Ogden Ellery Edwards California Gold Rush Archive. Outstanding Gold Rush archive contains five mining letters from 1851-52, a scarce illustrated letter sheet depicting four mining vignettes, and seven unpublished typed manuscripts, circa 1890s. As gold fever swept the nation in 1849, 20-year old Ogden Ellery Edwards set off for California to make his fortune. This archive contains five Autograph Letters Signed by Edwards, addressed to relative Annie, Uncle Amory, sister Fanny, and younger brother Robbie. The letters span a five-month period (November 1851 through March 1852), and contain wonderful descriptions of his life, his successes and failures, and the people he has met in his travels through California.

    In his November 8, 1851 letter, Edwards tells his sister that he is a good miner, "tough as a grisly [sic]." He laments that heavy rains have destroyed one of his claims and he must now build a log cabin near his other claims if he has any hope of making a living as a miner. In his January 27, 1852 letter to sister Fanny, he boasts of his domestic talents: "I'll bet a pair of gloves with you or almost any of my fair friends that I can beat them making bread, and as for slap-jacks... you would have no chance at all."

    Edwards' January 28, 1852 letter contains tales about his Uncle Tom's pet birds and his workhorse, which "goes around all through Log City sticking his nose in at every open door and asking as plain as [a] horse can ask for a crust of bread or a piece of meat or some potatoe [sic] pairings. You may wonder at the meat, but Charlie likes beef steak as well as you do. Uncle Tom declares that he will eat everything that a Christian will except onions. I think the better of him for the exception."

    The archive also contains a letter to Annie discussing various mining techniques, which is accompanied by an 8.5" x 10.75" print showing four mining scene vignettes (additional copy of print also included). In addition, the archive includes seven typed manuscripts, none more than two pages, containing interesting and humorous tales from his travels. These manuscripts were produced toward the end of his life and are presumed unpublished; titles include: Working for a Gentleman, The Missourians, How I was Hung to Save My Life, Taking in Washing, The Shipwreck, The Vigilance Committee, and Plum Duff.

    Following his unsuccessful stint as a California gold miner, Edwards married his first wife, then traveled to the Philippines, where he raised a family. He spent two decades as a partner in the commercial house of Pezze, Hubbell, and Co., improving his fortunes dramatically. He eventually returned to the United States, remarried, and settled in North Carolina, where he died in 1899. Items in the collection range from very good to fine.

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    Auction Dates
    February, 2010
    11th-12th Thursday-Friday
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