered as the author of the words to the patriotic hymn "America the Beautiful".

    The first draft of "America the Beautiful" was sketched out in the summer of 1893, when Bates taught English at Colorado College in Colorado Springs. Several impressive sights along the way found a place in her poem, including the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, which held a bright promise for the future within its brilliant alabaster buildings; the waving wheat fields of Kansas, through which her train traveled; and the imposing view of the Rockies and the Great Plains from atop Pikes Peak. On that mountain, the kernel of the poem was born, and she wrote a few stanzas in her notebook upon returning to her room at the original Antlers Hotel. The poem was published two years later in The Congregationalist, to commemorate the Fourth of July and it quickly caught the public's fancy. Amended versions were published in 1904 and 1913.

    The original copy is held by the Falmouth Historical Society. A search of auction records reveals that in the last 30 years, only one other handwritten example with all four stanzas has come to market. This present copy previously realized $40,000 at a New York auction in 2004. The only payment Miss Bates ever received for her efforts was a small check from the Congregationalist when "America the Beautiful" was first published. The present copy is a rare opportunity to own what is our nation's "Second National Anthem" written in the hand of its author and signed.

    Paper has been expertly added at top and bottom of the manuscript from which corners the document is stitched to the mat so that it is protected from bumping. The mat has been placed between two pieces of Plexiglas and sealed with tiny screws, all of which can be removed. This important piece of Americana comes with a tan cloth-covered folio slipcase with gilt-stamped red morocco label on spine. The manuscript is in bright, sharp, and very fine condition.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    March, 2009
    6th-7th Friday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 6,071

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