Sep 28, 2023 - Sale 2646

Sale 2646 - Lot 224

Price Realized: $ 4,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,000 - $ 1,500
(NEW YORK.) Pair of guest books for the United States Hotel in Saratoga. [327], [321] manuscript pages. 2 volumes. Folio, original calf, moderate wear, with gilt spine labels reading "Register, U.S. Hotel, Sar. Sp'gs"; minor wear and finger-soiling to contents, rear hinges split, final leaves of each volume detached. Saratoga Springs, NY, 10 June to 1 October 1882, 15 June to 21 September 1885

Additional Details

The resort town of Saratoga Springs, NY has drawn vacationers for spa baths and horse racing from the mid-19th century onwards. The United States Hotel was built there in 1874, and was described in 1876 as "the largest hotel in the world" (Taintor, Saratoga Illustrated, pages 20-22). It attracted a wealthy clientele for many years, and closed in 1946. Approximately 15,000 names are recorded in these two registers, some of them recorded by the hotel clerk, but most signed by a member of the visiting party. Most entries show the arrival date, room number, town of residence, and final meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner).

Future president Grover Cleveland (then mayor of Buffalo) signed on 20 June 1882, the same day as literary bibliographer Samuel Austin Allibone. The next day saw the arrival of former Colorado senator Jerome B. Chaffee and George Negley Mellon, son of the Pittsburgh philanthropist Thomas Mellon. These were found in just two days of entries. Others we have noted at random include Florida politician David Levy Yulee (11 July 1882), William H. Vanderbilt and his extended family (21 July 1882 and 18 July 1885), singer Clara Louise Kellogg (29 July 1882), former First Lady Julia Gardiner Tyler and her family (12 August 1882), publisher Joseph Pulitzer (2 September 1882), William Rockefeller and his family (4 September 1882), Nelson W. Aldrich (5 September 1882), Robert C. Winthrop and family (22 July 1885), Chauncey M. Depew (23 July 1885), and sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens (23 July 1885). The week after the death of President Grant, on 1 August 1885, the clerk affixed a newspaper facsimile of a hotel register he had signed in 1839. We have not researched more than a tiny percentage of the thousands of entries, but there are undoubtedly many more notables represented.