Jun 27, 2024 - Sale 2675

Sale 2675 - Lot 227

Price Realized: $ 562
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 600 - $ 900
(NEW YORK.) Francis Parkman. Letter on the Iroquois and the early history of Schenectady. Autograph Letter Signed as "F. Parkman" to unknown recipient. 3 pages, 6 x 4¼ inches, on one folding sheet; mailing fold, minimal wear. Boston, 7 February 1890

Additional Details

Francis Parkman, perhaps the leading American historian of his era, here discusses Arent Van Curler (1619-1667), founder of the city of Schenectady. The letter was very likely related to a bicentennial commemoration of early Schenectady's defining event: the 8 February 1690 Schenectady Massacre in which a French-Mohawk raiding party killed or captured most of the residents.

"My dear sir: Schenectady certainly owes a tribute of honor to Arendt Van Curler, one of the most interesting figures in the annals of early New York. His importance in the eyes of the Five Nations of the Iroquois, and the attachment to him, are shown by the fact that they always used his name (in the form of Corlaer) as the official designation of the Governor of New York, just as they called all the governors of Canada, Onontio; and those of Pennsylvania, Onas. I know of no other instances in which the Iroquois used the name of an individual to designate the holders of an office. Onontio means a great mountain; Onas means a quill or pen; Kinshon, the governor of Massachusetts, means a fish."

Provenance: purchased from dealer Walter R. Benjamin; property of Steve Forbes.