Apr 16, 2019 - Sale 2505

Sale 2505 - Lot 168

Price Realized: $ 8,750
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 4,000 - $ 6,000
(PRESIDENTS.) Three scrapbooks of letters to Robert B. Roosevelt (uncle of Theodore) including a personal letter from Custer. 190 items, almost all of them manuscript letters addressed to Robert B. Roosevelt, pasted down into in 3 scrapbooks; bindings worn, contents generally well-preserved except for some adhesive staining, a few worn or clipped and a few items apparently removed. Vp, 1866-1904

Additional Details

Robert Barnhill Roosevelt (1829-1906) was an uncle of President Theodore Roosevelt. He served one term for New York in the United States House of Representatives, 1871-73, and was ambassador to the Netherlands from 1888 to 1889. Like his famous nephew, he was an avid sportsman. These three scrapbook volumes include letters from many noteworthy correspondents. They include one quite social letter from Rutherford B. Hayes as president, 1880 3 from Chester Alan Arthur, 1878-84, mostly declining fishing invitations Salmon Chase (2 letters) Horace Greeley (6) Winfield Scott Hancock (4) John Hay and Bret Harte. Horatio Seymour was probably his most regular correspondent, and is represented by 9 letters. New York politics and journalism and the sporting world are well-represented.
Perhaps most notable is a 3-page Autograph Letter Signed from George Armstrong Custer on the letterhead of the Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York: "I received your kind letter a few weeks ago at Fort Lincoln. . . . I made an effort to pay my respects this morning, but was so unfortunate as not to find you at home. . . . If you can ever make your way west . . . I will endeavor to render your visit agreeable and interesting. . . . My address is Fort Lincoln, Dakota. Cannot you tear yourself away from the business as well as pleasure of this delightful city long enough to enable you to see something of the Great West?" This letter is dated only "Sunday 9th," but Custer had only been at Fort Lincoln since 1873. He made his final visit to the East Coast in March and April of 1876 to testify in Army corruption hearings; 9 April 1876 fell on a Sunday. Eleven weeks later he would be dead at Little Bighorn.