Gold Rush Art and Letter, April 16, 1861. Six pages, each 5.5" x 8.5", written in brown ink accompanied by original transmittal envelope. Written by miner J.E. Nourse from the gold fields of Jacksonville, California, to his cousin, Mrs. Sarah Caverly of Troy, Cheshire County, New Hampshire. Nourse discusses the sobering realities of mining: "delving deep into the bowels of the earth, shut out from the light of the day in the darksome tunnel and nearly smothered by poisonous vapors and gas of the mine." We can assume Nourse did not have a successful mining career as he states he does not believe he is "possessed of the shrewdness necessary to acquire wealth" and philosophizes that "it is not the greatest amount of labor performed that ways insures the most liberal return of gold."

    Nourse discusses growing old and seems to feel his time living a solitary miner's life in California has robbed him of the domestic bliss he feels his cousin embodies: "what a lonely, dismal perspective view I have of the afternoon of life!"

    Below Nourse's signature is a detailed sketch, measuring about 3" x 5". The left side of the sketch depicts a healthy miner, presumably a self portrait of Nourse, swinging a pickax into a wall. "HOPE" is written on a stone, as well as the year "1852." The right side of the sketch shows the miner, now haggard and wearing ragged clothes, seated on a log with his mining equipment broken and discarded on the ground. "DESPAIR" is written on the log and it is dated "1861." Between the two images is the caption "Alpha & Omega" referring to the optimistic beginning and the disappointing ending of Nourse's mining career.

    Text is bold and bright. Typical fold creased.

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    Auction Dates
    May, 2012
    12th Saturday
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