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    George Armstrong Custer: His Walking Stick, a Tiffany Hardwood Cane with Sterling Silver Ferrule and Decorative Head. When Elizabeth Bacon Custer gave this Tiffany cane to the young New York artist and museum preparator Dwight Franklin in about 1912, she told him that it had been presented to the General by the renowned actor and theatrical producer Lawrence Barrett. Barrett (1838-1891) and Custer met at St Louis in 1866 and soon became friends. It is not too much to say that Barrett became Custer's best friend. In a letter to his wife in October 1876 he wrote, "I loved Custer." And Custer's regard for Barrett? Libby told him, he continued, "how truly he loved me and that I was his closest and dearest friend..." Barrett contributed a personal essay on the private and little-known Custer to Frederick Whittaker's biography of Custer which was rushed into print before the end of the year. The friendship itself is chronicled in Alice O'Neil's The Actor and the General: The Friendship Between Lawrence Barrett and George Armstrong Custer (Brooklyn, 1994). Documents detailing the circumstances of Libby's gift of the walking stick to Dwight Franklin and the stick's subsequent path to this collection accompany the lot.

    This lot is accompanied by an interesting 1979 letter from Dr. Lawrence Frost to Hugh Shick, in which he attempts to wheedle the walking stick out of Shick on a trade. Clearly he was not successful, as the cane remained with Shick until obtained from him by Glen Swanson in the early 1980s.

    The story is recounted in brief in Swanson, G. A. Custer: His Life and Times, page 65.
    From the Glenwood Swanson Collection.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2018
    9th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,123

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