Sep 28, 2023 - Sale 2646

Sale 2646 - Lot 225

Estimate: $ 800 - $ 1,200
(NEW YORK CITY.) Personal letter by Archibald Gracie of Gracie Manor fame, plus related family papers. 9 items in one folder, generally minor wear, more wear to the recipe book. Various places, 1788-1869 and undated

Additional Details

Archibald Gracie (1755-1829) was a prominent New York merchant, best known as the original owner of the 1799 Gracie Mansion, which today serves as the city's official mayoral residence. Offered here are a small group of papers relating to Gracie, his son, his daughter-in-law, and his grand-daughter.

The earliest piece in the collection is a 3-page Autograph Letter Signed from Archibald Gracie to his wife Esther "Hetty" Rogers Gracie in New York, dated Petersburg, VA, 13 July 1788. During this period, Gracie was building his fortune through tobacco exports from Petersburg. Having just re-installed his wife with her brother Moses Rogers in New York, he assures her that he has been working hard in her absence: "I apply very close to my business in the store, where altho there is little present business going on, yet I have with the part full employment. I shall go out the latter end of this week into No. Carolina and expect to be gone about 14 days. . . . Keep yourself easy on my account." With the summer weather came fear of contagion: "You ought not to postpone getting the dear boy inoculated, least he should take the smallpox." He expresses concern about a friend in Virginia "and the danger of continuing here during the sickly months." On his wife's life in New York, "If your brother has got a music master to attend Betsey, I wish you to take as many lessons as possible, and as soon as times mend I will buy you an instrument." Also included in the lot are:

Letter to Archibald's son William Gracie (1787-1842) of New York from cousin John B. Gracie in Edinburgh, Scotland, 18 June 1829, concerning the death and estate of his Aunt Morrison in Portobello, Scotland.

Two juvenile manuscript essays by William's daughter Mary Fleming Gracie Tuckerman (1837-1901), titled "New England Philosophy" (3 November 1852) and "The Sabbath" (20 January 1852).

Carte-de-visite of a bearded civilian holding a top hat, captioned on verso "Archie Gracie," possibly William's nephew Archibald Gracie III (1832-1864), who died as a general in the Confederate Army.

Pair of cartes-de-visite of William's second wife Cornelia Ann Fleming Gracie (1809-1891) printed in Europe, 1869 and undated, plus one of her sister.

Recipe book kept by Cornelia Ann Fleming before her marriage to Wiliam Gracie. 48 manuscript pages plus 11 inserted items. 8vo, original calf, worn. Includes distinctively American dishes such as Washington Cake and Albany Cake.

An interesting assortment from a significant New York family. We find very little Gracie material at auction, and no other Archibald Gracie Sr. letters have been traced at auction.