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    William Henry Harrison signed book, presented to his eldest son

    William Henry Harrison Signed Copy of Plutarch's Lives, Presented to his Son, John Cleves Symmes Harrison. Together with a letter from his grandson and namesake William Henry Harrison addressed to Benjamin Rogers, asking for his daughter's hand in marriage.

    The book is: Volume II (only) of Plutarch's Lives, Translated from the Original Greek with Notes Critical and Historical...; by John & William Langhorne. Worcester, Massachusetts: Isaiah Thomas, Jun. August - 1804. Octavo (4.25" x 7"), 390 pages.

    Harrison has written a long dedication on the first front endpaper: "Willm H. Harrison send this set of Plutarch's to his beloved son J.C. Symmes Harrison in the hope that he will diligently study the lives of great men contained in it & that if he is unable to rival their splendid atchievements [sic] in their country, service he will at least immitate [sic] their private victories. Head Qtr. Seneca Town. 9th Sept. 1813." A later descendant has copied a part of this dedication on the facing pastedown.

    John Cleves Symmes Harrison would be celebrating his 15th birthday on September 29 of that year, and then General Harrison likely sent these volumes to his son to mark the occasion. At the time, Harrison was ensconced at Seneca Town making preparations for battle. Less than a month later, he would prove victorious at the Battle of the Thames.

    There is a second signature, "Willm Henry Harrison" on the title page, which is possibly an earlier signature by Harrison, indicating that he is passing on books originally his own, to his eldest son. Written on the blank page facing the first page text is written: "Presented to J.S.C Harrison by his beloved Father / September 19, 1813". We have not been able to identify this hand, but it is possible that it is in the hand of J.C. Symmes Harrison, making a record of receiving the gift.

    The book is accompanied by a letter written by William Henry Harrison addressed to Mr. Benjamin Rogers. The one-page letter (7.75" x 9.75") is written from North Bend, Ohio and is dated January 22; no year given, but likely in the early 1850s. Harrison is asking for permission to marry Rogers' daughter, Elvira. In part: "I confess to you that I love your daughter, which love Elvira professes to reciprocate and advistises [sic] me to gain your consent to our union in matrimony & such is my petition."

    William Henry Harrison was J.C. Symmes' oldest son, and although he was only 2 years old, when his father died, the book was passed on to him as a matter of tradition. He in turn, gifted the book to his bride, and it remained with her family.

    Condition: Leather covered boards of book have heavy wear and bumped corners, with one small puncture to spine. Toning and foxing throughout. The back endpapers have ink drawings and scribblings, likely done by a child. Letter has flattened folds, with some discoloration. Two small tears along right edge, well away from any text.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2021
    19th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 218

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