Auctions | November 5, 2010

Mark Twain Manuscript at Leslie Hindman Nov. 18

(Chicago) Just in time for the long-anticipated re-release of Mark Twain’s edited autobiography, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers is pleased to announce the sale of a fine collection of literary manuscripts by esteemed American authors, including Twain (Samuel L. Clemmens) and Ernest Hemingway, which will undoubtedly arouse interest from collectors and enthusiasts alike.

The highlight of the sale is an original manuscript chapter from Mark Twain’s A Tramp Abroad ($30-50,000).  Bound by Bradstreet in crushed blue morocco with a custom title page for the composer, Leo Kern, this rare offering comprises the complete 38-page chapter 42, pertaining to Twain’s travels in Switzerland, with corresponding pages from the printed edition bound at the rear. Twain made no attempts to reclaim the manuscript draft after publication, and it was subsequently broken up by the publishing company and dispersed. A number of the individual chapters were bound by Bradstreet and presented as gifts following the author’s death in 1910 to friends and family. The majority of the chapters are now housed in institutional collections, such as the University of California at Berkeley, with only a handful remaining in private hands. Leslie Hindman Auctioneers is thus proud to provide this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own a one-of-a-kind piece of revered literary history.

Another significant literary manuscript is a rare handwritten essay by Ernest Hemingway presumably written while he was a student a Oak Park High School in Oak Park, Illinois, between 1913 and 1917 ($5,000-7,000). In the essay, written in black ink and graded “A” in red ink, Hemingway discusses the Cataline Conspiracy, a subject he would make frequent allusions to in later works. “The Catalinian Conspiracy,” Hemingway writes, “was a plot by Cataline, a brave but unscrupulous Roman, to overthrow the government of Rome and kill all his enemies . . . Cataline was driven from the city and was killed in battle.” At the bottom, Hemingway has additionally listed a number of discussion points, pertaining to the life of Caesar. The essay may provide insight into Hemingway’s preoccupation with the themes of competition and combat in his writing later in life.

In addition to the strong literature session, the sale will also features highlights from a broad range of categories including Natural History, Travel and Exploration, Fine Bindings, Art and Americana. The highlight of the Fine Binding session is an elaborate Sangorski and Sutcliffe bound Lalla Rookh, by Thomas Moore, embellished with a total of 118 jewels ($15,000-20,000). Additional fine bindings of note, the majority coming from two private Chicago-area collections, include a fine set of The Shakespeare Gallery, presented to King Edward VII by the Royal Shakespearian Society with inset hand-painted vellum scenes from the Royal Academy Series to the front doublures of all 10 volumes ($6,000-8,000); Robert de Flers Ilsee, Princesses de Tripoli, illustrated by Alphonse Mucha and bound by Raparlier in brown morocco with elaborate polychrome floral onlaid designs ($3,000-5,000); and two Cosway bindings by Bayntun Riviere, comprising Tennyson’s Works ($1,000-2,000) and Masson’s Napoleon and the Fair Sex ($3,000-5,000), both with signed painted ivory miniatures on the front covers.

The Natural History session will, for the first time, offer a fine selection of botanical prints, with a strong focus on extracted hand-colored plates from Basilius Besler’s Deluxe First Edition of Hortus Eystettensis, and a fine set of William Lewin Birds of Great Britain, complete with over 300 hand-colored plates ($4,000-6,000). Highlights of the Travel and Exploration session include works from the University of Hartford, including David Roberts The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt and Nubia, first quarto edition with 250 tinted lithographic plates ($4,000-6,000) and Sir Paul Rycaut History of the Turkish Empire, first collected edition with 27 engraved plates of the Ottoman Emperors ($2,000-4,000).   

The Americana session opens with a document signed by George Washington, as President of the Potomac Company, and his partners George Gilpin and John Fitzgerald ($6,000-8,000). Another item of interest is a significant early run of 21 volumes of the Millenial Harbinger, Alexander Campbell’s monthly Restorationist newspaper, which includes the first printed article on Mormonism ($3,000-5,000). The highly anticipated James Conway collection of Chicago memorabilia will round out the sale featuring a fine selection of views by Varin, Jevne and Almini, and Whitefield, a number of rare pocket maps and pre-fire residential maps of Chicago, pre-fire manuscript archives, and true crime memorabilia, including an original death mask of John Dillinger created illegally the night he was gunned down by the FBI and Chicago police.

The auction will be held at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers’ Chicago gallery at 12pm on Thursday, November 18th. The books, manuscripts and prints will be on public exhibition Sunday, November 14, through Wednesday, November 17th. A fully-illustrated catalogue is available online at auctioneers as well as

For further information, please contact Mary Williams at 312.334.4236 or