Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Christopher Coover collection of literary & historical letters manuscripts and documents, 1589-1923

Series I: Correspondence

External users and Columbia affiliates may view materials on-site at RBML. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only Columbia affiliates may view materials on-site at Avery, Starr, and Burke. After clicking 'Submit Request', users will login with their UNI and password (Columbia affiliates) or their special collections account (external users). Appointments are required and will be arranged according to each individual repository's policy.

Box 1 Folder 1 Butterfield, Daniel To John Page Nicholson, 8, December 1890

Box 1 Folder 2 Carlyle, Thomas To _____, 6, May 1861

Box 6 Folder 22 Carlyle, Thomas To Leigh Hunt. Chelsea, 5, July 1851

Box 1 Folder 3 Cooke, John Esten To Alexander Robinson Boteler, 14, November 1860

Box 1 Folder 4 Heinsius, Nicolaas To Theodorus Ryckius, 8, December 1676

Box 6 Folder 25 Hesse, Hermann. Greeting card with illustration of mountain scenery, with Hermann Hesse's autograph inscription, "H H grüßt"

Box 1 Folder 41 Jackson, Andrew. President. Letter signed ("Andrew Jackson") as Major General to Major William Lewis, Assistant Deputy Quarter Master, Ditto's Landing, 22 November 1813. 1 page,4to, addressed on verso, docketed.

Urgent instructions from Jackson, during preparations for the Creek War, to procure 200 "strong pack Horses," and their equipment "for packing bread stuffs from Fort Deposit for the use of my Army." He notes that the "nature of the country" and "the badness of the road," make the use of wagons impossible. Jackson has ordered his Quarter Master General to aid in completing this task, which is to be completed as quickly as possible.

Box 1 Folder 5 Keifer, Joseph Warren To Henry S. Niles, 23, September 1867

Box 1 Folder 6 Lafayette, Georges Washington To Col. Lewanowsky, 29, March1826

Box 1 Folder 8 Lafayette, Georges Washington To Col. Lewanowsky, [n.d.]. ms.l.

Box 1 Folder 7 McCormick, Curus Hall To Charles Andrew Davidson, 9, January 1876

Box 1 Folder 11 Orton, William To _____, May 1871

Box 1 Folder 8 Parker, Joel To Col. Lehmanousky, 27, February1837

Box 1 Folder 9 Parry, William Edward To Mary Fletcher Richardson, 11, October 1849

Box 1 Folder 10 Porter, David To _____, 11, May 1874

Box 1 Folder 11 Rosecrans, William To "My Dear General", 4, May 1871

Box 6 Folder 26 Sala, George August us. Autograph letter signed to Miss Philips, Willard's. Washington D.C., Thursday, undated

Box 6.27 Sargent, John Singer. Autograph note signed to Mrs. Smith, Chelsea, 28, December 1920

Box 1 Folder 12 Shaw, George Bernard To Siegfried Trebitsch, 30, March1923

Box 1 Folder 13 Sparks, Jared To Thomas Tracy Bouvé, 4, November 1850

Box 1 Folder 14 Tonson, Jacob To Thomas Percy, 11, February1764

Box 1 Folder 15 Wadsworth, James To John Walton, 25, February1725

Box 1 Folder 15 Wadsworth, James To J. B., 25, February1725

Box 1 Folder 27 Sherman, William T. Autograph letter signed ("W.T. Sherman") to Mrs. Ruskin, New York, 21 September 1888. 3 pages.

large 8vo. Friendly letter to the daughter of an officer with whom he had served prior to the war, in California: "My acquaintances in life are of the most miscellaneous sort ...." He forwards a card which will grant her an interview with "my brother Senator [John] Sherman."

He notes that "I am no longer at the 5th Avenue Hotel, but am house-keeping on 71st Street easily reached by the 6thhAvenue Elevated Railroad a station being at 72nd Street, one block from my house .... "

Box 1 Folder 28 Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Autograph letter signed ("R. W. Emerson") to Edward Taggart, Concord [Mass.], 12 October 1866. 2pp., large 8vo, integral blank.

"It is always a pleasure to me to come to Batavia, & I shall like well to read a lecture in your coming camp, on my usual terms. I have so signified to Mr. Edward Lee Brown ...Secretary of the Western Literary Association, who is so kind as to correspond with the Lyceums & arrange my engagements for me."

Box 2 Folder 3 Dodge, Mary Abigail, American poet (1833-1896). Autograph letter signed to R. B. Prescott, Washington D.C., 23 April 1883. 2 pages, 8vo.

Complying graciously to a request for a sample of her handwriting.

Box 2 Folder 7 Morse, Samuel F .B. and James Fenimore Cooper. Letter signed by Morse, Cooper Jb and Samuel G. Howell, to General the Marquis de Lafayette, Paris, 8 December 1831. 1 page, 8vo, tipped to a protective sheet.

Letter written as "members of the Sub Committee of the American Public," suggesting Lafayette pay 500 francs to Leonard Chodsko "in consideration of his active services in the cause of his country & of his present necessitous condition." A very unusual combination of signatures.

Box 2 Folder 8 Verdi, Giuseppe. Autograph letter signed ("G. Verdi," to an unknown correspondent, 21 December, no year. 1 page, 8vo.

Hurriedly scrawled message in Italian.

Box 2 Folder 11 Clemens, Samuel Langhorne. Autograph letter signed ("Sam! ") to his wife Livy, Montreal, 6 December 1881. 1 page, 8vo.

With envelope addressed to "Mrs. S.L. Clemens in Hartford, envelope with logo of the Windsor Hotel, Montreal.

Box 2 Folder 12 Parry, Nathaniel. Autograph letter signed to his wife, Fort Cumberland [Pennsylvania], 24 June 1755.

Remarkable letter from a Massachusetts militiaman serving with two sons under command of British General Edward Braddock in his ill-fated campaign into the western wilderness in an attempt to seize French forts at Pittsburg. On July 9 (2 weeks after this letter) Braddock's army was caught in a murderous ambush by French and Indian allies. Braddock was killed and his army suffered harrowing losses.

Box 2 Folder 15 Perry, Nathaniel. Autograph letter signed to "Loving Wife," "Secollnett, now fort Halifax, 18 May 1754. 1 page, folio, repairs on verso.

A letter from a Massachusetts soldier campaigning in Canada: ".. .This place is pleasantly situated bet'ween the Rivers Kennebeck and Shabashacock which abounds in Sturgeon"; describing the building of blockhouses, noting that "the Indians come daily among us ... they are such a deceitful race."

Box 2 Folder 16 Dickens, Charles. Autograph letter signed ("CD") to '''My dear Mother." No place, no date [1840s ?]. 1 page.

In his usual dark blue ink. "I wrote to you this morning, to say we start on at London Bridge... I have ordered dinner (for 4) at Wattes ... " An unusual, relatively early letter.

Box 4 Folder 5 Hooker, Joseph (1814-1879). Letter signed as Major General, to Commanding Officer at Fort Johnson, from Headquarters. Northern Department, Cincinnati, 18 Jal1lIalY 1865. 1 page, 4to.

Relates to Confederate prisoners held at the notorious Johnson's Island, off lake Erie. Hooker introduces Thomas M . Thornton, "who has permission from his Excellency the President to visit a prison at your camp."

Box 4 Folder 6 Doubleday, Abner (1819-1893). Autograph letter signed to "Dear General," 13 March[1863]. n.p., undated 1 page, 8vo. pencil., undated

Cryptic request regarding "some points connected with General Williams reinforcement. ..! would like to ask you about, if you can find tbe time."

Box 4 Folder 7 Ruggles, Daniel Brigadier General, C.S.A. (1810-1897). Autographed letters signes, to his superior commander, Major General Braxton Bragge, Jackson, TN. From Corinth, 13 March1862.

A fine letter relating tp preparations for the Ballet of Shiloh. Ruggles reports to Bragg regarding landings by Union forces under U.S. Grant along the Tennessee River.

Box 4 Folder 13 Butterfield, Daniel. Autograph letter signed to Henry Bergh, New York, 14 May 1863. 1p., 8vo, mounted, in pencil.

"Sec. Seward advises me of your appointment as Secy. of Legation to Russia. I congratulate you."

Box 4 Folder 14 Morgan, James A., Brigadier General. Autograph telegraph message signed to Capt. W.C. Russell, Head Quarters, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, 28 July 1863. 1p., oblong.

Terse report on Confederate movement "Cavalry not yet returned expect them back tonight. Powell's scouts were out on the Readyville Pike this afternoon report all quiet."

Box 4 Folder 15 Fremont, J.C. Autograph note signed, to an unknown recipient, Tarrytown, N.Y., 11 November 1872. 1p.

An oblong card, boldly penned, corners rounded. Complying with request for an autograph.

Box 4 Folder 17 Cadwallader, George. Autograph letter signed to Henry Baird, n.p., 21 December 1858. 1p., 12mo.

Asking a subscription be renewed. [With]: Steel-engraved portrait in uniform.

Box 4 Folder 18 Tower, Zealous B., Major General. Autograph letter signed to Mrs Ricketts, Portsmouth, N.H. 4 November 1866. 4pp., 8vo.

Interesting letter regarding politics and Union army promotions and relative ranks at the end of the war.

Box 4 Folder 19 Saxton, R., Union General. (1824-1908). Autograph note signed, Head Quarters, Beaufort south Carolina, 24 March1864. 1p., 12mo.

A Medal of Honor winner, commanding occupied South Carolina.

Box 4 Folder 20 Slocum, Henry Warner (1827-1894). Autograph letter to D.G. Parry, Brooklyn, N.Y., 27 April 1887. 1p., 8vo.

Rather reluctantly complying with a request for an autograph.

Box 4 Folder 21 Belknap, William M., Grant's Secretary of War. Autograph letter signed to George M. Robeson, War Department, Washington, 21 March1870. 1p., 4to.

"the President has asked me to dinner at 6 P.M. and consequently I cannot be punctual at your whist table. I will be there however as soon we leave the President's."

Box 4 Folder 22 Scott, Winfield. Letter signed to Secretary of the Treasury W.M. Meredith, Head Quarters of the Army, West Point, N.Y., 23 August 1849. 1p. 4to.

Asking Meredith for $125 "to pay the secretaries employed in the office of the Commanding General...for the month of August 1849."

Box 4 Folder 24 Thomas, Lorenzo (1805-1875). Autograph telegraph on printed form, War Department, Adjutant General's Office, Washington, D.C., 8 April 1872.

Announcing General Order Number 88: "Colonel Stager has been appointed military Superintendent of Telegraph lines throughout the United States. All officers are to render him whatever assistance he May require "in the construction, repairs and protection of Military Telegraph lines." An important order, reflecting an early deployment of the telegraph for use by the Union Army.

Box 4 Folder 26 Townsend, E.D., Adjutant General. Autograph letter signed to Commanding Officer Fort Pulaski, Georgia, War Department, 2 September 1865. 1p., 12mo.

"The Secretary of War [William Seward], directs that you deliver the enclosed letter to Judge Campbell."

Box 4 Folder 28 Tabor, H.A. (1830-1899), "the Bonanza king of Leadville," U.S. Senator from Colorado. Autograph letter signed ("H.A. Tabor") to O.A. Rothacker, 23 November 1882. 2pp., boldly penned, on Washington D.C. hotel stationery.

Strong complaint about Rothacker's newspaper which had printed an article critical of Tabor. Tabor demands a retraction: "The man who wrote it was lying about me and knew he was when he wrote it..." Tabor was owner of the Matchless Mine in Leadville, Colorado, one of the richest silver mines of the Colorado Silver Boom. His divorce and subsequent remarriage to the young and beautiful Baby Doe caused a national scandal in the 1880s. Tabor's letters are very rare.

Box 4 Folder 29 Autograph letter of a Union soldier to "silent yet not forgotten friend," from "Hospital No. 15, Nashville, Tennessee," 13-15 October 1863. 4 pages, folio, very closely written, with additions in margins of two page.

A very lengthy latter describing an unsuccessful attack by Confederates under John A. Marmaduke, and later actions in the Chickamauga campaign, written by a wounded soldier. An unusually extensive account.

Box 5 Folder 4 Letter by Robert Morris to John Nicholson, 18, January 1728

Box 5 Folder 26 Bainbridge, William, American naval officer. Autograph letter signed, Perth Amboy, New Jersey, 31 March1812. 1 page, 4to, integral address leaf ..

Regarding a note and financial matters.

Box 1 Folder 21 Shaw, George Bernard. Printed postcard inscribed and signed ("GBS") to an unidentified recipient, Ayot Saint Lawrence, 30 March1949. 1 page, oblong, on pink stock.

Sarcastically phrased notice that Shaw cannot make the financial contribution requested of him. In ink, Shaw has added: "It has come to this with me."

Box 7 Folder 1 Cherubini, Luigi (1760-1842). Autograph letter signed ("L. Cherbini"), as Director of the Conservatoire de Musique, to "Mon cher Beullor," Paris, 10 June 183[8?]. 1 page, 8vo.

on stationery of the Conservatoire. Arranging a meeting.

Box 7 Folder 2 Redfalter, James. Autograph note signed, Charleston, S.C., 31 May 1865. 1 page, 8vo.

Proclaiming that "unless there is a speedy change in the policy of the Government, we will yet have & ought to have, another Civil War ... " and excoriating a nation "that elected a drunkard [Andrew Johnson] to the highest office save one," and permits him to "talk of expatriating the only true loyalists of the South." Written a little over a month after Lincoln's death and Johnson's inauguration as President.

Box 7 Folder 3 Corvisart, Jean-Nicholas Corvisart des Marets (1755-1821), Napoleon's personal physician, author of influential text on cardiovascular disease, popularized percussion as a diagnostic tool. Autograph letter signed ("Corvisart") to Mr. Doussin-Dubreuil, Paris, 9 February 1806. 1 page, 4to, integral address leaf

Polite letter acknowledging the gift of a treatise "Sur les Glaires," and expressing his gratitude. Corvisart's most famous patient was the Emperor, Napoleon ("I do not believe in medicine, but I do believe in Corvisart"), whom he attended from 1804 until Napoleon's fall from power in 1815 after Waterloo.

Box 7 Folder 4 Dumas, Alexandre, fils (1824-1895). Autograph letter signed ("A D") to Mr. de Beaumont. Np., undated [postmarked Dieppe, 25 February1871]. 3 pages, 12mo., undated

on black-bordered stationery (in honor of the death of his father, Alexandre Dumas, pere). Arranging an appointment, exchanging news.

Box 7 Folder 5 Eppes, John W. (1773-1823), son-in-law and nephew of Thomas Jefferson, U.S. Senator. Autograph letter signed Ono. W. Eppes") to [John] Milledge ofGeorgia (1757-1816), Congress Hall, March25 [1807]. 1 page,4to.

"In our ride you expressed a wish for a Ram of the President's [Jefferson's] Iceland breed. He has requested me to inform you that he will feel great pleasure in presenting one to you. You must call and make a choice of one ... " John Milledge was a Revolutionary Patriot, Governor of Georgia, Congressman and Senator.

Box 7 Folder 6 Guerard, Benjamin (1740-1788), Governor of South Carolina. Autograph letter signed ("Ben:Guerard") as Governor, to the Commissioners of the Treasury of the State of South Carolina, Government House, Charleston, 6 February1784. 1 page, 4to.

Directing that 300 pounds sterling be paid from Treasury funds to Thomas Ferguson, "being the remaining half years salary of the Honble. Richard Beresford Esq. One of the Delegates of this State in Congress ... "

Box 7 Folder 7 Harte, Bret. Autograph letter signed to a Mr. Watt, 13 Upper Hamilton Terrace [London], 17 June 1892. I page, 8vo.

Informing Watt, perhaps associated with his publisher, that he is sending him "duplicate typewritten copies of pp. 92-103 of . Suzy' ... " A reference to his novelSusy: A Story of the Plains(1893).

Box 5 Folder 28 Steuben, Friedrich Wilhelm von (1730-1794). Autograph letter signed ("Steuben Major General") to Major Lomagine Du camp, pres de Fonds Bouge, 4 May 1781. 1.1/2 page, 8vo, minor show through, in French.

Concerning the critical shortage of supplies and forage, acknowledging the complaints of officers and giving Lomagine permission to "aller a Philadelphie et trouver le commandment in chef" (George Washington), to alert him as to "l'etat actuel de votre corps." In the meantime, he adds, discipline must still be maintained, and no one is permitted to leave camp without Steuben's permission.

Box 7 Folder 8 Melvill, Thomas (1751-18--), Massachusetts revolutionary patriot, grandfather of Herman Melville, legislator. Autograph letter signed ("Tho Melvill") to Hezekiah Niles in Baltimore; House of Representatives, Boston, 24 January 1833. 2 pages, folio, edges worn, original address leaf detached.

Lengthy, very interesting letter regarding the controversy over the chartering of the Bank of the United States, requesting specific statistics on state banks, bills in circulation, specie held, etc. from Niles and spelling out the importance of the debate being held in Massachusetts on the issue. Melvill's letters are quite rare.

Box 7 Folder 12 Tenterden, Charles Abbott, 1st Baron (1762-1832), lord chief justice of England. Autograph letter signed ("Tenterden") to a Joshua Watson Esq., Russell Square [London], 25 November 1830. 2 pages, 8vo.

Good letter of the noted Tory jurist, two years before his death, explaining that he has been unable for some years to attend the meetings of the Committee of the Foundling Hospital, though serving as Governor, and has in consequence "studiously abstain'd from voting," and so cannot comply with a request of a Mrs. Black.

Box 7 Folder 15 William North (Aide de Camp) Autograph letter signed to Baron von Steuben, 15, December 1780

Box 6 Folder 29 Wilson, Francis (1854-1935). Autograph letter signed to E. H. Collins, New York, 26 March 1892

On stationary of the Francis Wilson and Company, "presenting comic opera under the management of A. H. Canby."

Box 8 Folder 15 Catt, Richard. Autograph letter signed ("Richard Catt") to President James Madison, Bolton,, 31 July 1815, 1 full page

The President learns of the Battle of Waterloo. Catt hastily summarizes the momentous news: "A vessel has just arrived .. . bringing London Papers . .. containing the official accounts of a most bloody battle ... between Bonaparte & the allied armies under Wellington. In two first days Bonaparte was successful, in the 3rd [18 July] was defeated & obliged to retreat, leaving between 50 & 60,000 men killed & wounded ... The British are said to have lost thirteen Generals killed ... Jerome Bonaparte was killed ... It does not appear [that] ... information has reached N.Y. or Philadelphia . . . "

Box 10 Folder 1 Brahms, Johannes. Autograph letter, signed. To his publisher, Simrock, Vienna, April 13, 1895, Three pages, 8vo.

A letter concerning his friend Anton Dvorak

Box 10 Folder 2 Tasso, Torquato. Autograph letter, signed. To Zanobi Spini, Florence. Rome, May 15, 1589, One page, folio

"I don't know who should be more ashamed: me for asking you so many times, or you for nevertheless not replying. But if we should both be ashamed of ourselves, I would not wish the shame to be public since the indebtedness was secret. All the same I have no regret that, not having wished to have me given material for a heavy cloak this winter, you will make me a gift this summer of pastries. ... If it seems you can pay the debt I can be found at Signor Cardole Scipone's"