Handwritten Stephen Sondheim Musical Scores at Bonhams


From the collection of handwritten Stephen Sondheim scores

A copy of the American classic Little Women signed and inscribed by Louisa May Alcott, handwritten musical scores by Stephen Sondheim including material from early unproduced shows, and a World War II poster by a young Dr. Seuss are among the items at Bonhams Skinner's upcoming Fine Books and Rare Manuscripts auction.

The Sondheim collection of musical manuscripts and scores comprises manuscript scores (music and lyrics) in pencil for songs from two early unproduced projects, Mary Poppins and High Tor, plus

  • photo-reproduced handwritten scores with occasional penciled notes for 15 songs from another unproduced show, Climb High
  • a photo-reproduced score for an early song, Class
  • photo-reproduced rehearsal scores for six songs from West Side Story, with occasional notes in black and red pencil.

Circa 1950-1957, the estimate is $12,000 - US$18,000.

The copy of Little Women is signed and inscribed by Louisa May Alcott and accompanied by a handwritten Christmas card has an estimate of $4,000 – $6,000. The book and card are addressed to Alcott's cousin Lucy Ellen Sewall (1837-1890), one of the first women in the United States to become a medical doctor and the daughter of Boston abolitionists. The inscription reads "L.E. Sewall, from her grateful cousin L.M. Alcott, Nov. 29th, 1880" and is accompanied by the Christmas card in an envelope, addressed from Alcott to Sewall, on the same date and inscribed "Dear Lucy, I cannot wait till Xmas to send my book for fear you will get it from some one else, so on my birthday I give myself the pleasure of sending this as a little token of affectionate gratitude from L.M.A."

The Theordor Geisel ('Dr Seuss') World War II informational poster with booklet is lithographed in black and red and titled "This Is Ann...she drinks blood!". It is a humorous warning to U.S. troops of the dangers of malaria, transmitted by the Anopheles mosquito. The unsigned work was created by Geisel as part of his work for the army where he was given command of the 1st Motion Picture Unit. It comes with a booklet bearing the same title, containing an expanded version of the contents of the poster. Estimae $800 - US$1,200

The Fine Books & Rare Manuscripts runs April 23 – May 3.