PPCDV24. Churchill & Denison, Albany. “To Mother,” written on back. This nicely attired gentleman prominently displays his missing arm in this carte sent to his mother. There is a 2-cent blue tax stamp on verso and it is no great leap to assume that this fellow lost his arm in the Great Rebellion. VG. $85
PPCAB9. Veeder, Albany, NY. Rare Cabinet Card of a Blind Man reading Braille. E. $150
PPPC1. Published by the Lightfoot Collection, Huntington Station, NY. Group of 6 photo postcards of the Walt Whitman Sesquicentennial Commemorative Series. Includes the following:
No. 1. Walt Whitman’s Birthplace, at West Hills, Long Island, NY. Photograph by “Uncle Ben” Conklin, in 1903, when the third wing was still intact. Walt was born here May 31, 1819
No. 2. Walt Whitman in 1854, when he was writing “Leaves of Grass.” This is sometimes referred to as the “Christ” photograph.
No. 3. Walt Whitman in carpenter’s garb-an engraving used as the frontispiece of the first edition of “Leaves of Grass” in 1855. Taken from a daguerreotype.
No. 4. Walt Whitman as he looked in 1863, while he was nursing the sick and wounded soldiers in Washington. Photograph taken by Brady’s studio.
No. 5. Walt Whitman as “The Good Gray Poet” after the Civil War.
No. 6. Walt Whitman in old age, at Camden, New Jersey-the sage and prophet of American democracy.
This cards were issued by Frederick Lightfoot, an historian and major collector of stereoviews. They are unused. E. $25.
PPCDV58. No ID. On back: “Benjamin Franklin, The Unfortunate Soldier, who lost all his limbs by freezing, while crossing the plains from Fort Wadsworth, Dacotah Territory, to Fort Ridgely, Minn. While he was making the journey, in company with four others, they were caught in one of those dreadful storms which frequently occur on the plains, and all of his comrades perished. He was out eight days and seven nights without food or fire, and when found by two Indians was nearly starved to death. He is now trying to sell his Photographs for the benefit of his family which consists of a wife and three children. Price 25 Cents.” VG. $325
PPCAB31. Cabinet Card by C.F. Garrison, Photographer, Laurens, Iowa from his series Cyclone Views of Pomeroy, Taken after the Storm of July 6, 1893. This is No. 7. Cabinet of Baby, blown one mile out of town and clothing all torn off. Baby was eight months old and unhurt. On the back of the card Garrison’s location is indicated as Rolfe, Iowa. VG. $75
PPCAB32. Swain, St. Paul. Cabinet Card of two serious-looking hunters with pistols, rifles, one holding a telescope as well. Both identified with names written in the image. Man on left is Axel Nilson, man on right is Olaf Ochine? VG. $200
PPCDV69. E. Anthony, NY. Jacob Barker (1779-1871). Financier, lawyer; founded Exchange Bank of NY in 1815; elected to the Senate from Louisiana but not seated as Louisiana had not been readmitted to the Union at that time. VG. $125
PPCDV90. Zimmerman, New York, Photographic Gallery, Lebanon, Pa. Young woman’s oval portrait encircled by various images probably representing aspects of her life, mostly showing farm animals and what looks like a school building. VG. $75
PPCDV91. J.B. Gross, Dayton, Ohio. Capt. Benjamin Leroy, Soldier of 1812. Veteran of Lundy’s Lane. 98 Years of Age. Leroy lived at the Old Soldiers’ Home in Dayton and died there at the age of 101. The Battle of Lundy’s Lane was a battle of the War of 1812, which took place on July 25, 1814, in Niagara Falls, Ontario. It was one of the bloodiest battles of the war, and one of the deadliest battles ever fought on Canadian soil. VG. $150
PPCDV94. Wilhelm, Artist and Photographer, NY. Peter Cooper (February 12, 1791 – April 4, 1883) was an American industrialist, inventor, philanthropist, and candidate for President of the United States. He designed and built the first steam locomotive in the U.S., and founded the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in Manhattan, New York City. VG. $35
PPCDV95. D. Appleton & Co., NY. Isambard Kingdom Brunel, (9 April 1806 – 15 September 1859), was a British civil engineer who built bridges and dockyards including the construction of the first major British railway, the Great Western Railway; a series of steamships, including the first propeller-driven transatlantic steamship; and numerous important bridges and tunnels. His designs revolutionized public transport and modern engineering. Though Brunel’s projects were not always successful, they often contained innovative solutions to long-standing engineering problems. During his short career, Brunel achieved many engineering “firsts,” including assisting in the building of the first tunnel under a navigable river and development of SS Great Britain, the first propeller-driven ocean-going iron ship, which was at the time (1843) also the largest ship ever built. Brunel set the standard for a very well built railway, using careful surveys to minimize grades and curves. That necessitated expensive construction techniques and new bridges and viaducts, and the two-mile-long Box Tunnel. Brunel astonished Britain by proposing to extend the Great Western Railway westward to North America by building steam-powered iron-hulled ships. He designed and built three ships that revolutionized naval engineering. In 1852 Brunel designed his third ship, larger than her predecessors, intended for voyages to India and Australia. The Great Eastern (originally dubbed Leviathan) was cutting-edge technology for her time: almost 700 ft (210 m) long, fitted out with the most luxurious appointments, and capable of carrying over 4,000 passengers. Great Eastern was designed to cruise non-stop from London to Sydney and back (since engineers of the time misunderstood that Australia had no coal reserves), and she remained the largest ship built until the turn of the century. Like many of Brunel’s ambitious projects, the ship soon ran over budget and behind schedule in the face of a series of technical problems. The ship has been portrayed as a white elephant, but it has been argued by David P. Billington that in this case Brunel’s failure was principally one of economics-his ships were simply years ahead of their time. His vision and engineering innovations made the building of large-scale, propeller-driven, all-metal steamships a practical reality, but the prevailing economic and industrial conditions meant that it would be several decades before transoceanic steamship travel emerged as a viable industry. Great Eastern was built at John Scott Russell’s Napier Yard in London, and after two trial trips in 1859, set forth on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York on 17 June 1860. Though a failure at her original purpose of passenger travel, she eventually found a role as an oceanic telegraph cable-layer. Under Captain Sir James Anderson, the Great Eastern played a significant role in laying the first lasting transatlantic telegraph cable, which enabled telecommunication between Europe and North America. VG. $325
PPCDV96. Brady’s National Portrait Gallery, published by E&HT Anthony. Peter Cooper (1791-1883), American industrialist, inventor, philanthropist, and candidate for President of the United States. He designed and built the first steam locomotive in the U.S., and founded the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in Manhattan, New York City. VG. $125
PPCDV104. Brady’s National Portrait Gallery. Published by E&HT Anthony. Cyrus West Field (1819 – 1892), American businessman and financier who, along with other entrepreneurs, created the Atlantic Telegraph Company and laid the first telegraph cable across the Atlantic Ocean in 1858. VG. $150
PPCAB35. Philadelphia. Lucretia Coffin Mott (January 3, 1793 – November 11, 1880), American Quaker, abolitionist, women’s rights activist, and social reformer. Bottom left corner of card is chipped. There is a crease near the chip. G-. $200
PPCAB37. Two images of Bentz the Bugler at West Point 1877-1879. First is a cabinet card by G.W. Pach, New York and second is a an image measuring 7″ x 9″ in a 9 1/4″ x 12 3/4″ mat. In this latter image Bentz is seen playing the bugle on the grounds of West Point in the winter. VG. $300
PPCDV111. Black & Batchelder, Boston. Professor Sophocles of Harvard University. From an old edition of the Harvard Crimson: “Professor Sophocles stood by collegiate seniority, third in the list of the Faculty of Harvard college, being between Professor Loveting and Professor Torry. Some printed authorities place the date of his birth 1807, one going so far as to say the 8th of March, but there is reason to doubt the accuracy of this, although it is undoubtedly nearly correct. He would never in his life give any information about himself for publication. In 1838 he published “A Greek Grammar for the Use of Learners,” which reached a third edition in 1847, and in 1862 had attained a sale of 40,000 copies. Reviewers spoke very highly of it. While writing English that was compact and pure to a surprising degree, the author, being a modern Greek, had a living connection with the ancient language which gave a certainly and ease to his treatment and explanation of grammatical structure. C. C. Felton said of it in the North American Review, that he thoroughly commended it, and that it was likely to bring about a new era in the acquisition of the Greek language. The same magazine, when the second edition of the grammar came out in 1840, took occasion to say that Mr. Sophocles was well known as a gentleman of extraordinary attainments in Greek literature, and that his book was unsurpassed in the English language. In 1837 Yale College conferred upon him the degree of A. M., and Harvard did the same in 1847, afterwards giving him the degree of LL. D. in 1868. The wide sale of the grammar called forth other books, and in these the same careful, skillful hand left its marks, and the same sound judgment was manifested.
In 1849 he visited Greece, and upon his return in 1850 immediately began collecting material for the Greek dictionary. He put forth what was a sort of precursor to that work, ‘A Glossary of Later and Byzantine Greek’ in 1860. Alibone says of his contribution in this kind of learning, that “it was a peculiar boon to scholars and must occupy a place with the glossaries of Ducange and Charpentier.” In 1860 he received the appointment to the professorship of Ancient, Byzantine, and Modern Greek which he held until his death. He again visited Greece in 1860. In 1870 he got out a subscription edition of his ‘Greek Lexicon of the Roman and Byzantine Periods.’ It is a work of authority still in use, and many inquiries for it in recent years have been referred to the list of subscribers in the hope that thus might be discovered a copy left, perhaps by death, unused and uncherished. A continuation of the Lexicon, comprising the period from 1100 A. D. to the present, was in course of preparation in Prof. Sophocles’ hands until within a few years, when infirmity arrested his zeal and he showed a disinclination to allow his friends to get it into type. A knowledge of the condition in which this work will be found to have been left win be awaited with interest.
Of Professor Sophocles’ power as a teacher it may be said he was not well adapted to the general work of instructing undergraduates; for advanced scholars, however, his influence was very stimulating, and his great knowledge of Greek literature gave him a wealth of ready and familiar illustrations. He was a great admirer of the ‘Arabian Nights’ and knew the whole of it, some almost believe, by heart. He has sometimes mentioned as the three best books, the Bible, the ‘Arabian Nights,’ and ‘Don Quixote.’ They contained the most, he is supposed to have thought, of the philosophy of life. He was a man who admitted very few persons to his confidence. He has always lived in Cambridge in a college dormitory. He was genial, however, and visited frequently in the families of his friends. Living as he did, his income was little used for his own needs, but he was not at all a miser. His gifts in charity were large, and he found many ways to extend a helping hand to his fellowmen. One noticeable act of generosity was his giving to his native village in Greece a system of public water-works, the need of which he saw upon his visit there. He conducted courses of study in the college until, at the beginning of last year, sickness compelled him to give up a course he contemplated giving. He had again become about well last summer, but the coming again of winter confined him to his room. He is little known to undergraduates of the present day in Cambridge, but will be greatly missed, nevertheless, from the university.” CDV. G. $85
PPCAB42. Warren’s Portraits, Boston. Laura Dewey Lynn Bridgman (Dec. 21, 1829-May 24, 1889). First deaf-blind American child to gain a significant education in the English language. Trimmed at bottom. G+. $250
PPCDV122. CDV of William “Billy” Chapman Ralston (January 12, 1826 – August 27, 1875), San Francisco, California businessman and financier, and the founder of the Bank of California by A. Edouart, San Francisco. William Chapman Ralston was born at Wellsville in Columbiana County in eastern Ohio. With riches derived from Nevada’s Comstock Lode, he became one of the richest and most powerful men in California. He founded the Bank of California and was known for having a nothing-is-impossible attitude. He built Ralston Hall in Belmont, California as a summer home. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is now part of the campus of Notre Dame de Namur University. He built the California Theatre on Bush Street in San Francisco, which opened on January 18, 1869. His dream was the construction of the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, California at the corner of New Montgomery and Market. He spent $5M on its construction, draining his banking empire in the process. John Painter Gaynor was the architect and engineer. It opened on October 2, 1875. The hotel had early elevators or “rising rooms” and electric call buttons in the rooms. The hotel survived the 1906 earthquake, but was destroyed in the fire that followed. It was rebuilt and reopened in 1909. There is still a Ralston Room in the hotel off the main corridor to the left. In 1871, following a severe drought in California, he initiated work on the surveying for an irrigation scheme in the San Joaquin Valley, and his lobbying was successful in securing the passage through Congress in 1873 of an Act to set up a Water Commission to advise on the irrigation of California. He was also involved in Philip Arnold’s diamond-mining hoax of 1872. In 1875, his financial empire collapsed as a result of the combination of the expense of building the Palace Hotel, the failure of his attempt to buy and then resell the Spring Valley Water Company, the after-effects of the Panic of 1873, and a crash in the stock value of the Bank of California. The crash occurred just weeks before the opening of the Palace Hotel. The day after the collapse, his body was found in the San Francisco Bay. He was the victim of either a stroke during his regular swim or suicide. About 50,000 people were said to have watched his funeral procession, and 8,000 of his friends were said by Robert Brereton to have attended the public meeting held in Union Hall on September 8, 1875 to express the community’s loss. His partner, U.S. Senator William Sharon, acquired many of his assets, including the Palace Hotel and Ralston Hall. Ralston Avenue is one of the principal roads in Belmont, California. Ralston Street in Reno is named for William Ralston. There are Ralston Avenue exits from both Highway 92 and Highway 101. Ralston Middle School, Ralston Hall, and the William Chapman Ralston Award are all named for him. A small mining town in southwest New Mexico was named Ralston City in honor of William Ralston, its largest investor, but has since been renamed Shakespeare. The town of Modesto was to be named for Ralston; he declined, however, and it was called Modesto as one of the Spanish-speaking workers at the naming ceremony for that town said he was “muy modesto” or very modest. Modesto is home to Ralston Tower, an 11-floor building for the elderly. It is the second-tallest building in the city. Ralston was portrayed by Ronald W. Reagan in a 1965 episode of Death Valley Days, “Raid on the San Francisco Mint.” The episode dramatizes an 1869 event in which Ralston gets the head of the mint drunk in order to persuade him to authorize an exchange of bullion for coins. VG. $150
PPCDV126. D. Appleton & Co., NY. William Harrison (October 1812 in Maryport, Cumberland – 21 January 1860) was a British merchant navy officer. He was the son of a master in the merchant navy. Harrison was bound an apprentice to Mr. Porter, a shipowner of Liverpool, and went to sea in October 1825. On the expiration of his articles he obtained the command of a vessel, and served in the East and West Indies, and on the coast of South America. In the course of the numerous disagreements among the rival powers on the American coast, he was more than once in action, and acquitted himself with credit. In 1834 he transferred his services to Barton, Erlam, & Higgonson, and for them took charge of vessels on the Barbadoes line. From 1842 to 31 December 1855 he was connected with the Cunard Line of packets trading between Liverpool and America. During that period he crossed the Atlantic upwards of one hundred and eighty times, and was one of the most popular of the commanders on that route. In January 1856 he was selected by the directors of the Eastern Steam Navigation Company out of two hundred competitors to take the command of the Great Leviathan, then building at Millwall in the Thames. In the following years he was appointed to superintend the arrangements for internal accommodation and navigation. The ship being at last completed after great delay, and renamed the SS Great Eastern, was sent on a trial trip from Deptford to Portland Roads. Off Hastings on 9 September 1859, a terrific explosion of steam killed ten of the firemen and seriously injured several other persons. Harrison showed prompt courage and resource, and brought the vessel into Portland, although in a very damaged state. The Great Eastern was then put into winter quarters near Hurst Castle. On 21 January 1860 her commander, while sailing from Hythe to Southampton in the ship’s boat, was capsized during a squall near the Southampton dock gates, and when taken from the water was found to be dead. He was buried in St. James’s cemetery, Liverpool on 27 January, when upwards of thirty thousand people followed his body to the grave. Some time previously he had become surety for a friend, by whose sudden death all his savings were lost. A sum of money was therefore raised for the benefit of his aged mother, wife, and three children. There is writing on the card to indicate that this is Capt. Napoleon Bonaparte Harrision the US Navy officer but that is incorrect. One can see in the image that Harrison stands by a circular life preserver on which is written “Great Eastern.” VG. $275
PPCDV127. Weber & Sederstrom, New Rush. On back in manuscript is written “Two of my So. African Diamond fields friends. The taller one is Bill Horne. He died at Mongwato Central Africa in 1876.” G. $75