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Estimate: $ 1,500 - $ 2,500
INCLUDING A HAND-DRAWN FLAG OF TEXAS (KENTUCKY.) The Blue Badge, a manuscript magazine created by a Kentucky literary society. 92, , 40, 7, , , 54 pages. 8vo, contemporary 1/2 calf, worn; leaves coming disbound, minor wear and finger-soiling to contents. [Lexington, KY], 1836-37 and undated
This manuscript magazine was apparently affiliated with the Transylvania Whig Society at Transylvania University in Lexington, KY. Members contributed articles which were transcribed into issues of about 8 to 12 pages each, decorated with illustrations, and made available to members at the club's headquarters. The articles are generally cryptic and filled with inside jokes; they include verse, jokes, meeting reports, literary essays such as a tribute to James Fenimore Cooper, and the occasional reports on current events. The publication was not overtly political and seems unconnected with the recently formed Whig Party, in which Kentucky's Henry Clay played a leading role. The Transylvania Whig Society dated back to at least the early 1820s and drew its inspiration from the venerable American Whig Society literary and debate club at Princeton University. 15 complete issues of the Blue Badge are included, dating from April to December 1836 (as "Volume I") and June to July 1837 (as "Volume III"). In addition, a single undated issue of the similar manuscript magazine "The Whig" is included, as well as two unsigned manuscripts on ancient Greek. The volume is nicely illustrated. The first 5 issues begin with a blue and black "Blue Badge" logo, and 6 other color illustrations grace the pages, as well as some attractive lettering. The Texan struggle for independence was a frequent topic in the 1836 issues. Most notably, the first issue promised that "our next number shall contain a design of the Flag of Texas, as recommended by the commissioners to the Texas Congress, and which will probably be adopted. It is taken from a document placed in our hands by Genl. Austin, one of the commissioners." Issue #2, dated 8 April 1836, includes an attractive watercolor of this proposed flag (illustrated), similar to one actually proposed in Texas in 1835. Among the officers and contributors mentioned in the pages of the Blue Badge are several young men who appear as students in the 1837 manual for Transylvania University. The editor's name is given as "Philo Whig." The entire volume is written in one consistently small but tidy hand, apparently by Rev. Lyman W. Seeley (1815-1884), a Transylvania graduate who in February 1837 was serving there as a tutor in Greek and Latin. Seeley is mentioned frequently throughout the volume, his name appears in gilt on the backstrip, and 66 unrelated pages on ancient Greek texts at the rear of the volume appear to reflect his academic interests. The volume was acquired from one of his descendants.