Rare correspondance from George Washington and Thomas Jefferson to Marquis de Chastellux
Letters and Manuscripts from the Wright Brothers
Christie’s is pleased to announce the sale of Fine Books & Manuscripts on December 14 in New York, which encompasses over 400 lots including notable letters and manuscripts, cartography, literature, and volumes on science.
Featured collections include early botanical books belonging to the noted book collector Cornelius J. Hauck (1893-1967), an important collection of major 19th century American authors, including Melville, Poe, Whitman and Hawthorne, formed by Mrs. J. Insley Blair of Far Hills, New Jersey, and a devoted section of books on architecture & perspective, as well as American maps and views, including Currier & Ives.
Leading the sale is a first edition and publisher’s copy of Sir Isaac Newton’s (1642-1727) Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica, (estimate: $1,000,000-1,500,000), bound in inlaid contemporary English red morocco for presentation from the publisher Samuel Smith bearing his presentation book label.
Notable highlights include nine lots of correspondence between François Jean de Beauvoir, Marquis de Chastellux (1734-1788), French general and philosopher, to the founding fathers of the United States—featuring six letters by George Washington (1731-1799) and three by Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)—held by descendants of Chastellux.
Washington, George (1732-1799). Autograph letter signed (“Go: Washington”), Mount Vernon, 25 April, 1 May 1788, to François Jean de Beauvoir, Marquis de Chastellux, congratulating the Marquis on his marriage, musing on the end of all war while awaiting news on the ratification of the constitution: “Should it be adopted… America will lift up her head again and in a few years become respectable among the Nations.” Estimate: $80,000-120,000.
Jefferson, Thomas (1743–1826). Autograph letter signed (“Th:Jefferson”), Paris, 2 September 1785, to François Jean de Beauvoir, Marquis de Chastellux, written four months after publication of Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia. He graciously reads and critiques Chastellux’s account of his travels through the newly independent states and it contains a remarkable chart comparing northern and southern tempers. Estimate: $70,000-90,000.
Also featured are the papers of aviation journalist Earl Findley, divided into 16 lots, which includes a rare signed photograph by Wilbur Wright (1867-1912), letters from Orville Wright (1871-1948), Katharine Wright (1874-1929) and Charles Lindbergh (1902-1974), featuring an Important and Revelatory Letter by Orville Wright concerning Charles Lindbergh, questioning the trans-Atlantic aviator’s motives behind his advocacy for American neutrality at the start of World War II (estimate: $15,000-25,000).