Description

    St. George Tucker writes to Philadelphia publisher Mathew Carey about Charles Wilson Peale's American Museum. Two pages, measuring 7" x 8.25", plus address panel. Very good condition. Written July 31, 1795 at Williamsburg, Virginia. The letter addressed to bookseller/publisher Matthew Carey of Philadelphia reads in full, "Sir, Though perfectly a stranger. I take the liberty of transmitting to you fifty copies of a letter to the reverend Jebediah Mann written with a view to vindicate the inhabitants of the city from a most cruel and unprovoked attack upon their character in this universal geography. The copies sent you are intended for distribution among several of your subscribers for Guthrie's Grammar, as you may think proper to transmit them to in the different states together with your second volume which I understand is now out of the press. I beg, sir, that you will do me the favor to return one of them for yourself, and if you think the letter itself worth your notice in any future edition of Guthrie's Grammar, I shall deem myself obliged to you for any endeavor to remove too foul a stain from me of the most agreeable spots in the United States which may likewise boast some of the most respectable characters for its inhabitants. If you could advise me to what Booksellers in New York and Boston to send some copies for distribution, I should be much obliged to you. Since I have taken the liberty of writing to you permit me to ask whether you have no intentions of reviving the American Museum. The discontinuance of it is valuable a work I really consider as a public injury, unless you can assign such good reasons for so doing as to under it a misfortune, only a few lines by past will be an additional obligated to them which I have solicited. I am sir, with respect, your obedient hble serv't. Geo. Tucker." St. George Tucker was a lawyer, trader, inventor, scholar, professor, judge, essayist, poet, avid gardener, and amateur astronomer

    The American Museum referred to in this letter is that opened by artist Charles Wilson Peale. The Peale Museum, as it is called now, is part of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. The museum's collection started as a combination of Peale's portraits of Revolutionary War heroes and an assortment of curiosities and grew to include animal, mineral, and ethnographic specimens. The public loved the blend of American heroes and nature. It resonated with a citizenry eager to establish a new national identity that would both differentiate the young country from Europe and proclaim it as the standard bearer of civilization's progress. The collection grew substantially through both the direct efforts of Peale himself and through the donations of others. The museum also became a repository for the collection of the American Philosophical Society, including many of the fossils donated by Thomas Jefferson. Although it never achieved official status or government funding, the museum was the de facto national museum. For instance, it became the home for many of the Native American artifacts and natural history specimens collected during the Lewis and Clark and other government-sponsored expeditions. Accompanied by LOA from PSA/DNA.


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    Auction Dates
    February, 2006
    20th-21st Monday-Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
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