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Autograph Letter Signed (ALS), Together with the Original Envelope [Stereoscope]
Oliver Wendell Holmes, 1872, No Binding, Book Condition: Fine, First edition. A Fine ORIGINAL AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED BY OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES headed (in Holmes' hand) "Boston April 24 1872" and reading as follows: "Dear Sir // I have this day received / the [illegible -- perhaps the brand name of the item received] you kindly / sent me, and your note, / dated March 15th [date underscored and followed by a "+" or a small ampersand]. I do / not know why it should / have been so long delayed / but it has come safely at / last. I was a good deal / puzzled at first how to / use it, but at last pushed / a spare photograph through / the two slits and made it / work very well. // I have myself carried out the / idea of having the glasses no // bigger than was needed. I had a // pair of common stereographic wedge- / shaped glasses split lengthwise / and stripped out [underscored] all but a small / portion of these half-sized glasses. // I think your [stereograph?] packs / into a smaller space than any // I have ever seen, and I am very / glad to add it to my museum / of instruments. // Accept my thanks for your gift / and believe me // Yours very truly // O. W. Holmes". The "+" (or small ampersand) appearing at the end of the letter's first sentence refers the reader to a note Holmes has added to the first page's left margin reading as follows: "+ I had to open this note to say that the envelope enclosed a letter from Msrs [? "Messrs."] / Wilkinson & Baldwin dated April 23d, which I overlooked at first." The letter comes with the ORIGINAL ENVELOPE addressed to T D Simonton of St. Paul Minnesota. Simonton held patent US 91975 "A Improvement in pocket-stereoscope" [Letters Patent No. 91,975, dated June 29, 1869], and Wilkinson & Baldwin were the instrument's manufacturers. The letter is written upon a sheet measuring approximately 9 inches by 7 1/4 inches which sheet has been folded once to produce four pages, the first two being occupied by Holmes' letter and the last two of which are blank. The letter has two horizontal folds made to fit the letter into the accompanying envelope. Oliver Wendell Holmes (Sr.) was a highly-regarded physician, poet, professor, lecturer, and author. A Bostonian, Holmes was one of the so-called "Fireside Poets" (a group of 19th-century American poets from New England which included Holmes, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, William Cullen Bryant, John Greenleaf Whittier, and James Russell Lowell). The letter is particularly interesting as Holmes himself invented the "American stereoscope" (which allowed the 3D viewing of photographs) but did not patent his invention. (Holmes did not invent the first stereoscope, but his "American Stereoscope was a streamlined and more economical viewer than had been available before.) Of his invention, Holmes stated "There was not any wholly new principle involved in its construction, but, it proved so much more convenient than any hand-instrument in use, that it gradually drove them all out of the field, in great measure, at least so far as the Boston market was concerned." Holmes also wrote: "This simple stereoscope was not constructed by accident, but was the carrying out of a plan to reduce the instrument to its simplest terms." These statements by Holmes show that his praise of Simonton's improvement of the stereoscope was particularly meaningful. That praise of an improvement to his own creation, together with the fact that Holmes kept the Simonton stereoscope -- which Simonton gave him -- in his own "museum of instruments", make this letter one of particular significance and elevate this letter over others more often seen wherein he deals with lecture requests, dinner engagements, and the like. A Fine ORIGINAL AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED BY OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES COMPLEMENTING THE INVENTOR OF AN IMPROVED VERSION OF HIS OWN INVENTION AND THANKING HIM FOR FOR HIS GIFT OF IT TO HOLMES.
      [Bookseller: Allington Antiquarian Books, LLC]
Last Found On: 2016-01-12           Check availability:      Bookzangle    

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